Second To, Second To None


“Nulli Secundus ll”

The Nulli Secundus ll, also known as British Army Dirigible No. 2, was partially built from the remains of the first Nulli Secundus (which is Latin for “second to none”) or British Army Dirigible No. 1.  No. 1 was Britain’s first military aircraft, taking its first flight on September 10, 1907.  Damaged (apparently) beyond repair in high winds, No. 1 was dismantled one month after its first flight, just five days after its first public appearance.

Like its predecessor, the Nulli Secundus ll served for only a short time.  After three flights in July and August of 1908, it was scrapped.


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  1. bmj2k  August 13, 2011

    That is probably the ugliest dirigible I have ever seen.

    I wonder what constitutes a “military aircraft” as old-fashioned hot air balloons had been used for military applications long before that.

    • Jim  August 13, 2011

      That’s a good point. It did travel under its own power – had an engine, and was steerable. Maybe that’s part of it. Or, Wikipedia let us down entirely.

      • Skinner  August 15, 2011

        Great post – despite it being little more than an airborne Weinermobile, I’d still fly it, happily.

        It sounds like the British had a bit of trouble getting airborne in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_military_ballooning#British_ballooning

        • Jim  August 15, 2011

          Definitely a unique design.

          I really like this picture. I don’t think it would be half as interesting without the crowd included.

          • Skinner  August 18, 2011

            I just have to wonder what that spiral is directly in front of the camera – someone’s head? Just a film artifact?

          • Jim  August 18, 2011

            The Time Tunnel hadn’t completely closed before I snapped the picture.

  2. bmj2k  August 14, 2011

    I went to wiki to see their definition of aircraft. A hot air balloon is an aircraft, thought the article also implies that modern aircraft are powered, meaning balloons are not aircraft. Either way, it doesn’t change the interesting history of the Nulli Secundus ll.


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