Empire of the clouds: El desastre del dirigible R-101

Empire of the clouds: El desastre del dirigible R-101

La banda británica Iron Maiden, se caracteriza por letras que van desde la ficción literaria a sucesos históricos. Además de su peculiar sonido, imitando como por ejemplo, el galope de caballos de guerra en su icónica canción The Trooper.  En su segundo sencillo del disco The Book of Souls (2016), “Empire of the Clouds”, la banda va relatando  la historia del dirigible británico R101, un proyecto con un desenlace fatal.

Fuente: Iron Maiden.

La aeronave, orgullo del imperio británico en su  momento, competía con el famoso zepelín alemán y fue construida junto con el R100.

‘’She’s the biggest vessel built by man, a giant of the skies
For all you unbelievers, the Titanic fits inside’’

Es la nave más grande construida por el hombre
Un gigante de los cielos
Para todos los incrédulos, el Titanic encaja dentro

Pero esta réplica, contaba con algunos problemas técnicos, como lo eran su peso y la pérdida de gas en casos imprevistos. Aún así, partió de Cardington un 4 de octubre de 1930, con 54 personas a bordo. Era su primera prueba de larga distancia, cuyo destino final era Karachi, capital de la entonces India Británica.

Fuente: Ing-genius.

Said the coxswain, sir, she’s heavy, she’ll never make this flight

Said the captain, damn the cargo, we’ll be on our way tonight

Groundsmen cheered in wonder, as she backed up from the mast

Baptising with her water, from the ballast fore and aft

Dijo el coxswain
Señor, es pesada, nunca va a hacer este vuelo
Dijo el capitán
Maldita sea la carga, estaremos en camino esta noche
Los mozos aplaudieron en maravilla
Como se alejó del mástil
Bautizar su agua desde el lastre hacia delante y en popa
Ahora, ella se desliza en nuestro pasado

La canción habla además de la ostentosidad con la que se realizó el viaje, no teniendo en cuenta los rigores técnicos como el peso.

Según fuentes, el equipaje del Ministro del aire Lord Thompson, ideólogo del proyecto, pesaba tanto como 24 personas. Y entre los utensilios se incluían, cuchillería de plata, palmas en macetas y 200 metros de una pesada alfombra de Axminster. Se daría un banquete aéreo para notables personajes egipcios, por lo que existía un aprovisionamiento de comida y bebida, así como de combustible (9 toneladas); ya que durante el banquete no sería conveniente cargarlo.

“Royalty and dignitaries, brandy and cigars

Related giant of the skies, you hold them in your arms

The millionth chance they laughed, to take down his majesty’s craft

To India they say, magic carpet float away, an October fateful day”

Realeza y dignatarios, brandy y puros
Gigante de los cielos, del que todos hablan, los acoges en tus brazos
Se rieron millones de veces, para despreciar el navío de su majestad
«A la India» dijeron, «que la alfombra mágica vuele», en un día fatídico de octubre

Horas después de partir, el dirigible se estrelló contra un bosque al norte de la Ciudad de Beauvais, Francia. Las cubiertas superiores delanteras de la proa se rasgaron, dejando al descubierto las bolsas de hidrogeno. Las mismas se rompieron, lo que ocasionó que la nave perdiera el gas, y por ende la capacidad de levante.

Fuente: Ing-genius.

The airship crew awake for thirty hours at full stretch,

But the ship is in their backbone, every sinew, every inch

She never flew at full speed, a trial never done

A fragile outer cover, her achilles would become

An Achilles yet to come

La tripulación, despierta durante treinta horas trabajando hasta la extenuación
La nave en su espina dorsal, en cada milímetro de sus nervios

Nunca fue a máxima velocidad, nunca se probó
Una cubierta frágil será su talón de aquiles
a

Un Aquiles que está por venir

El impacto fue suave, pero debido a que el mismo estaba cargado de hidrógeno ocurrió un gran incendio, perdiendo la vida 48 de las 54 personas a bordo, entre ellas el Ministro Lord Thompson.

The cover is ripped and she’s drowning
Rain is flooding into the hold

Bleeding to death and she’s falling                 

Parachute gas is draining away

La cubierta se desgarra, y se hunde
La lluvia se cuela en la bodega

Sangrando hasta la muerte, cae
El gas del paracaídas se escapa

El aeropuerto Le Bourget de París, confirmó que el dirigible estaba un kilómetro al norte de Beauvais. El C-FAAW-R101 se había incendiado, debido a que no había conseguido librar una pequeña colina de la ciudad.

Todo había terminado en minutos y a diferencia del accidente del dirigible Hindenburg, los pasajeros no tuvieron oportunidad de salvarse, ya que el accidente ocurrió de madrugada y casi todos se encontraban durmiendo.

Fuente: Ing-genius.

Now a shadow on a hill, the angel of the east

The empire of the clouds may rest in peace

And in a country churchyard, laid head to the mast

Eight and Forty souls who came to die in France

Ahora una sombra en la colina, el ángel del este
Que el imperio de las nubes descanse en paz
Y en un cementerio del campo, inclinando la cabeza hacia el mástil
Ocho y cuarenta almas, que vinieron a morir a Francia

En cuanto al sencillo de Iron Maiden, en una entrevista para el medio Radio.com, Bruce Dickinson (frontman de la banda y quien puso letra a la canción) mencionó que la participación de Nicko McBrain (baterista de la banda) fue primordial. Esto debido a que captó la melodía que daría la escencia a la canción.

“Simplemente sucede esa melodía en particular en ese tiempo (o timing, uso del ritmo en la música) en particular, tu sabes, realmente no puedes escribirla en una caja de ritmos ni nada”, explicó el artista.

McBrain contribuyó en grande con el sonido de Empire of the clouds e hizo que nos sintiésemos parte de la historia. Dio vida a aquella tormenta que ocasionó la lenta caída de la aeronave, el encuentro con la mismísima muerte.

Iron Maiden visitó Paraguay en el año 2013. Fuente: Abc Color.

Sailors of the sky, a hardened breed
Loyal to the king, and an airship creed

Navegantes del cielo, una casta fuerte
Leales al Rey, y a la ley del aire

Nadie sabe con seguridad por cuál problema técnico el R 101 chocó en Beauvais.  En realidad los motivos fueron varios, la tensión aerodinámica, la perforación de las bolsas de gas, la falta de impulso, el mal clima, etc. Pero se conoce acerca de la actitud ambiciosa de los gobernantes, y un accidente que pudo ser evitado.

Fue uno de los sucesos, que terminó con la contribución británica al desarrollo del dirigible.

Fuentes:

https://historiaybiografias.com/r101/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-45731665

https://www.elportaldelmetal.com/traduccion/empire-clouds-iron-maiden

Camila Vega

Estudiante de Periodismo en la Universidad del Norte. Escritora y lectora, amante de la música. Colaboradora en el Periódico Académico El Parlante.

1.694 comentarios en «Empire of the clouds: El desastre del dirigible R-101»

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