On May 3, 1937, The Hindenburg departed from Frankfurt, Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey its first scheduled round trip between Europe and North America of the season. Even though there were strong headwinds slowing the Hindenburg’s Atlantic crossing, it was still a routine flight as it approached Lakehurst, New Jersey for a landing three days later.
Just before the LZ 129 Hindenburg made her final approach into Lakehurst on May 6, 1937, there was a severe line of thunderstorms approaching the area. The Hindenburg’s arrival was delayed for several hours as a safety precaution while the thunderstorms passed through the area. At approximately 7 PM Eastern Standard Time, Captain Max Pruss in command of The Hindenburg was cleared for the final approach into the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst.
Hindenburg Disaster: Real Zeppelin Explosion Footage (1937)- Must See!
She slowly made her final approach into NAS Lakehurst at an altitude of 650 ft (200 m) with Captain Max Pruss at the controls. At approximately 7:21 PM Eastern Standard Time, a pair of landing lines were dropped from the nose of The Hindenburg. The landing lines were grabbed by ground handlers to secure the airship. Approximately 4 minutes later, at 7:25 PM Eastern Standard Time. The Hindenburg suddenly exploded and was engulfed in flames as she plummeted to the ground.
It only took a little more than thirty seconds for The Hindenburg to be fully engulfed in flames. This horrible tragedy was over almost as quickly as it started. The Hindenburg disaster was magnified because she was using hydrogen gas which is highly flammable for lift instead of the non-flammable gas helium. The silvery cloth covering The Hindenburg contained material which included cellulose nitrate which is also extremely flammable.
The use of hydrogen gas and the flammable cloth material contributed to this historic disaster. There were 36 passengers and 61 crew aboard The Hindenburg. Incredibly, only 13 passengers, 22 crew and one member of the ground crew were killed. In all, 36 people were killed in The Hindenburg disaster. It is AMAZING that more people weren’t killed on that fateful day. The exact cause of The Hindenburg disaster still remains a mystery today!
LZ 129 Hindenburg
The LZ 129 Hindenburg (Registration: D-LZ 129; Luftschiff Zeppelin #129) and the lead ship of the Hindenburg class. She was a HUGE German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship and made a total of 63 flight from 1936–37. The Hindenburg was built and designed by the Zeppelin Company (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH) on the shores of Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The Hindenburg was to be approximately 803 ft 10 in (245 m) long and 135.1 ft 0 in (41.2 m) in diameter. Her Power-plant were 4 Daimler-Benz DB 602 (LOF-6) diesel engines with 890 kW (1,200 hp) each. She carried a crew of 40 to 61 and could accommodate 50–70 passengers. The Hindenburg’s performance was also impressive as well! She had a maximum speed of 85 mph (135 km/h) and could make an Atlantic crossing in just 3 days time.
This AMAZING airship was a true marvel of engineering and state-of-the-art technology in 1937. Just imagine what it would be like to see an airship the size of The Hindenburg flying overhead. Most of you have seen a Goodyear Blimp and you know those airships are huge and impressive in their own right. The Goodyear Blimp is less than one fourth the size of The Hindenburg! She is 192 ft (58.5 m) long. You could just imagine the enormous size of The Hindenburg!
The largest airships ever built were the two Hindenburg-class airships built by the Zeppelin Company. The two airships were the (LZ 129) and the (LZ 130). These airships were built to an all-duralumin design and was originally designed for helium, heavier than hydrogen but nonflammable. She would later be designed for hydrogen because the United States would not sell helium to Germany. This would be one of the many contributing factors to The Hindenburg Disaster on May 6, 1937.
We’ll start our Hindenburg Interior tour with the Control Car where the Hindenburg is controlled from. The Hindenburg Control Room with Ludwig Felber at helm with possibly Knut Eckener to his right. The ballast board is located far left with the rudder station and gyro compass repeater. Off to the right is the eyepiece of a drift measuring telescope and to the right of that is the altimeter, the engine telegraph, speaking tube, engine instruments and axial corridor with a variometer to the far right.
The interior of the Hindenburg was even more impressive than the airship itself and rivaled luxury liners like the Titanic. This was true luxury flying at its best and must have been the ultimate traveling experience at that time. A one way was ticket cost around $400 USD which was a fortune in 1937 but you are flying in complete luxury. A roundtrip ticket cost $720 USD which was about the same price as an automobile at that time.
As you can see by the color Hindenburg Interior photos, you got what you paid for. The image above is from The Hindenburg’s dining room with the world map on the wall. The chairs were comfortable and the dining room was large enough to accomodate 50 to 70 passengers comfortably. There was plenty of elbow room for all the passengers and crew aboard The Hindenburg. She was designed to be the most luxurious airship in the skies and she was.
Flying over the Atlantic Ocean usually took 3 days so the passengers and crew needed sleeping quarters. There were 25 double-berthed cabins at the center of A Deck and 9 more double-berthed cabins on B Deck. Each cabin measured approximately 78″ x 66″ and the doors and walls were made of a thin layer of lightweight foam covered by fabric. The Cabins were decorated in one of three color schemes. They were Cabins were decorated in one of three color schemes which were grey, beige or light blue.
Just like a luxury liner, The Hindenburg featured Promenades On either side of A Deck. The promenades featured seating areas with large windows that could be opened during flight. The Hindenburg also had a writing room which featured paintings by Otto Arpke depicting scenes from all around the world. The small writing room was located right next to the lounge and waiting room area. Believe or not, there was even a smoking room aboard as well.
Below is the MOST FAMOUS Hindenburg Disaster image of all-time! This historic photo was taken at approximately 7:25 PM Eastern Standard Time at Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The reason why this colorized photo looks familiar to most of you is because this iconic image has been used in appearances in media over the decades. An illustration of this image was used for the 1975 Hollywood blockbuster film, “The Hindenburg”.
The famous image of the burning Hindenburg was used as the cover of Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album January 12, 1969. Led Zeppelin chose this image for their album cover because the band was not expected to do well. They were expected to crash and burn just like the Hindenburg but history shows that Led Zeppelin became the GREATEST rock and roll band of all-time! There have been other uses of this photo in countless books and magazines over the years as well.
You are looking at another colorized image of The Hindenburg Disaster. This particular photo was taken from the original Hindenburg Disaster film and colorized. It only took approximately 30 seconds or less from the time The Hindenburg exploded to the frame this image was taken from the film. If you look closely, you can clearly see people running from the disaster as The Hindenburg falls to the ground. Colorizing these photos bring The Hindenburg Disaster to life!
The Hindenburg Disaster would be the LAST GREAT airship disaster of the 20th century. It would also be the end of an era! Luxury airship travel would go down in flames with The Hindenburg. It wasn’t just the disaster that ended airship travel but an improvement in aviation as well. It was no longer feasible to build enormous airships for air travel so the golden age of large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airships was over!
Hindenburg Disaster – Real Footage (1937) | British Pathé
The Hindenburg Disaster destroyed a true modern marvel of German engineering and proved that no matter how far advanced man’s technology becomes, a MEGA disaster could be just seconds away. For years, historians and engineers have tried to figure out exactly what happened on that fateful day in 1937. Even though The Hindenburg Disaster still remains a mystery, there’s a lot that we do know.
Their have been many theories as to what happened and one particular theory has gained some traction. So much so that there were two motion pictures based on this theory. I already mentioned one film earlier named The Hindenburg released in 1975 and the pilot episode of the NBC series Timeless uses the Hindenburg as the first destination of the Time Team. Both films uses a fictional storyline that hints at sabotage.
Although the sabotage theory has never been proven, most historians believe sabotage was the cause of the disaster. At the time, Nazi Germany was in political turmoil and it was thought that enemies of the Nazi regime planted a timed bomb onboard The Hindenburg. She was the pride and joy of Germany so destroying The Hindenburg would make a great target for Hitler’s enemies. Another hypothesis often involves a combination of leaking gas and atmospheric static conditions known as St. Elmo’s fire.
St. Elmo’s fire (also known as St. Elmo’s light) is a weather phenomenon which luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge from a sharp or pointed object in a strong electric field such as a thunderstorm. The luminous plasma coronal discharge is often seen as a bluish or other color glow. These are just two of the numerous theories over the years that have never been proven. Regardless of what caused The Hindenburg Disaster, she is one of the GREATEST engineering feats in aviation history!
Fly The Hindenburg In A Real Zeppelin Flight Simulator!
It’s been over 71 years since the tragic Hindenburg Disaster. Even though The Hindenburg no longer flies passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. She still flies in all her glory inside the World’s MOST REALISTIC Zeppelin Flight Simulator, VirtualPilot3D™! Virtual Pilot 3D is a state-of-the-art 4K smart flight simulator that is designed to be the MOST ADVANCED flight simulator game ever created for a home PC.
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You can fly The Hindenburg in just a few moments from now. All you have to do is click on the orange button below and I’ll see you on the next page. There, you’ll be introduced to the GREATEST flight simulator the gaming world has ever seen. Flying The Hindenburg is just the tip of the iceberg! There are over 200 additional airplanes, helicopters, spaceships and gliders to choose from. If it flies, it’s in the game!
I’ll see you on the next page pilot!