I'm watching The Hindenburg

Gotta say, that must have been an incredible way to travel!

I read a little about the US Army’s foray into rigid airships, but otherwise not much. Can anyone suggest some good reads on them?

Oh, and the film I’m watching is great! It has none of the 70s feel similar disaster movies of that time have.

Pretty good movie. Oughta get remade, except the 30s are too 70s for the 00s.

Rosendahl’s Ships in the Sky is the standard for an overview of rigid airships 1900-40 and across three continents. Excellent reading if you can get a copy.

Gordon Vaeth’s Graf Zeppelin is the story of the longest-lived airship of them all, and memory serves me that it was gripping reading for a non-fiction work, as well. Lehmann, the captain of the Hindenburg who died in its fire, also wrote a oassable book about his experiences. (Among the reasons the Nazi regime stopped building airships was the fact that Hugo Eckener, head of Luftshiffbau Zeppelin, and all his senior staff, were as vehemently anti-Nazi as ut was safe to be in those days.)

At the time, I did not enjoy Nevil Shute’s The Millionth Chance, about the last British rigid, the R-101, and its fatal crash. But from 40+ years later, I cannot imagine Shute having written a bad book. There were also a couple of good books on the U.S. Navy’s rigid airship program, but I’ve long since forgotten titles.

If you have $1500 to spare, you can take a Zeppelin flight from Mountain View to Long Beach with Airship Ventures. They have shorter trips, but I would love to spend 8-10 hours with a view like that.

Thank you! I am going to look for those.

I can not believe it held only 72 passengers, AND 40 crew! With a ratio like that, how did it ever make money?!

The fare was $400 one way, $720 round trip. This was in 1936. That was well over half a year’s income for the average family.

(And that was a fairly empty ship – when it was full, it held over 100 passengers.)

Great title / poster combo. :smiley:

Oooh Oooh! you can actually fly it for $2950 http://www.airshipventures.com/tours-pilot_experience.php


It was actually the US Navy that had the airships.

I recommend The Airships Akron and Macon - flying aircraft carriers of the United States Navy by Richard K Smith. It does a great job of telling the story of the development and operation of the two airships. It also covers how they operated as “flying aircraft carriers” carrying several Sparrowhawk fighter planes that could launch from and return to the airships while in flight!

Another really good book is the Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships - Graf Zeppelin & Hindenburg by Harold Dick and Douglas Robinson. Dick was an engineer for Goodyear and spent five years working with the Zeppelin Company in Germany. He made 22 transatlantic flights in the airships and gives a great inside view of what they were like to fly on and how they operated.

Also well worth reading is Blimps & U-boats - U.S. Navy Airships in the Battle of the Atlantic by J Gordon Vaeth. It covers the operation of blimps for convoy patrol and submarine hunting in WW 2.

I have this book in my own collection Hindinberg, An Illustrated History by Rick Archbold.
Covers the history of Airships with great double page cutaway drawings, a hugh four page foldout of the interior of the Hindinberg as well as full page paintings of all the famous airships.


One benefit of being old: as a kid living in Brooklyn, I saw the Hindenburg fly over. It was enormous, shining brightly in the sunlight. What a sight

I would love a flight in an airship … just dont have the cash.

I suppose I could see if there is a hot air balloonist anywhere nearby that sells rides sigh

The Hindenberg incident is also one of the most famous instances of military bravery, outside armed conflict:

From here.