LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin
The Graf Zeppelin II was the last of the great German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 rigid airship
Rigid airship
A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope retained its shape by the use of an internal structural framework rather than by being forced into shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope as used in blimps and semi-rigid airships.Rigid airships were produced and...

s built by the Zeppelin Luftschiffbau during the period between the World Wars, the second and final ship of the Hindenburg class
Hindenburg class airship
The two Hindenburg-class airships were passenger carrying rigid airships built in Germany in the 1930s and named in honor of Paul von Hindenburg. They were the last such aircraft ever built, and in terms of their length and volume, the largest aircraft ever to fly...

 named in honor of Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

. She was the second ship to carry the name "Graf Zeppelin" (after the LZ 127
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German built and operated passenger-carrying hydrogen-filled rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Graf or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life,...

), and thus she is often referred to as Graf Zeppelin II.

Design and development

The Graf Zeppelin II was originally designed to be nearly identical to the Hindenburg, and use hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 as lifting gas. After the Hindenburg disaster, however, Hugo Eckener
Hugo Eckener
Dr. Hugo Eckener was the manager of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin during the inter-war years, and was commander of the famous Graf Zeppelin for most of its record-setting flights, including the first airship flight around the world, making him the most successful airship commander in history...

 vowed never to use hydrogen alone in a passenger airship again. The only source of helium in large enough quantities was in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, so Eckener went to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 to lobby for helium for his airships. He visited President Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 himself, who promised to supply helium, but only for peaceful purposes. After the annexation of Austria
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 in March 1938, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes
Harold L. Ickes
Harold LeClair Ickes was a United States administrator and politician. He served as United States Secretary of the Interior for 13 years, from 1933 to 1946, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office, and the second longest serving Cabinet member in U.S. history next to James Wilson. Ickes...

 refused to supply helium, and the Graf Zeppelin II was ultimately filled with hydrogen.

The design of LZ-130 incorporated a few improvements over the design of the LZ 129 Hindenburg
LZ 129 Hindenburg
LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume...

. Initially, the engine cars were designed to have same pusher configuration as the Hindenburg's, but as construction continued the engine pods were completely redesigned, using diesel engines powering tractor propellers. In later flights, the airship used three-bladed propellers on its rear engines; first installed on the aft-port engine car. Unlike the wooden propellers of the Hindenburg, which had problems with moisture absorption causing imbalance, these three-bladed propellers were made of plastic wood and individual blades were assembled onto a main hub. The engines had a water recovery system which captured the exhaust of the engines, recovering water vapor
Water vapor
Water vapor or water vapour , also aqueous vapor, is the gas phase of water. It is one state of water within the hydrosphere. Water vapor can be produced from the evaporation or boiling of liquid water or from the sublimation of ice. Under typical atmospheric conditions, water vapor is continuously...

 present in the exhaust gases and condensing it for storage in tanks aboard the airship, to compensate for the fuel's weight lost during flight.

Expecting helium to become available, the passenger decks were also completely redesigned to accommodate 40 passengers, compared to the Hindenburg's 72. The restaurant was moved to the middle of the quarters and the promenade windows were half a panel lower. The cabins would be more spacious and had better lighting compared to those of the Hindenburg; four of these were luxury cabins. The 16 gas cells were lightened and one was made of lightweight silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 instead of cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

. The tail fins were slightly smaller and the rigging was redesigned. Other redesigns included the gas vent hoods, gondola and the landing wheel installation. On the nose cone there were just two windows, as with the Hindenburgs original design (in the Hindenburg more windows were later fitted after its test flights). The German investigation on the Hindenburg Disaster pointed to problems with conductivity on the Hindenburg's outer skin. As a result, the doping solution for the outer fabric covering was also changed, bronze and graphite were added to prevent flammability and also improved the outer covering's electrical conductivity. These changes were little-known and politically suppressed in fear of embarrassment for such a design flaw.

Construction time line

23 June 1936 - The keel of the airship was laid and the main rings were fastened onto the roof of the hangar.

14 February 1937 - The nose cone was installed. In the same month, the fabric was also applied over the framework.

6 May 1937 - The LZ 129 Hindenburg
LZ 129 Hindenburg
LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume...

 bursts into flames and crashes while landing at Lakehurst, NJ, killing 35 out of 97 people on board and one member of the ground crew.

15 August 1938 - Inflation began on gas cells.

20 August 1938 - Engines and electrical connections are tested.

22 August 1938 - The radio communication system is tested.

14 September 1938 the ship was christened and flew the first time. Unlike the christening of the Hindenburg, only Zeppelin Company officials and Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 were present; no other government representatives came to the christening to congratulate Eckener. The speech was held by Dr. Eckener.

14 November 1938 - By the time the Graf Zeppelin II was completed, it was obvious that the ship would never serve its intended purpose as a passenger liner; the lack of a supply of inert helium was one cause. The Reich Air Ministry
Reich Air Ministry
thumb|300px|The Ministry of Aviation, December 1938The Ministry of Aviation was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany...

 permitted the Graf Zeppelin to fly for one year until 1 September 1939 “without any transportation of passengers and outside from tropical areas”.

Flights 1 to 7

1. 14 September 1938 - The maiden voyage took place immediately after the christening of the ship under the command of Dr. Hugo Eckener. The ship took off from Friedrichshafen at 7:50 AM with 74 people mainly Air Ministry, and Zeppelin Company officials on board. Also onboard were the builders, technicians and engineers of the airship. The engines were only started after the airship reached a height of approximately 100 m. The Graf Zeppelin flew across Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

 and Ulm
Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 , forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and...

 and returned to Friedrichshafen at 1:30 PM, travelling a total of 925 kilometres. Hugo Eckener described the trip as "satisfying" and "successful."

2. 17–18 September 1938 - The second trip was a 26-hour test trip under the command of Dr. Hugo Eckener and Captain Hans von Schiller
Hans von Schiller
Hans von Schiller was an airship captain. Born in 1891 in Schleswig-Holstein, the young Hans von Schiller joined the navy at the beginning of World War I. Impatient for action he volunteered for Zeppelin service and was active on numerous Zeppelin raids against the British. After the war Hans...

 with a total of 85 persons on board. It started at 8:08 AM on 17 September 1938. The morning was spent over the Bodensee with different measurements. At noon the ship flew north towards Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 at 12:15 and Frankfurt am Main at 13:15, and then towards Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

 and Eisleben
Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as the hometown of Martin Luther, hence its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. As of 2005, Eisleben had a population of 24,552...

. Towards evening Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 was reached. After many circuits at low altitude the Graf started towards Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. Over the outer-Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

-estuary in the Wadden Sea
Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity...

 further calibrations and tests were made. Afterwards it flew a direct course over Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

 towards Frankfurt am Main and then towards Bodensee
Lake Constance
Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee , the Untersee , and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein.The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps...

. There, the airship had to fly a large loop over Friedrichshafen, because the airfield lay in fog. At 10:17, LZ 130 landed after covering 2,388 km, and shortly before 11 o'clock was brought back into the Löwenthaler hangar.

3. 22 September 1938 - The third trial flight; 8:13 - 19:30 1215-km loop over Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and back again.

4. 25 September 1938 - Launch approx. 11:00 under Captain Hans von Schiller (duration approx. 7 h, 764 km, 40 crew members, 34 passengers and technicians). Tests at high altitude were made. Almost the whole trip took place at an altitude of about 2,000 m, without needing to valve much gas. Further atmospheric-electrical tests were made.

5. 27 September 1938 - eleven hours of trip duration, on behalf of the Reich Air Ministry
Reich Air Ministry
thumb|300px|The Ministry of Aviation, December 1938The Ministry of Aviation was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany...

 (RLM). At the airport and airship-port Rhein-Main a radio beacon was set up. The idea was to attempt a Funkbeschickung (a calibration of the direction-finding equipment). Hazy air hindered the attempts despite good weather conditions. The calibration did not succeed perfectly - these problems arose even at later attempts. There were also first successes with the Ballastwassergewinnungsanlage (a water recovery system to save ballast). Three and a half tonnes of ballast water could be saved and the engines ran quieter because of the sound-absorbing effect of the device.

6 28 September 1938 - Further test flight on behalf of the RLM under Captain Sammt. Among other things, the test was intended to investigate whether electrostatic charges caused the Hindenburg disaster. Therefore it was especially flown during thunderstorms. Flights during normal weather conditions brought no useful results. The ship was flown into the stormfront slack (gas cells under-expanded), to prevent the over-pressure valves releasing hydrogen. The trip lasted nearly 26 hours; covering over 2,500 km. The ballast water recovery system fulfilled the engineers' expectations by producing about nine tons of water.

7. 31 October 1938 launch around 2:15 under the command of Captain Sammt. This was simultaneously the last inspection flight and the transfer flight to Flug- und Luftschiffhafen Frankfurt am Main (the airship port at Frankfurt am Main). It landed after nearly 25 hours, covering over 2,100 km around 15:10. The airship and the crew were welcomed by Gauleiter
A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau.-Creation and Early Usage:...

 Sprenger at the new home port. After this trip LZ 130 on 14 November 1938 received the Luftschiff-Zulassungsschein (airship registration document). Thus it was certified for air traffic and registered in the German Luftfahrzeugrolle (aircraft register), however with the restriction of no carriage of passengers.

Flight 8 - Sudetenlandfahrt

8. “Sudetenlandfahrt” ("Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

 journey") also known as the Sudetendeutsche Freiheitsfahrt 1938, was made at the behest of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was Nazi Germany's ministry that enforced Nazi Party ideology in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr...

  (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 or Propagandaministerium). After the popular vote resulted in a large majority for Hitler and the National Socialist Party many propaganda channels were used - including a Zeppelin flight over the befreiten Gebiete ("liberated regions"). On board were 62 crew members and 7 passengers, among them military officers. Taking off on 2 December 1938, LZ130 arrived over Reichenberg (present-day Liberec
Liberec is a city in the Czech Republic. Located on the Lusatian Neisse and surrounded by the Jizera Mountains and Ještěd-Kozákov Ridge, it is the fifth-largest city in the Czech Republic....

), capital of Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

 (a German speaking area in Czechoslovakia), timed to match Hitler's visit. Small parachutes were thrown out with swastika flags and handbills carrying the text "Dein JA dem Führer!" ("Your YES for the leader"). LZ 130's loudspeakers played music and National Socialist propaganda for the forthcoming December 4 elections. Afterwards LZ 130 flew to the Reichenberg airfield and dropped 663 kg of postally cacheted souvenir mails. Worsening weather hindered further flight, and after some time it was decided to turn back. After the ship left the Sudetenland, it came into low cloud and snow showers. It started to ice up. Later, the propellers blew broken-off ice shards through the ship's outer envelope. However, the crew immediately repaired the damage. The Zeppelin landed without problem in gusty winds at 17:46 and was brought into the airship hangar.

Flights 9 to 23

9. 13 January 1939 launched at 9:08, commanded by captain Sammt, different tests were performed. Duration: 7 hours and 523 km

10. 13 April 1939 Among other things, radio- and spy basket
Spy basket
The Spy gondola, Spy basket, Observation car or sub-cloud car was a byproduct of Peilgondel development . They were used almost entirely by the Germans in the First World War on their military airships...

 tests were performed. In a flight lasting approximately 30 hours it covered nearly 2700 km (1,677.7 mi)

11. 15 June 1939 Duration: 28 hours; 2,800 km

12. and 13. Meiningenfahrt 2 July 1939 ; 18:40 landing at Meiningen
Meiningen is a town in Germany - located in the southern part of the state of Thuringia and is the district seat of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. It is situated on the river Werra....

 airfield, flew back to Frankfurt am Main at 19:22.

14. and 15. Leipzigfahrt (Leipzig trip) 9 July 1939; among other things landing in Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

-Mockau airfield with post office delivery

16. Nordseefahrt (North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 trip) 12 July 1939. Launch: 22:25

17. and 18. Görlitzfahrt (Görlitz
Görlitz is a town in Germany. It is the easternmost town in the country, located on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland of Saxony. It is opposite the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz until 1945. Historically, Görlitz was in the region of Upper Lusatia...

 trip) launch: 16 August 1939 00:34 under captain Sammt

19. 20., and 21. Bielefeld-Münster-Fahrt (Bielefeld
Bielefeld is an independent city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population of 323,000, it is also the most populous city in the Regierungsbezirk Detmold...

Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...


22. and 23.:To Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

Flight 24 - Spionagefahrt

24. The Spionagefahrt ("espionage trip") of 2 to 4 August 1939, taking over 48 hours and covering 4203 km (2,611.6 mi), was the longest trip the LZ 130 made. The main goal was to secretly collect information on the British Chain Home
Chain Home
Chain Home was the codename for the ring of coastal Early Warning radar stations built by the British before and during the Second World War. The system otherwise known as AMES Type 1 consisted of radar fixed on top of a radio tower mast, called a 'station' to provide long-range detection of...

Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 system. To do this the airship flew northwards close to the British east coast up to the Shetland Isles and back. As well as the 45 crew, 28 personnel enngaged in the measurements were carried. Lifting off was around 20:53 on 2 August 1939, it overflew Hildesheim
Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

 at 23:38, seen by very few people.

According to the memoirs of Albert Sammt, Mein Leben für den Zeppelin (translation: "My life for the zeppelin") in the chapter Mit LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin auf Funkhorch- und Funkortungsfahrt ("with the LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin on the radio-listening and radiolocation trip") a radio-measuring spy basket
Spy basket
The Spy gondola, Spy basket, Observation car or sub-cloud car was a byproduct of Peilgondel development . They were used almost entirely by the Germans in the First World War on their military airships...

 was used. He flew the LZ 130 up Britain's east coat stopping the engines at Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

  pretending they had engine failure in order to investigate strange antenna masts. They drifted freely westwards over land and saw for the first time the new Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

s, which were then photographed as they circled the airship.

On their return journey, as they neared Frankfurt on the evening of 4 August they were warned by radio that landing was not yet possible. At first they suspected an aeroplane had crashed at the site, but on overflying saw nothing amiss. They turned and flew towards the Rhön Mountains
Rhön Mountains
The Rhön Mountains are a group of low mountains in central Germany, located around the border area where the states of Hesse, Bavaria and Thuringia come together. These mountains, which are at the extreme southeast end of the East Hesse Highlands , are partly a result of ancient volcanic activity...

 and on asking, were informed "landing before dusk not possible". They decided to return to Frankfurt and speak directly with the landing team (Landemannschaft) using their Very high frequency
Very high frequency
Very high frequency is the radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted High frequency , and the next higher frequencies are known as Ultra high frequency...

 transmitter, so that they would not be overheard by the French and so that they could speak in Swabian German
Swabian German
Swabian is one of the Alemannic dialects of High German. It is spoken in Swabia, a region which covers much of Germany's southwestern state Baden-Württemberg, including its capital Stuttgart, the rural area known as the Swabian Alb, and Bavaria...

 to Beurle, the landing team leader.

Beurle informed them they must not land yet because the British had lodged a diplomatic protest over their actions and a British delegation was at the airfield, with agreement of the German government, to inspect the ship. They were under suspicion. Beurle told them to wait while they thought of something.

Shortly, the LZ 130 received instructions. They were to hide all the equipment on the ship and not to land at the usual well-lit landing point where a landing team was waiting, but to land at the other end where the "real" landing team was waiting. Once they had landed there, the technicians were to get off and they would be replaced by a unit of Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...


The British delegation waiting at the usual landing place were told that, due to the weather, the airship had to land at another part of the airfield. By the time the British reached the airship, the spy crew was on a bus on their way to their hotel. Although they searched the ship, the British found nothing suspicious on the ship nor in the decoy SA-crew.

Dr. Breuning explained that the trip's results were negative, and not because the British radar was switched off, as Churchill wrote in his memoirs. The German General Martini used a strong, impulsive, broadband radio transmission for determining the "radio-weather", the best wavelengths to use for radio. These impulses severely disturbed the highly sensitive receivers in the 10-12 metre waveband. Dr. Ernst Breuning wrote that he repeatedly requested Martini to stop transmitting during the spy trips, to no avail. This made it impossible for the LZ 130 to investigate the very wavebands the British were using.

Flights 25 to 30

25. and 26. Würzburgfahrt (Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

 trip) 5 August 1939

27. and 28. Egerfahrt (Eger
Cheb is a city in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic, with about 33,000 inhabitants. It is situated on the river Ohře , at the foot of one of the spurs of the Smrčiny and near the border with Germany...

 trip) 13 August 1939

29 and 30. The last trip, the so-called Essen/Mülheim-Fahrt (Essen/Mülheim trip), took place on 20 August 1939. The departure and destination was Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 with an intermediate stop at Essen/Mülheim Airport, commanded by Albert Sammt
Albert Sammt
Albert Sammt was a German Kommandant of Zeppelin-airships.In 1919 he was helmsman on the LZ 120 Bodensee...

. This trip (landing at 21:38) meant the end of large airship transport.

Graf Zeppelin II in color

Along with the Hindenburg, which was photographed in construction and flight in 1936 and its burning wreckage in 1937, the Graf Zeppelin II is the only zeppelin that has been photographed in color. The archives of the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen
Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen
The Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen at Lake Constance chronicles the history of the Zeppelin airships in the city where they were born. The museum, housed inside the former Hafenbahnhof , opened in 1996....

 also has a yearbook featuring color photographs of both airships taken by Captain Hans von Schiller, and many other color photographs of the airship also exist. The LZ 130 is the only Zeppelin that has ever been filmed in color. Color footage was shot by Harold G. Dick
Harold G. Dick
Harold Gustav "Hal" Dick was an American mechanical engineer employed by Goodyear, who flew on almost all of the Hindenburg flights. He was called to the UK for a meeting before the last flight of the Hindenburg and was not aboard during the disaster...

 of the ship over Friedrichshafen
This article is about a German town. For the Danish town, see Frederikshavn, and for the Finnish town, see Fredrikshamn .Friedrichshafen is a university city on the northern side of Lake Constance in Southern Germany, near the borders with Switzerland and Austria.It is the district capital of the...

. A 2001 documentary, Hindenburg Disaster: Probable Cause showed the footage but it was mistaken for color footage of the Hindenburg.

The end of the airships

In April 1940, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 issued the order to scrap both Graf Zeppelins and the unfinished framework of LZ 131, since the metal was needed for other aircraft. By April 27, work crews had finished cutting up the airships. On May 6, the enormous airship hangars in Frankfurt were leveled by explosives, three years to the day after the destruction of the Hindenburg
Hindenburg disaster
The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey...



See also

  • Buoyancy compensator (aviation)
    Buoyancy compensator (aviation)
    The static buoyancy of airships during a trip is not constant. It is therefore necessary to take measures to control the buoyancy and thus the altitude, the so-called buoyancy compensation.-Changes which have an effect on buoyancy:...

External links

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