National Geographic : 1936 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE SERPENTLIKE HOSE CARRIED HELIUM TO THE BAG No one who has heard it can forget the deep-throated roar of the gas as it rushes through these canvas tubes to the balloon envelope, and that moment when the first "bubble" of gas raises the mass of fabric from the ground. The helium needed for the flight was stored on one side of the inflation field in 1,685 steel cylinders under heavy pressure. The metal bottles were connected to small, but strong, rubber hoses. The gas flowed from 40 of the cylinders at a time into the cloth "sleeves" shown in the foreground. These merged into one, through the Y-joints above. Photographs by Richard H. Stewart "BE SURE TO SNUB YOUR ROPE PROPERLY" This last-minute instruction is given the ground crew. Three men were assigned to each of the 36 ropes holding the upper catenary band, but the major pull on each line was taken up by a hitch around a stout post. Two-thirds of the members of the rope-handling crew are at their places beneath the floodlights beyond (see illustrations, pages 68 and 69).