The SSZ (Sea Scout Zero) airships are designed and built at the RNAS airship station at Capel-le-Fernenear Folkestone as a successor to the SS class.
Similar to other SS class types, the SSZs has an envelope of 70,000 cu ft (2,000 m3) capacity containing two ballonets of 6,375 cu ft (180.5 m3) each;and like the SSPs, the fuel is contained in aluminium tanks slung on the axis of the envelope.
The design of the car is a streamlined, boat-shaped and watertight cab, floored from end-to-end, and enclosed with sides of fabric-covered 8-ply wood or aluminium. The car is comfortable and accommodates a 3-man crew – the forward position being occupied by the wireless operator/gunner with the pilot seated amidships, and the engineer stationed at the rear. It’s main role is to escort convoys and scout or search for German U-boats.
Today, SSZ-14, under the command of Flight Lieutenant Arthur Stanley Elliott , set out on patrol from Mullion.
“She left Mullion on 7 September, 1917, at 9.05 am, and proceeded on her patrol. At 4.25 pm the engine suddenly stopped. All efforts to restart her were unsuccessful. The ship signalled engine trouble and gave her position. At 4.35 she had risen to 2,500 feet and was drifting in a SSW direction. An hour later the drogue was accidentally dropped overboard, but a suitable and efficient substitute was soon made out of a chair, coats and petrol tins.
The Lewis gun was then thrown overboard to prevent the ship from hitting the water, as by this time she had descended to a very low altitude. At 5.45 the sun came out again and the ship rose to 3,500 feet. At 6 pm she was brought down to 100 feet and further efforts were made to restart the engine, but without result. The drogue worked very well, however, keeping the craft shearing just off the wind, and at 6.35 she was drifting south, some forty miles south of Start Point.
Arthur Stanley Elliott
Lifebelts were then given out to the crew, and at 6.45pm the ammunition trays, revolvers and pyrenes were thrown overboard. Between 6.55 and 7.35 positions were received from the Lizard, and Brest was informed. At 7.35 cartridges and the cover of the Aldis lamp were thrown out, oil was drained from the tank, and later the water was drained out of the radiator and the petrol was run into the ballast bags. The explosives were taken out of the bombs and thrown overboard.
At 8.57 pm the ship reported to the Lizard that she was over land, and at 9.15 she landed near St. Jean du Doight, Finistere, having used all ballast. There she was deflated and taken by wagon to Guipavas Airship Station, where, with the assistance of the French, the crew re-inflated her, and on 21st she flew back to her station. No damage was done and no spares were required. She had free-ballooned a distance of approximately 120 miles – thanks to the very efficient adjustments made from time to time throughout the forced trip by her pilot, Flt. Lt. Elliott.”