Feature Films
LTA Brazil
LTA China
LTA France
LTA Germany
LTA India
LTA Italy
LTA Japan
LTA Mexico
LTA Poland
LTA Russia
LTA S. Africa
LTA Thailand
Type Certificates
Usenet Groups
Web Sites

LTA Germany > Schütte-Lanz
Parseval | Schutte-Lanz | Schwartz | Zeppelin

Johann Schütte portrait Johann Heinrich Karl Schütte
Born on 26 February 1873 in Ostenburg (Oldenburg)
Died 1946

Virtually forgotten today, Luftschiffbau Schütte-Lanz GmbH was Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's only real dirigible-related competition in all of Germany. Johann Schütte (left), whose business was funded by the industrialist Karl Lanz, was initially inspired to study airships when he saw zeppelins in the sky.

Schütte left his mark on airships with several of his innovations: streamlined shape, cruciform tails incorporating rudders and elevators, unibody construction, and drag-reducing internal keels.

Regrettably, his ships had a basic flaw. Schütte insisted on laminated, plywood frames instead of the aluminum alloy used in Zeppelins. At first, the frames were diamond patterned and later, segmented rings. The glue used in the joints absorbed moisture and fell apart under stress. Very few found their way into naval service. The commander of the Naval Airship Division, Fregattenkapitan Peter Strasser, disliked them because of their wooden construction. Most Schutte-Lanz ships were employed by the German army.

Dan Nachbar <> 27 Feb 2003

Why did Schütte use plywood? Grain. Wood has very little tensile strength across its grain. So the only way to add the strength to handle a multi-axis load is to add more material.

The advantage of plywood is that (in theory) one can selectively orient the grains of the various layers so as to give strength in exactly the directions required by the structure.

The same technique is comonly used today in aircraft design. Only we use uni-axial fiberglass (or carbon fiber) materials and epoxy "glue" rather than uni-axial wood and glue.

The Schutte-Lanz Luftfahrzeugbau factories were located at Mannheim-Rheinau; Zeesen; Berlin-Konigswusterhausen.

During WW1, when all patents became subservient to the war effort, the primary innovations of Schütte were incorporated into the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's airships. Also, the last SL ships incorporated aluminum alloy construction.

If the winds of fate had blown more his way, Schütte would be as famous as Ferdinand Zeppelin.

'Panamerika' (205,000 cu.?)
Rick Z.

This sounds like exactly the type that Schutte would have sawn down and sketched over the 1920's, somewhat larger than one he proposed for Arctic exploration, etc.

In his day, Schutte was associated with the Technical University at Berlin-Schlottenberg, while the bulk of his archival material appears to now be concentrated at the Technical University/Museum of Mannheim.
His American patent attorney, Frederick Hardesty, wrote a book KEY TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SUPER AIRSHIP;  SCHUTTE LANZ MANNHEIM-RHEINAU 1906-1930 (privately printed in New York, 1930.)


Schütte-Lanz airship


  • Der Traum vom Fliegen: Johann Schütte -- Ein Pioneer der Luftschiffahrt
    Oldenburg : Isensee, 200 -- ISBN: 3895986933 (pbk.)
    [eine Kooperation des Stadtmuseums Oldenburg mit dem Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen und der Universität Oldenburg aus Anlass einer Ausstellung im Stadtmuseum Oldenburg vom 2. Juli bis 22. Oktober 2000 und im Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen vom 14. Juni bis 9. September 2001]
  • Jürgen Bleibler: Schütte-Lanz: "Im Schatten des Titanen"
    Friedrichshafen : Zeppelin Museum : Gessler, 20012 -- ISBN: 3861360632 (pbk.)
  • Frederick Hardesty: Key to the Development of the Super Airship Schütte-Lanz Mannheim-Rheinau 1906-1930: Development of the super-air-ship past, present and future, a succinct statement of facts, authorities and supporting data, patent status, history, legal and technical opinions.
    New York: [privately printed], 1930 (192, 7 l. incl. tables. 28 cm.)
  • Johann Friedrich Jahn: Technischer Nachlass Johann Schütte : ein Bericht
    Oldenburg : [s.n.], 1978
  • Heinz J. Nowarra: German Airships: Parseval, Schutte, Lanz & Zeppelin
    Schiffer, 1992.


  • Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War by Frederick A. Talbot (Guttenburg Project E-text):

    "Even in Germany itself the defects of the Zeppelin were recognised and a decided effort to eliminate them was made by Professor Schutte in co-operation with a manufacturer of Mannheim named Lanz. The joint product of their ambitions, the Schutte-Lanz, is declared to be superior to the Zeppelin, but so far it has failed to justify any of the claims of its designers. This vessel, which also favours the colossal, is likewise of the rigid type, but realising the inherent dangers accruing from the employment of metal for the framework, its constructors have used wood, reinforced and strengthened where necessary by metallic angle-iron, plates, and bracing; this utilisation of metal is, however, carried out very sparingly. The first vessel of this class was a huge failure, while subsequent craft have not proved much more successful.

    In fact, one of the largest German airships ever designed, L4, is, or rather was, a Schutte-Lanz, with a capacity of 918,000 cubic feet, but over 6,000 pounds lighter than a Zeppelin of almost similar dimensions. I say "was" since L4 is no more. The pride of its creators evinced a stronger preference for Davy Jones' Locker than its designed realm. Yet several craft of this type have been built and have been mistaken for Zeppelins owing to the similarity of the broad principles of design and their huge dimensions. In one vital respect they are decidedly inferior to their contemporary--they are not so speedy."

  • British Airships, Past/Present/Future by George Whale (Guttenburg Project E-text):

    "A company known as the Schutte-Lanz Company was also responsible for the production of rigid airships. They introduced a design, which was a distinct departure from Zeppelin or anyone else. The hull framework was composed of wood, the girders being built up of wooden sections. The shape of these ships was much more of a true streamline than had been the Zeppelin practice, and it was on this model that the shape of the super-Zeppelin was based. These ships proved of use and took part in raids on this country, but the Company was taken over by the Government and the personnel was amalgamated with that engaged on Zeppelin construction during the war."


Schutte-Lanz GmbH
Postfach 11 56
D-68776 Brühl

Tel: +49 62 02 20 01 0
Fax: +49 62 02 7 34 19


  • Airpower. A Sentry Magazine. November 1973, Volume 3, No. 6. Includes an article on the Schutte-Lanz Airships.

This site was created, written and is maintained by John Dziadecki 1995-2014. Images and quotes that are not the author's remain in the copyright of the originator. The information contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Additions and corrections are welcomed! Please send comments, suggestions and possible links to Last update: 26 January 2005