Unlike earlier designs both airships were being built for commercial reasons (as opposed to military) to transport passengers over long distances and so would have to carry heavier loads. The increased load demands meant larger ships so work began to lengthen the original Shorts shed to allow work on the R101 to begin. After almost five years in 1929 tests began in earnest when the R101 was walked out of its shed for the first time - following trial flights the bold decision was taken to further lengthen the ship to allow greater lift and it was taken back into the shed to have an extra section placed in the middle.
It is fair to say that the R101 was at this time still undertaking trials and was very much an experimental ship. Certainly it appears that the growing public interest and the success of the R100 Atlantic crossing to Montreal put huge pressure on the team to deliver. The insistence by Lord Thomson that the ship would be ready for a state visit to India in Oct 1930 only increased this pressure which would be totally unacceptable in our world today. Local newspaper reports as early as 1929 tell of huge numbers of people arriving on The Highway at Shortstown to view the ship whilst it was moored and this sense of great public expectation could only have highlighted the need for the whole project to succeed.