LZ-129 "Hindenburg"
(Many thanks to Dr. Oliver Schnaedelbach for translation.)

Hindenburg leaves hangar

The LZ129 was meant to support the earlier LZ127 „Graf Zeppelin“ which was not capable of handling the increased traffic volume on its own. Passengers enjoying the viewStart of construction was in 1932, and after unsuccessful attempts to acquire the safer helium from the USA, the highly explosive hydrogen gas had to be used for lift. As a safety measure against fire, all passengers had to submit theír matches and lighters, mainly fireproof materials were used during construction, and the only room where smoking was allowed was buried deep inside the passenger area, with the only lighter being chained to the middle of the room! 
The airship went on its first trials on march 4th, 1936, over the Lake Constance. Dining-roomIts first official appearance happened to be a propaganda cruise between march 26th and 29th, together with LZ127, where millions of leaflets were dropped onto german cities to encite the people to vote for Hitler a few days later. Regular service to south america started in autumn 1936, and the first trip to north america was scheduled for may 4th, 1937. With a crew of 36 and 60 passengers, the LZ129 approached Lakehurst in the evening of may 6th, when during the landing manoeuvre the airship’s stern exploded. Only seconds later, the giant structure was engulfed in flames and dropped to earth from about 60m (200ft) altitude. New YorkNobody who witnessed the catastrophe could have believed anyone would escape from the inferno, but 61 survived the drama. The reasons were never fully uncovered, but to date the theory seems most probable that burnable materials (powdered aluminium oxide) were used to coat the outer sheath of the hull, and ignition was due to static electricity.
The disaster over Lakehorst
The USA were still reluctant to sell helium to the Deutsche Reich, and, consequently, this was the end for the Zeppelins.
 


Frame during construction


On "Germany-Cruise"

     
Ads for Air Mail Service and North Atlantic Service

Technical Data:

Length:

Hull Diameter:

Volume:

Load:

Engines:

Speed:

No. of cruises:

245m (817ft)

41.2m (137ft)

200.000 cubic metres

60.000kg (132.000lb)

4 x Daimler Diesel / 1050hp each

131km/h (81mph)

63

 [Homepage