Metal-clad airships are airships which utilize a very thin, airtight metal envelope, rather than the usual rubber-coated fabric envelope. The shell may be either internally braced as with the designs of David Schwarz, or monocoque as in the ZMC-2. Only four ships of this type are known to have been built, and only two actually flew: Schwarz's aluminum ship of 1893 collapsed on inflation; Schwarz's second airship flew at Tempelhof, Berlin in 1897, landed but then collapsed; the ZMC-2 flew 1929 to 1941; while the Slate "City of Glendale", was built in 1929 but never flew.
The concept of metal-clad dirigible airships had been explored in the 1880s and earlier: Russian rocket theorist Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky wrote that since his teens (in the early 1870s) "the idea of the all-metal aerostat has never left my mind" and by 1891 he had produced detailed designs of a variable volume corrugated metal envelope airship that did not need ballonets. These were submitted to an Imperial department for aeronautics, which convened a conference to consider it. In 1891 they declined his request for a grant to produce a model, considering the idea "cannot have any considerable practical importance". In 1892 he published his designs as Aerostat Metallitscheski (the all-metal dirgible aerostat) which received favourable comments but nothing else. Coincidentally, by 1892 the Imperial war ministry had agreed to let Schwarz build his metal airship in St Petersburg, but at his expense.
- Dooley A.193 (1893 airship never flew, but the 1897 flew at Berlin)
- NASGIVM. 2006. NAS GROSSE ILE
- Dooley, A.185-A.186 citing Robinson, pp2-3
- National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. 2008. Slate Aircraft Corporation City of Glendale Negatives, Accession number 2006-0039
- Von A. Kosmodemyansky, X. Danko. 2000. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky His Life and Work The Minerva Group, Inc., ISBN 0-89875-138-1.
- Kosmodemyansky 2000 pages 18-19 "In 1885, at the age of 28, I decided to devote my energies to aeronautics and elaborate the theory of the all-metal dirigible."
- Kosmodemyansky 2000 page 23
- Carl Zeiss AG. 2005. The Route to the Stars, page 29
- Kosmodemyansky 2000 pages 19-21, page 19 details pulleys for contracting the envelope, page 21 shows a larger version
- Anatoly Zak. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
- Dooley A.183
- Dooley, Sean C., The Development of Material-Adapted Structural Form - Part II: Appendices. THÈSE NO 2986 (2004), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
- Von A. Kosmodemyansky, X. Danko. 2000. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky His Life and Work: His Life and Work The Minerva Group, Inc., ISBN 0-89875-138-1