Tag Archives: rigid airship

this day in the yesteryear: Maiden Flight of the First US Airship (1923)

Maiden Flight of the First US Airship (1923)

The USS Shenandoah was the first American-built rigid dirigible. Its design was based on a German zeppelin downed during WWI, and it was the first ship to be filled with helium—making it safer than hydrogen-filled crafts. A year after its maiden voyage, it became the first rigid airship to cross North America. While on another tour in 1925, it passed through a storm and was torn apart. Thirteen crew members died in the crash. How did those who survived the disaster manage to do so? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin (1838)


Italiano: Descrizione: Ferdinand Graf von Zepp...

Italiano: Descrizione: Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin Fonte: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/photodraw/portraits/zeppelin.jpg licenza: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin (1838)


Zeppelin began working with balloons for human transport as an observer during the American Civil War. In 1891, he retired from the Prussian army to devote himself to building motor-driven airships. Zeppelin invented the first rigid airship in 1900, but the experiment exhausted his funds. Luckily, public opinion was so strongly in favor of his airship project that donations largely financed his future work. Whom did his granddaughter later threaten to sue for sullying her family’s name? More… Discuss


This Day in History: THE HINDENBURG DISASTER (1937)

The Hindenburg Disaster (1937)

Launched in 1936 in Germany, the Hindenburg was the largest rigid airship ever constructed and was promoted by the Nazis as a symbol of national pride. It started the first commercial air service across the North Atlantic and made several trips to the Americas. On one such trip, the hydrogen-filled airship violently and unexpectedly exploded in flames and crashed in New Jersey, killing 35 of the 97 people on board. What non-flammable gas was originally supposed to provide the airship’s lift? More… Discuss