LZ 129 Hindenburg

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LZ 129 Hindenburg (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin #129; Registration: D-LZ 129) was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest (245 meters, 803.8 feet) class of flying machines of any kind and the largest airship by envelope volume (200,000 , 7,062,000 cubic feet).[1] Designed and built by the Zeppelin Company (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH) on the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in Friedrichshafen, the airship flew from March 1936 until destroyed by fire 14 months later on May 6, 1937, at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of its second season of service. Thirty-six people died in the accident, which occurred while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey.

The Hindenburg was named after the late Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg (1847–1934), President of Germany (1925–1934).

Contents

Design and development

The Hindenburg had a duralumin structure, incorporating 15 Ferris wheel-like bulkheads along its length, with 16 cotton gas bags fitted between them. The bulkheads were braced to each other by longitudinal girders placed around their circumferences. The airship's skin was of cotton doped with a mixture of reflective materials intended to protect the gas bags within, which were made of goldbeater's skin, from both ultraviolet (which would damage them) and infrared (which might cause them to overheat) radiation. In 1931 the Zeppelin Company purchased 5,000 kg of duralumin salvaged from the wreckage of the October 1930 crash of the British airship R101, which might have been re-cast and used in the construction of the Hindenburg.[2]

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