Hindenburg Essay, Research Paper


The Hindenburg, originally designated the L. Z. 129, was a rigid AIRSHIP built by

the firm of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Completed and

tested in 1936, it was the world’s first transatlantic commercial airliner. The airship

was 245 m (804 ft) long, had a maximum diameter of 41 m (135 ft), and was kept

aloft by 200,000 cu m (7,000,000 cu ft) of hydrogen in 16 cells. Four 1,050-hp

Daimler-Benz diesel engines provided a top speed of 132 km/h (82 mph).

In May 1936 the Hindenburg inaugurated the first scheduled air service across the

North Atlantic, between Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Lakehurst, N.J. It

accommodated more than 70 passengers and had a dining room, a library and

lounge with a grand piano, a cocktail lounge, and promenades with large windows.

The flight to the United States took 60 hr, and the return trip to Europe, 50 hr. In

1936 the Hindenburg carried more than 1,300 passengers and several thousand

pounds of mail and cargo on transatlantic flights.After making more then ten

Atlantic crossings the Hindenburgh finally met it?s end.While manoeuvring to land

at Lakehurst on May 6, 1937, the airship’s hydrogen was ignited and the Hindenburg

was destroyed by the resulting fire

As the Hindenberg touched the landing platform there was a bright blue-white flash

on the front of the bulkhead of cell 6 (section of Hindenburg). There was a fire

inside cell 6. It?s reflection could be seen on the outside wall of cell 6, but it was

small and flickering. The fire was taking control and suddenly the cell disappeared

with all the heat. The fire had received further air and had turned very bright. A

giant flame rose on the starboard side, burning fabric began to rain down onto the

hull. There was a tremendous second detonation as the flames burst through the top

of the ship. The explosion shook the whole fin left to right.

Girders, melted aluminium, wires, struts, pieces of steel and burning fabric started

falling to the ground. The stern was falling rapidly and it would soon hit the ground.

In the command gondola everyone felt the ship lurch. They then saw a red glow

spreading on the ground beneath them. Captain Bauer tried to drop the water ballast

by the manual controls but he could not tell if anything happened. The navy men

underneath the Hindenburg stood there frozen like statues, their arms were still

reaching up on the lines of the ship. They then all started running away from under

the ship.

The linendoped outer skin of the ship started peeling off away from its aluminium

skeleton. It was as if a Japanese Lantern had caught fire. The ship then lurched

forward and began to tilt down at the stern. There was a terrific crash as the ship hit

the ground. One of the windows burst from its frame. Stoekle, who was one of the

passengers then jumped through the window in desperation and landed on his hands

and knees. As the seven million feet of hydrogen were consumed a great ball of fire

rose above the ship, it was sort of mushroom shaped.

The people were jumping out of windows and some were waiting for the ship to hit

the ground. The ship did hit the ground but it rose again a little way before settling

down with another crash. Panic was starting to set in amongst the passengers and

people were starting to push and shove one another and screaming could be heard

from all direction.

The flames were being driven by the wind towards the starboard side of the ship. By

this time deck A was at ground level. People started running out of the ship. Some

of them had been very badly burnt and some were actually still on fire, it was a most

horrific sight. There were ambulances and fire engines attending frantically to the

injured and burnt people.

Werner Franze was a cabin boy fourteen years old.He was in the officers mess

looking out of the window when the heard the explotion..He then ran onto the

gangplank but the steep tilt made him fall.Everything was on fire.There was a water

tank above him burst and he was drenched by two tonnes of water.That saved his


It took thirty four seconds for the whole ship to burn.Oil fires burnt on for two hours

and so did the duraluminum rings, girders, struts, tension wires, stairs, tables,

navigational equipment, pots, wine racks and landing lines.The hydrogen fire-ball

boiling up from the Hindernburg was four hundred feet in diameter,where as the sun

is estimated to be eleven and a half million times as big.At dawn exempt for a half

burnt swastika still showing its dislocated tail and eerie twisted skeleton of a

beached whale its aluminium rib cage was still glowing.

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