The Influence of the R-100 Airship Experience on the Novels of Nevil Shute

The Airship Venture and the Novels of Nevil Shute

David K. Vaughan

One.  Background Biographical Details 

Nevil Shute Norway (1899-1960) was especially successful in two different and normally unrelated careers: aeronautical engineering and fiction writer.  He began as an aeronautical engineer and gradually transitioned to a novelist, eventually becoming a world-famous after the publication of On the Beach (1958).  He used his first two names as his pen name when he first began writing to avoid embarrassing his fellow engineers if they discovered his interest in the non-technical work of novel writing.  His twenty-four novels feature clean, non-convoluted prose, interesting and unusual plots, and accurate descriptions of the working people of the world, including doctors, nurses, office worker, sailors, pilots, and engineers.  His works address important issues and themes in modern society: unfair economic exploitation, the necessary integration of minority cultures, the blind bureaucracy of government agencies, and the complex impact of technology on daily life.

Most of his themes can be traced to the political and engineering issues associated with his involvement in the construction of the British airship R-100.  However, not only did Shute draw from the political and engineering lessons he learned while working on the R-100 project, he also seems to have adapted his force analysis work in his airship construction activities to the system of conflict development in the main characters of his novels.

Nevil Shute was born in 1899 in Ealing, a suburb of London; his father was a high level civil servant in the British Post Office, and his mother was the daughter of a major general in the British Army.  His only brother Fred died of complications from a wound received in World War I, and although Shute intended to serve, the war ended before he completed his military training.  He entered Balliol College at Oxford to study engineering.  He describes himself as “a very ordinary, humdrum undergraduate” (Slide Rule, 34).  While a student at Oxford, he began working for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) at Hendon, where he became acquainted with two of the major figures of British aviation, Geoffery de Havilland and Alan Cobham.  He completed his schooling in 1922 and began working full time for de Havilland, who had left Airco to form his own company.  During the year and a half that he was employed by de Havilland, Shute worked primarily on weight and stress calculations for a variety of aircraft.  He also undertook two other important activities at this time: he learned to fly, and he began writing his first novel.

In the fall of 1924 he left de Havilland to join the staff of Vickers Ltd, which was preparing to build a large airship, the R-100, in competition with a government team at work on another airship, the R-101.  From 1924 to 1930 he worked on the R-100 project under Barnes Wallis, and was occupied with the design, construction, and flight testing program of the R-100.  Shute was responsible for computing the forces at work in the metal framework of the airship, a task that required him to calculate the stress and tension forces on all fixed members of the airship structure.  The R-100 airship was completed first and flew successfully, while the R-101 airship was completed late and crashed catastrophically and its first major flight, killing most of the passengers on board.

His experiences in the airship program illustrated clearly the conflict between state control and private enterprise that formed the core of his social theory throughout his career as a writer.  As Shute observes in Slide Rule, “the controversy of capitalism versus State enterprise has been argued, tested, and fought out in many ways in many countries, but surely the airship venture in England stands out as the most curious determination of this matter” (55).  His comment in that section of Slide Rule illustrates the basis of both his entrepreneurial and authorial philosophies: “I joined the capitalist team” (55).

As the two teams completed work on their airships, it became increasingly evident to Shute and other Vickers engineers that the government team was making questionable decisions about the design and performance features of the R-101.  The government team added extra weight to its airship by (1) using servo motors to control the rudders, while the Vickers team found hand controls to be adequate to control the movement of the rudders; (2) mounting a separate engine for applying reverse thrust for the few minutes of flight when reverse thrust was necessary, while the Vickers team solved the problem by installing reversing gearboxes in two of their engines; (3) employing heavy diesel engines rather than the lighter-weight standard aircraft engines used by Vickers.  The R-101 staff further compounded its problems by coating the covering on the airship’s outer surface with chemicals that weakened the fabric instead of strengthening it (Slide Rule, 71-2, 92; 101-2; 122-4).

Each time the Vickers staff members learned of one of these decisions, they rechecked their calculations carefully, afraid they might have overlooked some unknown design factor.  In the end, they concluded that their calculations were correct and the government team in error.  While the Vickers team had the flexibility to adjust to refinements in design and construction, the government team was plagued by political inflexibility.  As Shute says, “once they [the government team] were committed to a definite policy with regard to R-101, it was difficult for them to change their minds; if public money had been spent upon an article for the ship, into the ship it had to go” (73).

As a result of the greater efficiency of the Vickers team, its airship was the first to fly.  It was successful in all flight tests it attempted.  The Vickers-built R-100, which measured seven hundred feet in length and one hundred and thirty feet in diameter, first flew on 16 December 1929; on July 30th, it embarked on a flight across the Atlantic to Montreal and Toronto, Canada, arriving two days after it left England.  Shute was one of the Vickers staff who were on board the flight to Canada.  The performance of the R-100 on the flight to and from Canada was superb; it flew efficiently and comfortably at an average speed of 50 knots, and survived passage through a severe squall line over the St. Lawrence River.  It returned to Cardington, England, on August 16th.  The government airship had not yet flown.

Nearly two months later, on October 4th, 1930, after a brief local test flight, the government airship R-101embarked on its second flight, an extended flight to Karachi, carrying Lord Thomson, the Secretary for Air, and many other government officials, on a state visit to India.  At two o’clock the next morning, flying in bad weather over the French countryside, it crashed and burned, killing 48 of its 54 passengers and crew, including Lord Thomson.  The design flaws were considered major contributing factors to the accident.  As a result of the crash, the British government cancelled its airship programs.  The R-100 was dismantled and sold for scrap.

From the end of 1930 until 1938 Shute directed his energy into obtaining financial backing and markets for his own aircraft company, which he named Airspeed Ltd.  Shute became frustrated by what he saw as unnecessarily restrictive credit limitations placed on his operation by both his backers and the government.  However, due largely to his indefatigable energy and knowledge of the British aviation scene, he was able, after several years, to establish the company on a paying basis.  Shute eventually left the company in April of 1938 after he increasingly fell into disagreements with the company’s board of directors.  At the time of his departure, the company was on a secure foundation, with over 1000 employees and orders received for two hundred Airspeed Oxford twin-engine aircraft.  The Oxford was the primary training aircraft for pilots who flew in the RAF Bomber Command during World War II; eventually nearly nine thousand Oxfords were built before the war ended.

In the summer of 1938 Shute and his wife, Francis Heaton (whom he had married in 1931), found themselves in a position of financial independence.  With the publication of Lonely Road in 1932 and Ruined City (American title: Kindling) in 1938, the sale of film rights to both books, and the settlement given to him by the Airspeed board, Shute was in a favorable position to become a full-time writer.  He was especially productive during the next two years, bringing out three more novels (Ordeal, 1939; An Old Captivity, 1940; and Landfall, 1940).  After the fall of France in June, 1940, Shute temporarily set aside his writing activities and took a commission in the British Naval Reserve, working mostly on special weapons projects.  But he soon returned to writing, producing three novels during the period: Pied Piper (1942), Pastoral (1944), and Most Secret (written in 1942 but not published until 1945 due to the sensitivity of the military operation it described).

After the war, he continued to produce books at the rate of about one a year, writing thirteen books in fifteen years, from 1946 to 1961.  He and his family moved to Australia in 1950, where he wrote his best-selling On the Beach (1957).  His last work, Trustee from the Toolroom, was published the year he died, 1960.

Not surprisingly, Shute brought to his novel-writing processes a perspective fundamentally molded by his education and training as an aeronautical engineer, experiences which showed him that human initiative and creativity could be easily blocked by the rigidity and fixedness of governmental laws and bureaucracies.  The airship venture in particular serves as a thematic focus of both content and structure in practically every novel he wrote after he left the aeronautical engineering profession.

Establishing the centrality of the airship experience in Shute’s imaginative life is not difficult.  He wrote about his experiences in the airship program on at least three occasions.  The first was an article that appeared in the 1931 volume of the Royal Aeronautical Society, entitled “R.100 Canadian Flight, 1930,” carrying the subtitle “Journal written on board the ship.  Nothing has been added since.”  It consists of the entries Shute had made on board the R-100 from July 28 to August 16, 1930.  This account served as the basis for a revised version of the journey which was published in Blackwood’s Magazine in May of 1933 under the title “The Airship Venture.”  This second version is longer than the first, running to 28 pages.  The third version is an account included in Shute’s only autobiographical work, Slide Rule, published in 1954.  In this book the R-100 section runs to some 90 pages, the longest single episode in the book and is, as Julian Smith observes, essentially a reworking of the Blackwood’s article he had written some twenty years before (Smith 118).  But the fact that he decided to return to the topic after twenty years and place it at the center of his only autobiographical work indicates its importance to Shute.

Two.  Shute’s Political and Cultural Perspective 

The political and cultural lessons of the “airship venture,” to use Shute’s phrase, inform almost all of the works he wrote after World War II.  They supply the basis for the increasing focus on social criticism and political theory that appear in his later works.  They are clearly evident in the first novel written after the end of the war, The Chequer Board, in which he directly addresses the problem of accepting members of minority races into British society, a fundamental cultural change brought about by the influx of black soldiers, mostly from America, during the war.  Shute does not attack the British political system as much as the traditional mentality of British citizens, who were reluctant to accept members of non-white races.  The Chequer Board strongly suggested that the insularity of pre-war Britain had disappeared.

But it was in No Highway (1948) that the themes and ideas associated with the airship venture appear most clearly.  In that novel, Mr. Honey, a generally unappealing research engineer, predicts the failure of the tail-plane component of a recently developed commercial passenger aircraft at the unusually low airframe time of 1440 hours.  The governmental authorities are understandably suspicious of Honey’s theory and his personal credibility and hesitate to take the necessary steps to ground all of the affected aircraft.  The new director of the aviation research establishment, Dennis Scott, the narrator of the story and Honey’s immediate boss, has become sympathetic to Mr. Honey.  He defends Honey’s efforts in a style that shows that the competencies of civilian and government workers are very much an issue in Shute’s mind:

I will admit that Mr. Honey sometimes presents an unusual, an untidy appearance in his manner and his clothes.  I do not condone that, but I should be sorry to see the [organization] staffed entirely by correct young men in neat, conventional, civil service clothes, withy neat, conventional, civil service minds.  (No Highway, 249)

Through his character Dennis Scott, we can see that Shute clearly prefers the eccentricities associated with individual investigative researchers to the conventionalities of government conformists.  Events in the story eventually bear out the accuracy of Honey’s predictions in sopite of the combined efforts of the British aircraft industry and government agencies to discredit his theories.  Shute links the story to his airship venture past when we are told that the structure in which Mr. Honey is conducting the tail-plane test is “an old balloon shed” (8), and that the narrator, Scott, Honey’s immediate supervisor, had “started in a stress office in the aircraft industry” (1).

In later novels as well, Shute returns to the subject of unnecessary and oppressing actions of unthinking individuals in government agencies who inhibit and delay the beneficial actions of public-spirited individuals.  In Round the Bend (1951) the owner of a small commercial air carrier operation in the Middle East is thwarted by government officials who do not approve of workers who are members of non-Christian religions.  In The Far Country (1952) Shute directly attacks the incompetence of a British political system that will turn off the electricity to an aging and ill Englishwoman’s home.  The intensity of his feeling towards the inflexibility of the British political system was shown when Shute and his family moved to Australia in 1950, for he believed that Australia was less tradition-bound and more responsive to the needs of its citizens than was England.

This sentiment is shown in In the Wet (1953), one of Shute’s wonderful time-travel stories.  In the novel, the narrator, an English clergyman, is able to travel imaginatively forward thirty years in time to the 1980s, into a world in which England has lost much of its empire and political power.  Like another important prophetic novel of England in the 1980s, George Orwell’s 1984, In the Wet is filled with social commentary and political theory.  It is Shute’s strongest indictment of the inflexible English governmental system.  It was probably no accident that Shute wrote his only autobiographical work, Slide Rule, the year following publication of In the Wet.  Although the intense focus on the woes of the British political system may have helped to purge some of the bitterness and anger he seems to have felt, he continued to address the issue of political immobility in subsequent works.

In Requiem for a Wren (Breaking Wave) (1955) he looks back at World Way II, and Beyond the Black Stump (1956) provides a comparison of American and Australian attitudes towards frontier life in which the American attitude is presented as limited in its ability to accept cultural and economic diversity.  In On the Beach (1957), however, all governments (except Australia) are faulted, as Shute depicts them as having followed inflexible courses of action during a time of international crisis that restricted their options and unnecessarily forced them to enter a nuclear war whose ultimate effect is to destroy all human life.  It is perhaps the best and most moving fictional representation of the ultimate fears associated with the nuclear weapons threat and the cold war era.  Only in Shute’s final two novels, The Rainbow and the Rose (1958) and Trustee from the Toolroom (1960), does Shute seem to modify his focus on political issues.

Three.  Shute’s Engineering Approach to Novel Construction 

Just as the airship venture was the central event of Shute’s engineering life, and just its political lessons lie at the heart of the themes and issues of his novels, so also can its effects be seen in his mode of novel construction.  That is, the effects of his work as a stress calculator on the de Havilland aircraft and the Vickers R-100 airship can be observed in the way in which he develops conflict between the main characters in his novels and the external forces to which they respond.  It should not be surprising, on reflection, to realize that if a man spends nearly ten years of his life on stress analysis of airframe structures, as Shute did from 1922 to 1930, that some evidence of that concern for and interest in balancing stress forces in airplanes and airships should carry over to the task of constructing a novel.  This is not to say that Shute used a slide rule instead of a typewriter to create his novels.

After Shute left the de Havilland company, his initial position on the R-100 project was that of Chief Calculator; he worked directly with Barnes Wallis, Chief Engineer.  Later, after Wallis withdrew from active participation on the project, in 1930, Shute became Chief Engineer.  His primary engineering responsibilities while working on the R-100 were to determine stress forces on the structural members of the airship.  As he says in Slide Rule, his job “was to get together a staff of calculators to do the work on the R-100, translating the theories of the consultants into the forces and stress in each member of the ship and so providing the draftsmen with the sizes for each girder and each wire” (53).

The R-100 has been called the first of Barnes Wallis’ geodetic airframe structures.  In these structures the structural members are placed primarily in the streamline shape of the fuselage and not in a rigid structure within it (Monpurgo 132, 197).  Wallis used an interlocking system of longitudinal and transverse girders as the framework for supporting the gas bags, power cars, passenger and control gondolas, and external covering.  A good description of the girder system is provided by Captain George Meager, who was the first officer on the R-100 when it flew the Atlantic:

Each girder consisted of three parallel metal tubes joined by lattice work to form a triangular section.  The tubes were made of flat duralumin strip wound helically and riveted at regular intervals through the overlap; this meant that the tubes could be made of any length up to 70 feet—considerably more than if actual [cast] tubing had been used.  The same construction was used for both longitudinal and transverse girders.  (Meager 145)

Shute describes the arrangement of the girders in detail:

Each transverse frame consisted of a girder in the form of a stiff, sixteen-sided polygon with the flats at the top and bottom [of the airframe]; this girder was twenty-seven inches deep and up to a hundred and thirty feet in diameter.  Sixteen steel cables ran from the center of the polygon, the axis of the ship, to the corner points, bracing the polygonal girder against deflections.  All loads, whether of gas lift, weights carried on the frame, or shear wire reactions, were applied to the corner points of the polygon, and except in the case of the ship turning these loads were symmetrical port and starboard.  (Slide Rule 74)

The girders consisted of three parallel tubing sections secured in a triangular arrangement.  In the longitudinal girders, those that ran the length of the airship, one point of the triangle rested against the exterior surface of the airship.  The two remaining points ran parallel to the outward surface but on the interior side of the girder.  The transverse (or cross-sectional) girders were arranged in an opposite fashion, with two parallel tubing sections resting close to the external surface of the ship, and the third section positioned toward the interior.  The surface of the ship, the fabric covering, would be applied around the framework created by this interlocking girder system.

One of the key challenges Wallis faced was how to interlock the two sets of girders.  The solution was to link the longitudinal and transverse girders through a unique Y-V joint connection.  Meager describes its arrangement: “A V at the end of the transverse girder interlaced with a Y at the end of the longitudinals.  The centre of the arms of the Y formed a centroid of the joint for the purposes of calculating the stresses, which was where Nevil Shute Norway came in, as he was the Chief Calculator” (Meager 145)..

The Y and V joints also provided additional structural support by stabilizing the parallel tubing structure at regular intervals along the length of the longitudinal girders.  Such internal braces had not generally been used in previous airship structures (???).  Thus they lent supplementary structural support in at least two ways.

Because of the placement of the V joint, the bulk of the stress transmitted to the Y joint is felt along the axis, or in the direction of the arm attached to the outer tubing section. The two inner tubing sections thus shared the task of supporting structural integrity against the distorting forces felt along the outer tubing support arm.  The two inner tubing support arms in the Y joint worked together to provide rigidity to counter external forces.

Of the two joints involved in the interconnection, the Y joint, or the joint securing the longitudinal girders, was the more crucial.  The V joint, which connected the transverse girder to the longitudinal girder, transmits and focuses forces towards or away from the center of the airship.  The Y joint, however, received those forces and attempted to absorb them in the longitudinal girders such that the structural integrity of the airship is maintained.  As Meager points out, the center of the Y joint represents the central point for all forces received by the Y-V joint combination.

Shute’s task as Chief Calculator was to determine all forces acting on every one of the Y-V joints in the airship.  According to a diagram in Meager’s account, there were fifteen transverse sections of varying sizes in the R-100; Shute and his staff thus had to compute forces applied to 15 x 16, or 240 Y-V joints.  As Shute explains in Slide Rule, “the final check was to take vertical and horizontal components of the forces in every member of the frame to see that they equated to zero [that is, that the force in one direction was equaled by the force in the opposite direction].”  The sense of accomplishment he received in completing the calculations “led at times to a satisfaction almost amounting to a religious experience”:

After literally months of labour, having filled perhaps fifty foolscap sheets with closely penciled figures, after many disappointments and heartaches, the truth stood revealed, real, and perfect, and unquestionable; the very truth.  It did one good; one was the better for the experience.  It struck me at the time that those who built the great arches of the English cathedrals in medieval times must have known something of our mathematics, and perhaps passed through the same experience. . . .  (74-6)

Shute’s detailed discussion of his stress analysis duties and his comparison of the sense of achievement to a religious experience suggest that we are justified in seeing in the interlock system of transverse and longitudinal girders a clue to his method of developing conflict in his fiction.

The force distribution on the airship’s Y joints is similar to the conflict relationship that occurs in many of Shute’s later novels: two individuals are brought into a close relationship, and that relationship is tested by a series of external events.  In most cases, the two individuals cooperate to successfully resist or overcome the external forces brought to bear on that relationship.  In a few instances, the relationship is discontinued, but always as a result of insights gained in the process of resisting the external forces.  Invariably the individuals involved develop a more complete understanding of their capabilities.  The two individuals are usually a man and a woman, but in some cases a relationship is established between two men.  And in many cases involving a man-woman relationship, the woman is the stronger figure.  The external forces almost invariably consist of political or cultural pressures exerted by some governmental or social agency.  The basic model exists to some degree in every novel Shute wrote, but it is especially clear in the novels of his middle period: Landfall, Pastoral, The Chequer Board, Round the Bend, A Town Like Alice, The Far Country, Beyond the Black Stump, and On the Beach.  A convenient work from this period that illustrates how this model operates is No Highway.

The two key figures in No Highway are Theodore Honey, the eccentric but brilliant research engineer who works for the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), and Dennis Scott, the newly assigned manager of the research division in which Honey works.  Scott discovers that Honey is testing the tailplane component of a new commercial airliner for which he has theorized failure of the tailplane component at the unusually low airframe time of 1440 hours.  Initially Scott is dubious of Honey’s theory, first because it predicts failure at a low airframe time, and second because Honey is an ardent practitioner of unusual religious beliefs and occult practices, including attempts to communicate with members of other worlds.  Scott initially takes no steps in response to Honey’s theory, because he is told that none of the new aircraft in service has more than 300 hours of flying time.

Then he learns that one of the aircraft has crashed in Labrador; the accident attributed the accident to pilot error.  When Scott discovers that the crashed aircraft had accumulated over 1400 hours of flying time, he becomes convinced that Honey’s theory deserves investigation.  Scott receives approval to step up the pace of Honey’s laboratory test, and he dispatches Honey himself to Labrador to search for evidence of tailplane fatigue in the wreckage of the crashed aircraft, wreckage that is scattered throughout the Canadian wilderness.  However, on the flight across the Atlantic, Honey learns that he is a passenger on one of the new aircraft, and that it is about to reach his predicted tailplane failure time.  When the pilots refuse to ground the aircraft after they land at Gander, Honey raises the landing gear while it is on the ground, causing sufficient damage to prevent further flight.

At this point the British commercial airline community views as a strange and possibly dangerous individual whose theory is thus far unsupported and whose presence is hazardous to safe airline operation.  Scott is thus faced with the challenge of defending honey and his theory before a review board of skeptical and angry governmental regulators, airline executives, and aircraft manufacturers.  Nevertheless Scott defends Honey’s theory, arguing that none of the new airliners should be flown more than 720 hours, half the predicted time to failure.  With the support of his supervisor, Scott is able to persuade the group to accept his recommendation.  Eventually the missing tailplane section of the aircraft that crashed in Canada is found, showing clear evidence of structural failure.  The tailplane under test in Mr. Honey’s laboratory breaks at the predicted time while Mr. Honey is on his honeymoon with a stewardess who befriended him during his flight to Canada.

Although there are many other characters in the story, including a movie star, Scott’s wife, Honey’s daughter from a previous marriage, and various members of the airline industry, Scott and Honey are the two central characters.  They are brought into a close professional and personal relationship (after Scott’s initial hesitation), and the two of them confront the entire British commercial aircraft establishment.  Together they join forces to support their position against external pressures of significant magnitude.  Yet their union holds, grows stronger, and succeeds in maintaining its integrity.  Both Scott and Honey benefit from their union; Scott learns to accept and even appreciate eccentric behavior, and Honey becomes more socialized.  In terms of the Y-V joint model, Honey and Scott represent the two inner arms of the Y-V joint holding against the external forces of governmental and organizational pressure representing the outer arm.

This pattern can be seen in other novels, as I have stated.  Without developing their story lines in detail, the same kind of Y-V joint relationship can be seen in Landfall, in which RAF Coastal Command pilot Jerry Chambers and his girl friend Mona Stevens successfully resist the accusations of senior Royal Navy officers who believe he and his crew have accidentally sunk a British submarine in the English Channel; in Round the Bend, in which airline owner Tom Cutter and maintenance specialist Connie Shak Lin work together to establish a new airline route and religious movement in the Middle East in spite of the objections of senior British governmental officials; and even in On the Beach, in which American submarine commander Dwight Towers and his Australian girl friend Moira Davidson face the effects of the radiation sickness resulting from the nuclear attacks of World War III.

Even when the relationship between the two central characters does not hold, as in Beyond the Black Stump, the pattern is the same: although American geologist Stanton Laird and Australian outback girl Mollie Regan decide their relationship should not continue, both individuals embark on new courses of life as a result of the lessons they learn in measuring the failure of both American and Australian families to their proposed marriage.  Both individuals resist the cultural and social pressures exerted on them by their families, but they see that even though their families disapprove of the marriage for the wrong reasons, they themselves reassess their needs and expectations, and decide to end their relationship.  His earliest novels—Marazan (1926), The Mysterious Aviator (1928), and Lonely Road (1932)—are espionage/mystery stories that include enemy agents.  But he soon abandoned this mode of story-telling.

The Y-V joint model also provides the key to another important insight into the nature of Shute’s approach to plot construction.  In Shute’s mature novels there are protagonists but no antagonists; that is, there are no individuals who intentionally set themselves to oppose the success of the primary characters in the novel.  There are no evil-doers, no villains, no jealous suitors, no envious competitors.  The forces of resistance that the central characters encounter are personified by individuals who represent established government policy or accepted patterns of social behavior and who are unwilling to accommodate the kinds of changes and challenges represented by the central characters.  Like the R-100 airship making its way through occasionally hazardous and unfriendly skies filled with buffeting winds and hostile weather, the central characters of Shute’s novels join forces against the forces of their often inflexible and bureaucratic environment.  Shute’s novels are consistently realistic in this regard.  Because modern-day government policies and social attitudes also create resistance among forward-thinking individuals, Shute’s novels will continue to hold their appeal.

The airship venture, as Shute referred to the central event of his engineering life, directly affected both the processes and products of his fiction.  It was the one episode that consistently engaged his professional and philosophic energies and shaped his social theories.  Even more than his impressive career as the developer and organizer of his own aircraft company, Airspeed Ltd, his work as Chief Calculator on the R-100 project provided him with the themes and constructional concepts that he relied on so consistently as a novelist writing about the professional working people of his world.


Works Cited 

Countryman, Barry. R100 in Canada.  Boston Mills Press, 1982.

Meager, George.  My Airship Flights 1915-1930.  Kimber, 1970.

Monpurgo, J. E.  Barnes Wallis: A Biography.  Longman, 1972.

Norway, Nevil Shute.  No Highway.  Morrow, 1948.

Norway, Nevil Shute.  Slide Rule.  Morrow, 1954.

Norway, Nevil Shute.  “The Airship Venture.”  Blackwood’s Magazine.  May, 1933: 599-627.

Norway, Nevil Shute.  “R.100 Canadian Flight, 1930.”  Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society 35 (May 1931): 401-14.

Smith, Julian.  Nevil Shute.  G. K. Hall, 1976.