The Aether

Name: Aether
Designation: ENG88001-005v
Model: Elwyn Cormorant variant
Class: Light Civilian
Frame: Large Airyacht
Beam: 42 ft (14 Yards)
Power Plant: Custom Wankel & Riobard's Zephyr Mk 8 Hydrodynamic Power Plant
Linkage: Fullwell Chambered Multiflow Transmission with Fully Adjustable Ducting Module
Engines: Two Proctor Vulcan Steam Props (Main Thrust), Four Mulvill & Ventner Vernier Venting Props (Maneuvering)
Envelope: 90 ft (30 Yard) length, 30 ft (10 Yard) Three Section 3600 Cubic Foot (1200 Cubic Yard) Trifoil Semi-rigid with Aerodynamic Lifting Surface and Observation Deck

The Cormorant design, primarily of the late Englishman Vanaver Elwyn, was an airship designed for speed and maneuverability at the cost of interior space while still maintaining a level of luxury. The original design, dubbed the Pelican, included a separate level for amenities and crew cabins. As a racing yacht it failed to out pace the sleeker designs coming from the continent. It's size and small power plant, the Wankel and Riobard's Zephyr Mk 4, were commonly blamed. It was also considered too small to support a full crew and supply adequate separation of the passengers due to the necessity of a single head. This caused the design to have a poor reputation among it's niche market of rich and particular nobility. As a result Vanaver Elwyn turned his attention from his airship business to his other hobbies of cricket and womanizing. His wife, Patricia Churchill-Elwyn, assumed nominal control of the company and ran it in his name in order to keep it from bankruptcy.

One of her changes after assuming control was to modify the Pelican design to more reflect those seen coming out of Bonne. At the direction of the companies chief engineer, William Coleman, She removed the insufficient crew level, cut back stores and opened the keel for engine ducting. Coleman, a retired airship captain and skilled mechanic, also consulted with VonHousen Clockwerks of Berlin to modernize the various hydrodynamic systems of the vessel. Finally, at the suggestion of Patricia Churchill-Elwyn the power plant was upgraded to the newly available Wankel & Riobard's Zephyr Mk 8.

Utilizing an aerodynamically shaped semi-rigid triform envelope, the newly dubbed Cormorant design was able to generate additional lift while moving forward. This allowed the designers to shrink the over all size of the envelope but required the use of the maneuvering engines to keep the craft aloft when stationary. To this end a second pair of maneuvering engines were added, taking advantage of the increased power of the Zephyr Mk 8. These engines allowed for quicker vertical and lateral movement and more precise control over both with the addition of an advanced transmission. One of the newer innovations utilized was the filling of the envelope with helium gas, as opposed to hydrogen or the more common hot air. Tanks were included in the forward keel allowing the semi-rigid envelope to deflate into itself and be tied down on the top of the cabin in case of weather or storage. A hatch was also included in the top of the envelope, accessible from the cabin via an interior passage and rope ladder.

Not all of these modifications were well received. To compensate for the necessity of landing when experiencing a lose of power the hull was designed to be functionally hydrodynamic rather than decorative. Water proofed hatches were added fore and aft to allow the deployment of clockwork landing struts similar to those used on commuter craft. This choice had the mixed result of increasing the over all usefulness of the vessel, while limiting it's purely aesthetic appeal. In a market were the appearance was everything the Cormorant wasn't making any friends.

This changed slightly when a young man of means by the name of Wilson Snyder commissioned a Cormorant in order to perform in the annual Trans-Europa Airship Pursuit. The choice of the fledgling Captain was initially mocked by his peers until his taking second place his first year out. While this helped the reputation of the budding Cormorant design, it also shadowed it under at of the winner, a new Bollingbroke design using an experimental power plant provided by Bourgan Hydronautics.

After producing only eight Cororants over the course of six years, Patricia Churchill-Elwyn shifted the company to making simple but cost effective commuter designs. The company is still quite successful in this field to the present day. As a service to it's customers Elwyn Airship offers full service and repair work on any of it's designs at a discount rate when ships are brought to it's home factory in Mechanus.

The Aether is the current name given to the fifth Cormorant to be crafted by Elwyn Airship. At it's launch it sported a top of the line Aberdeen Bros. Transmission and a Wankel & Riobard's Zephyr Mk. 8 power plant signed by Wilhelm Riobard and marked '#52'. When last updated the Elwyn Owners Record put it in the ownership of one Genevieve Sparling. However a footnote states that the ownership has been disputed by the former owner who claims to have lost it in a wager. His standing with the Record, at the time 11 months without dues, and Capt. Sparling's generous donation in services rendered has caused the Record to leave the dispute inactionable for the time being. All legal residence records however are still in the name of Baron Stoval Magnitogorsk as Capt. Sparling chooses to list residence aboard ship and the Record insists on an address being provided in case of legal action.

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