Hindenburg Hydrogen Fire
Historical Note
Passenger Ships
Research Tools
Former Announcements

16 November 2005
Thanks to Sig Geist

Josef Sonntag, last of "Graf Zeppelin" crew dead at age 94

After growing up and going to school in Friedrichshafen, young Sonntag was apprenticed to the local Maybach Motorenbau GmbH (then still a subsidiary of LZ). He graduated from there as engine mechanic and was soon assigned to work in the company's maintenance department for airship engines. Not mere bywords, safety and reliability figured prominently at LZ, and so beginning in 1931 after every roundtrip to South America, one of "Graf Zeppelin's" five Maybach engines underwent a complete overhaul.

Then in 1936, amply experienced Herr Sonntag began his assignment as engine mechanic aboard the fabled "Graf Zeppelin" (LZ 127) airship. With no fewer than 14 roundtrips to Rio de Janeiro, two trips Recife - Bathurst and 15 additional ones, he accumulated a remarkable 183,000 miles in the air. With the "Hindenburg" (LZ 129) crash in May 1937, Josef Sonntag's airship career came to an end, because, as ordered by the Third Reich Air Ministry, airship operations for paying passengers with hydrogen as lifting gas were forbidden from then on. This meant also that the highly successful LZ 127 airship, after nearly 1.1 million miles of travel had to be laid up.

Airship veteran Sonntag, however, remained close to engines. First with Daimler-Benz and then with the maintenance of airplane engines during World War II. Following a brief period as prisoner of war, Sonntag in 1945 returned home to Friedrichshafen, where at Maybach and later at MTU he remained occupied with motor engines right up to his retirement.

Always ready to lend a helping hand in maintaining the rich history and tradition of zeppelin airship travel and furthering the aims of New Technology (NT) airships, Old-Zeppeliner Josef Sonntag, together with his previously departed airship comrades, appeared often to the delight of event planners and those gathered around him. Fittingly, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, he was awarded a flight aboard airship NT which he visibly enjoyed. Members of the LTA-Society "Zeppelin Centennial Tour 2000" to Friedrichshafen were privileged to have Herr Sonntag as their dinner guest at the GZ-Haus where he briefly shared his airship experiences with them.

Josef Sonntag died in Friedrichshafen on November 01, 2005. His well-attended funeral service took place on November 07 at the city's municipal cemetery. In addition to family and next of kin, the Freundeskreis (FK for the Zeppelin-Museum) grieves for its esteemed member. Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH (LZ) expressed closeness to its former Zeppelin mechanic with a wreath adorned in traditional Zeppelin colors of blue and white.

Taking liberty in speaking on behalf of the 40 American and overseas airship fans (including myself) who in 2000 briefly met Herr Sonntag at the GZ-Haus, this reporter wishes to express deepest sympathy and profound regrets to the Sonntag family on the loss of this special person. All who knew him, will miss him.

Note: The above obituary was compiled and translated by Sig Geist. It is based in part on the German-worded obituary submitted by Mr. Manfred Sauter to the Friedrichshafen print media.

9 September 2005
Thanks to Sig Geist

Zeppelin NT in South Africa - An Update

Based on an article in Germany's Lake Constance print media, September 08 was to be the day when the Africa-Zeppelin departed for Jwaneng, a mining town in southern Botswana on its first of several months-long diamond exploring missions for De Beers Group of Companies.

The departure was preceded by the airship's arrival in Cape Town, South Africa after a 22-day sea voyage on August 31, 2005 (reported elsewhere as September 05). Since then, the airship was off-loaded successfully although unfavorable weather conditions in port took extra time and slowed the assembly of engines and empennage. Notwithstanding, the NT airship was airborne a few days later. It completed a 50-minute test flight and was then flown to a nearby military airfield. There, it was fitted with diamond-sensing technology, that once aboard the zeppelin was reported to be five-times more efficient than existing equipment.

The evening before the zeppelin's reported departure on 9/08, De Beers held a big reception for its VIP's where its press officer Tom Tweedy called the richly emblazoned airship the "workhorse" for its diamond-seeking mission in Botswana. Most prominent among the no fewer than six signs and logos painted on the envelope is one whose undulating ribbon-like lettering spells out "Diamonds for development in Africa" in multi-color along both sides of the airship. Of course, the De Beers' "A diamond is forever" moniker is not to be missed.

According to the "MBendi Information for Africa" website, Botswana is the leading producer of gem quality diamonds in the world, producing some 30.4 Mct in 2003 compared to 28.4 Mct in 2002. The diamond industry accounted for 83% of export earnings within the country.

Diamond production in Botswana is dominated by Debswana, a joint venture company owned by De Beers Investments (50%) and the Government of Botswana (50%). Debswana has 3 operational mines, Jwaneng is the youngest among them.

Based once more on the above article and its reliance on a state of Hessia based media service, the for now two year agreement with De Beers was reported to be highly profitable for the airship's builder / parent Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH (ZLT). Although De Beers reportedly declined to enter into a profit sharing arrangement, ZLT's profit was mentioned to amount to 5.5 million Euro (6.9 million USD).

24 August 2005
Thanks to Christian Michel

I just received a press release from Zeppelin where they state that the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH has bought the "immaterial goods" which I would translate as knowledge and scientifc results from the Cargolifter program. A new "lighter than air" institute will be founded with offices in Friedrichshafen and Cottbus. And a national research network with universities and research facilities will be founded. With this research activities for larger airships which have already been performed for Cargolifter should be revived. Cooperations with supply industries are welcomed to support the development of the NT14. Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH hopes to boost German airship activities on the international market.

This is a short trial of translation of the 2 page press release which is only available in German so far. Have a look at the Zeppelin website for the full english version (which I hope they will publish).

8 March 2005
Thanks to Hans Paul Ströhle

Rich resources of contemporary Zeppelin NT images!


15 February 2005
Thanks to Sig Geist

19-Seater Zep NT Gets Green Light

Such was the news from German language news media in Friedrichshafen on 2/15/2005 as it reported that Zahnradfabrik (ZF AG) and Zeppelin GmbH - both of them Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) major shareholders - have givenairship builder ZLT the release to develop a 19-passenger airship. It will measure 85 metres (280 ft.)in length, 16 metres (52 ft.) in diameter andhave a volumeof 14,000 cubic metres (495,000 cu-ft.). Development of the new NT 14 airship (14 for 14,000 cu-ft.) is tobegin swiftly. It is expected to take to the airduring the second halfof 2007 andbegin commercial operations in the fall of 2008.

Thedecision to scale-up to a 19-passenger airship, therebyincreasing the economies of airship operationshas prompted ZLT's chairman Dr. Straeterto state he was "much pleased about the decision". This view was also expressed by Friedrichshafen Lord Mayor Buechelmeier when he said "it isthe right forward-looking decision".

Followers of the Zep NT airship scene may recall talks from a while ago about a stretched versionof the current 12-passengerNT airship. In order to offer a market-ready and economically viable product on short notice, ZLTsince mid last year has looked atsuch aversion from both thetechnological as well as the economical point of view. From that it was learned that with an increase to 19 passengers, while at the same time maintainingall significant subsystems, the largest cost/efficiecy can be achieved.

13 January 2005
Thanks to Don Overs

Hindenburg Fire: Hydrogen or Incendiary Paint? (12 January 2005: 453kb pdf file, 11 pages) has been published this month in Buoyant Flight.

See also: William H. Appleby's related paper, Airship Hindenburg: Experimental study of the involvement of the outer covering paint (dope) in the disastrous final fire.

12 January 2005
Thanks to Arnold Nayler

The Airship Association has had a reply in today from Dr Bernd Straeter, CEO at Zeppelin, after we enquired about how the dockschiff survived the tsunami. We share this good news with you:

"Thank you very much for worriing about our ship transport. Yes they were near to the centre (about 150 km away), but as you know on the ocean the movement and the waves were not strong. They noticed some unusual sounds and vibrations but not severe knocks. Our sensors did not give any severe respond. Fortunately they arrived meanwhile Kobe. The Zeppelin is already assembled and they will leave the ship tomorrow morning if the weather conditions allow."

So with any luck the airship should now have taken to the air having finally got to Japan.

16 December 2004
Thanks to Jeff Rothal

Rumor was that John Travolta had purchased a blimp, but according to USA Today:

Travolta, a real-life aviator and owner of a Boeing 707, said reports on an entertainment news show last week of him having purchased a $10 million blimp were false.

"I was a little perturbed by it, because there's no reason in the world why I would need a blimp," he said.

14 December 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist

ZLT on December 08 issued a press release in response to published reports from several American websites on December 07 that American actor John Travolta has ordered a Zeppelin NT from Neiman Marcus.  ZLT's release stated that at this time no purchase inquiries had come in, neither from Neiman Marcus nor from Travolta himself.

13 December 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist

Dockship with Japan-bound Zep NT onboard leaves Gioia Tauro
The article below is based on Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik's (ZLT) German language press release, dated December 09, 2004. Translated and submitted by Sig Geist, Mendenhall, PA.

Friedrichshafen / Gioia Tauro - The Zeppelin NT that was sold to Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC) in early March, has left the Italian port city of Gioia Tauro today (12/09) in the afternoon as freight aboard a special vessel.  The NT airship is expected to arrive in the Japanese port city of Kobe by mid-January.   
Already on Tuesday (12/07) the Zeppelin NT was loaded onto a special vessel of Dutch shipping company Dockwise and prepared for the coming ocean crossing.  In addition to both of the side-mounted propulsion units, the three part empennage was demounted and stowed in special containers for the sea voyage.  So that the (airship's) passenger cabin and mast truck would suffer no damage during the crossing, they were also given special protection.
The crossing is supposed to take around 30-35 days.  By mid-January the ship is supposed be coming into the Japanese port city of Kobe.  There the airship will be put together again.  To assure the valuable freight will be in good hands also during the voyage, two employees from Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG (ZLT) and one employee from NAC will accompany the ocean transport.  
Related web links:
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG
Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei

30 November 2004
Thanks to Arnold Nayler

I give a quote from my paper at the 30th Joint Annual Airship Association and Royal Aeronautical Society Symposium held in London on 16th November 2004.  
I quote (and this also was given to me only three days before the event on 16 Nov. so it is really up-to-date news from Zeppelin themselves):-
"As already reported by Zeppelin, they are conducting an investigation of an extended version of the NT 07 for a 19 seater. The engineering work which should originally have finished at the end of this year is slightly delayed because of the unplanned work they had to do for their Japanese customer. They are also in discussion with some other potential customers for a new 12 seater. Up to now a decision has not been yet made. The highest priority has been the ferry of the Japanese airship to Japan."

28 November 2004
Thanks to Johannes Eissing

The "Schwaebische Zeitung online" writes about the Zeppelin NT to be shipped to Japan (sorry, in German only).

A "Dock Express 10" of the Netherlands shipping company Dockwise will haul the NT from the South Italian port of Gioia Tauro.

Dock Express 10 Stowage plan.

They are planing to start between the 4th and 8th of December. Via the Suezcanal and the Indian Ocean it will take 35 days to Japan.

Engines and fins will be demounted and a barrier of containers will protect the airship.

28 November 2004
Thanks to Arnold Nayler

In my presentation entitled' Airship Review', given as one of the papers at the 30th Annual Joint Airship Association and Royal Aeronautical Society Symposium "AIRSHIP OPERATIONS IN EUROPE DURING 2004" held at the Royal Aeronautical Society on Tuesday 16th November 2004, I gave the following news about Zeppelin. I had received the information three days earlier.

I quote from my presentation:

"The Zeppelin which has been sold to Japan left Friedrichshafen at 10.20 am on Thursday 11th November on its way to Southern Italy. At the moment it is in France on the way to the Mediterranean. It's flight takes it through via France, Pisa, Napoli to Giao Tauro - a large container harbour. The airship will land there and will be transported to a special dock ship. The normal haul-in procedure will be used to bring the airship on to the mobile mast truck and on to the ship. There the side engine nacelles will be removed in order to use the attachment points for fixing the airship on the ship. The empennage will also be removed. Wind and weather protection will be given by container walls aside the airship. Zeppelin said that they had to make a lot of calculations to avoid overcritical loads in heavy weather conditions. The Japanese crew is supported by a complete Zeppelin crew under the leadership of their test pilot Fritz Günther. The airship is expected to arrive at the port in Italy on the 7th of December. The ship, carrying the airship, should depart for Japan on the 10th of December. The voyage, via the Mediterranean, Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean will take about 30 days."

27 October 2004
Thanks to Trevor Monk

Steve Fossett Sets New Zeppelin Speed Record

Berlin - American adventurer Steve Fossett broke the speed record for airships in a flight with a German company's new-look Zeppelin, the manufacturer said on Wednesday.

Fossett, together with co-pilot Hans-Paul Stroehle, took off early on Wednesday morning from the airport in the southern city of Friedrichshafen, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik said.

The pair averaged 111km/h over a 2,000m stretch - half with the wind behind them and half in the other direction, the company said.

The existing record of 92.8km/h was set in 2000 by two Britons, James Dexter and Michael Kendrick.

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik said Fossett's performance, monitored by the German Balloon Sport Federation, has yet to become an official record.

The German group will pass details to the United States' National Aeronautic Association before it is submitted to the International Aeronautic Federation for formal recognition.

Fossett made global headlines when he bec! ame the first man to fly a hot air balloon solo around the world, landing in Australia on July 4, 2002.

Zeppelin spokesperson Dietmar Blasius said the 60-year-old acquired a licence to fly the airship in recent months at its Friedrichshafen headquarters, with Stroehle as his instructor.

The company started building its 75-metre dirigibles in 1996.

The craft, named Zeppelin NT for "New Technology", is filled with helium rather than the intensely flammable hydrogen that fuelled the earlier generation of airships.

The original Zeppelin era ended when the Hindenburg caught fire on landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937 - killing 35 of the 96 people on board. (Sapa-AP)

20 October 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist

Japan-bound Zep NT on new course

Composed and submitted by Sig Geist
Mendenhall,  PA

following Nippon Airship Corporation's (NAC) decision in late August to break off its Japan-bound Zep NT transfer flight from Finland, the former Zep NT airship Bodensee has arrived back at its previous home base in Friedrichshafen on September 19, 2004.  It is currently undergoing early yearly inspection.  Based on recent info (10/05) from Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) and regional media sources, transfer plans now call for a new course whereby the airship is to be flown to the south of Italy by mid-November and from where during December, the Japan-bound airship will commence its ocean voyage aboard a special vessel allowing it to be stowed within a dock-like enclosure. Specialists in shipboard loading and stowing are reported to be working hard to assure safe ocean transport for the airship.  While a port of embarkation in Italy has not yet been announced, the airship's fly route across the Alps to southern Italy is currently being studied.  The month-long sea voyage was reported to take the vessel-bound airship through the eastern Mediterranean and Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean and through the far-eastern archipelago before reaching its destination in the Land of the Rising Sun, where the airship is expected to be checked out and made ready in ample time for its long-planned aerial appearance at EXPO 2005 in Aichi, Japan, held March 25 through September 25.  Following EXPO 2005, NAC is expected to press their Zep NT airship even more fully into sightseeing and advertising flight service.  

2 September 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist

Japan-bound flight broken off, new route viafreighter

During late August, Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC)decided to break off its Helsinki-stalled airship flight to Japan and for the present, return the YOKOSO, Japan! to Friedrichshafen. In its official statement explaining the reasons why,NAC said the question of Russian fly-over approval had"still not been cleared up conclusively" and that "mid-September expected weather uncertainties over Siberia" would not allow for any more wait. How much recent events such as both of Russia's mysterious airplane crashes, heightened security and inspection measure sand (or) other events have influenced NAC's decision was not immediately known.

As of September 02, 2004 the airship was said to leave Helsinki (weather permitting). Its first stop was going to be Stockholm, Sweden. Aside from the regular required stops, sponsor Konica-Minolta may want to add several more cities left out on the outbound flight before the airship's return to Friedrichshafen within the next two weeks.

Now it was learned that, instead of flying the airship to Japan via an alternate, more southerly route (across Near East countries and India), shipping company NYK, NAC's major shareholder has decided to put the YOKOSO, Japan! aboard a freighter on its ocean voyage to Japan. This will allow the airship's owners to bypass multiple fly-over approvals and save valuable time. It's expected the sea route will allow NAC to have the airship operational long before March of next year, in time for the 2005 Aichi World's Fair in Japan.

While questions for the airship's ocean transport are currently being addressed, no details were available at this time.

Note: The above article was based on recent German language news sources from Friedrichshafen.

13 August 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist!

Eckener/Zeppelin Anniversaries

August 14, 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Eckener's death. Friedrichshafen's Lord Mayor, local industry officials and Eckener family members were expected to gather on that day at the airship pioneer's grave at the city's municipal cemetery for a commemorative service to which the citizenry is invited as well.  Also planned for the day was a performance of the one-man play "Case Eckener", paying tribute to the man who was ahead of his time.  The piece was written by local "Zeppelin" musicals producer Martin Weber.

Then, a day later, August 15 marks the 75th anniversary when - under Dr. Eckener's command and expert guidance - airship LZ 127,"Graf Zeppelin" commenced its 1929 around-the-world flight from Friedrichshafen that resulted in the "lucky airship" completing its first stage non-stop flight to Japan in 101 hours, covering 7,030 miles in between.  A truly remarkable achievement for those days, particularly when viewed in light of the current undertaking ferrying NAC's recently purchased NT airship YOKOSO, JAPAN! to its new home in the 'Land of the Rising Sun' (see August 08 article).

8 August 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist

Japan-bound Zep NT waiting for Russian approval
Former Zep NT BODENSEE, now Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC) airship YOKOSO JAPAN is presently still waiting in Helsinki, Finland for Russia's approval to allow it with crew, support personnel and equipment to traverse her vast territories on the way to Japan.  However, Dr. Bernd Straeter, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik (ZLT) CEO remains highly optimistic that Russia's various ministries and authorities will come through with the necessary approvals, though it's not clear just when this will happen.  "Things will become critical if we don't have them (approvals) by the coming week", said he.  While presently engaged in advertising flights over Helsinki, the airship's new owners plan for a period of 36 days to accomplish the roughly 10,000 km (6,250 miles) still remaining before reaching Sapporo on Japan's northern islands group and enthusiastic crowds in Tokyo.

Based on NAC's request, ZLT provided a proven team to accompany the airship during its transfer to Japan.  In addition to chief pilot Fritz Guenther (though not piloting), it consists of another eight members who as ground crew are responsible for vehicles and needed for the airship's maintenance while in transit.  Belonging to the vehicles are a masted truck, an emergency mast, a shop van and tanker truck. 

The entire contingent (excluding security personnel) counting approximately 30 persons faces many tasks.  For instance it needs to make sure the airship's supply of Helium is assured while it is traveling over Siberia's endless regions, lest it'll experience a noticeable loss of buoyancy.  Heavy-lift helicopters will have to transport ground crew equipment, including their vehicles over thousands of kilometers.  In the end, available everywhere must be the appropriate fuel for the airship's engines.  And all of this under the watchful eyes of (Russia's) security forces.
Note: The above article was based on a regional German language news source dated 8/04/2004.

6 August 2004

The Zeppelin NT Transcontinental Flight from Germany to Japan!

"We will visit ten countries after take-off at Friedrichshafen in Germany, such as Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, before entering Russia. Total flight distance in Europe will be more than 5,000 km and the Russian route will be another 10,000 km. This distance is shorter than Graph Zeppelin around the world flight in 1929. But we would like to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their great record by our new Zeppelin airship."

15 June 2004
Thanks to Arnold Nayler

75th Anniversary of Zeppelin Flight Around the World

On 21st June at 1130 The brand new Zeppelin NT airship ‘Youkoso Japan’ will fly through London, following the river Thames, before overflying the Greenwich meridian as it starts its 15,000 km flight to Japan. The route will take it through ten European countries, on a goodwill tour, before it starts the massive 10,000 km transit through Russia. The photo call at Queen’s House in Greenwich will provide a unique opportunity to record the start of this historic flight.

The Nippon Airship Company purchased the Zeppelin airship in March of this year. Because of the airship’s semi-rigid design it was impractical to assemble it in Japan, hence this lengthy transit. Making a virtue of necessity it was decided to tour Europe on the way and give as many people as possible the chance to see this modern leviathan. Although similar in shape to the airships of the 1920s the Zeppelin NT is a state of the art aircraft that blends modern technology with the simplicity of lighter than air flight.

3 June 2004

The Hindenburg Hydrogen Fire: Fatal Flaws in the Addison Bain Incendiary-Paint Theory
Professor Alexander J. Dessler
(3 June 2004: 480kb pdf file, 21 pages)

26 April 2004
Thanks to Johannes Eissing

Zeppelin images in 3D! Get out your red and blue eyeglasses:


14 April 2004
Thanks to RZita@aol.com

This is the Press Release being put out by the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society regarding the May 8, 2004 Dedication in Hangar #1. 

Note that the official name of the place is the NAVY LAKEHURST INFORMATION CENTER..




Disgintuished honorees on this occasion will include:

Mr. John Iannaccone, 93, of Lakewood, NJ who served aboard the rigid airship USS LOS ANGELES (ZR-3) as well as being a member of the HINDENBURG ground crew 1936-1937 and later rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer with Navy blimp Squadrons during World War II. 

Mr. John Lust, 93, of Butler, NJ who trained aboard the USS LOS ANGELES and was a member of the commissioning crew of the USS AKRON (ZRS-4.)

Mr. Clarence "C.C." Moore, 84, of Whiting, NJ, who graduated in the Navy's last Rigid Airship Training Class in 1940 and rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, serving on every type of blimp operated by the Navy thru World War II and into the early 1960's.

Visiting from Germany will be Mr. Werner Franz, 80, one of the last living crew members from the German Zeppelin HINDENBURG, who, as a 14-year-old cabin boy, had a miraculous escape  as the doomed airship collapsed burning onto the Lakehurst field, May 6, 1937. A bursting overhead water tank doused young Werner as the HINDENBURG crashed to the ground and enabled him to escape with barely a scratch.

Opening Ceremonies for the Information Center will commence at 2pm May 8.  It will feature exhibits and artifacts showcasing the past, present and future of the Naval Air Engineering Station, covering over 80 years from the base's start as an Army Proving Grounds, through the Navy Lighter Than Air (LTA) era and on to its multiple missions today in the manufacturing, testing, training and development of all hardware and associated projects for all aspects of Naval Aviation.

The Navy Lakehurst Historical Society's 3rd Annual "Navy Lakehurst-A Heritage of Excellence " Dinner will be held 6-10pm at the Circle Landmark Inn, Route 70, Lakehurst.  Tickets are $35 each.  For information, call NLHS President Carl Jablonski at (732) 244-8861 or Trustee Rick Zitarosa at (732) 899-4693.

3 March 2004
Thanks to Sig Geist!

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH & Co KG has sold a Zeppelin NT to the Japanese airship operator Nippon Airship Corporation (NAC).  The contract was signed today (3/02/04) at Friedrichshafen by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik's Dr. Bernd Straeter and Guenter Schwenck, as well as NAC's president Hiroyuki Wantanabe.  A sale price was not named.  Following Zeppelin NT's first flight six years ago, this was the first sale of a Zeppelin NT.  The new owner is going to put the airship principally into sightseeing and advertising flight service.  What the Japanese investors for the short term are also keeping their eyes on is the 2005 World's Fair in Aichi, Japan.  By the middle of this year, the Zeppelin NT is supposed to commence its 12,000 km (7,500 mile) journey to Japan - in the air, naturally. 

The "Bodensee" is the Zeppelin NT sold.  She will make the journey to Japan via LZ127's historic route probably by June this year.  Until that time, the media reported, the "Bodensee", one of two commercially operating Zeppelin NTs  will remain in service by its owner/operator Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei (DZR).  Its 2004 tourist flying season is scheduled to start in a few days, the first weekend in March. 

3 February 2004
Thanks to Eric Brothers.

The FBI has released 337 of 363 pages of memos and reports (in four parts of PDFs) concerning the LZ 129 accident. There are lots of sinister-looking partially blacked-out documents for conspiracy theorists to ponder! Part 3 of the PDFs does contain an Air Commerce Bulletin from Aug 15, 1937 which includes a fairly detailed report of the accident, and suggests possible causes.

26 January 2004
Reported by Sig Geist, Mendenhall, PA 19357

Zep-Oldtimer Bentele no longer among us

Eugen Bentele, former "Obermachinist" on LZ 127, LZ 129, LZ 130 Zeppelin airships and survivor of the "Hindenburg" disaster, passed away on Friday, December 12, 2003 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. He was 94 years old. Having crewed on a total of 129 trips, he traveled some 415,000 miles and crossed the Atlantic 69 times. In his private life as well, he showed a preference for the "higher regions". He was an active member of the "Alpenverein" [an alpine-oriented trail club, Sig] and spent a lot of time in the mountains. Right after retirement at age 65, he scaled a 16,400 foot high peak while on a trekking tour in the Himalayas.

Bentele was born October 18, 1909 in Friedrichshafen. Following a four-year apprenticeship as a machinist and engine mechanic at Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH, he was then sometimes involved in the assembly of "VL2" Zeppelin engines. The experience that he acquired there prompted August Groezinger, LZ 127 flight engineer [father of Fredy Groezinger, Sig] to ask young Bentele to join him at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. There, he spent his first year in a branch that conducted powerplant and windtunnel tests. However, Bentele's lucky day arrived May 12, 1931 when he took his first trip aboard LZ 127, "Graf Zeppelin". Many trips followed aboard LZ 127 and LZ 129 - up to the day during which the proud airship LZ 129 "Hindenburg" for reasons unexplained to this day, burned upon its landing approach at Lakehurst on May 06, 1937. Eugen Bentele was, at the time of the disaster in "his" engine car, forward portside, and survived the inferno with some injuries which, after being hospitalized for three weeks, allowed him to return to Germany. His last trip with a Zeppelin airship was on September 22, 1938 when he was aboard the airship LZ 130 on a 760 mile roundtrip from Friedrichshafen to Vienna. Herr Bentele remained faithful to the Zeppelin enterprise for 50 years right up to his retirement in 1973 [he was 14 years when he was apprenticed to LZ-affiliated Maybach, Sig].

Following his retirement, Bentele could then really devote his attention to mountaineering. And when with growing age, the Oldtimer switched to less strenuous tours and got sick one time - a rare occurrence for him - he wrote his brochure "The Story of a Zeppelin Mechanic", which appeared a year after the initial German version in 1991. His book became a best-seller and based on the number of copies sold surpassed all other scientific Zeppelin publications. In addition, when it came to matters of "Zeppelin", Eugen Bentele was an outstanding representative for his hometown and its office of tourism. Bentele was also a founding member of the Freundeskreis ("FK") zur Foerderung des Zeppelin Museums [Friends for the Zeppelin Museum, for short, Sig].

Funeral services were to be held on December 17, 2003 at the city's municipal cemetery.

Note: The writer wishes to thank Herr Manfred Sauter, head of the "FK" for providing me with the German language version of the above obituary which appeared in the Friedrichshafen media .

Also, the writer speaking on behalf of some 80 American and overseas airship fans wishes to express his deepest sympathy and profound regrets to the Bentele family on the loss of this remarkable man. We had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Zeppelin veteran Bentele during two Zeppelin tour visits (1996 & 2000) to Friedrichshafen. He was special and will be missed by us and in many circles.

21 January 2004

The following has been pieced together from several emails.

Nippon Hikousen Kaishya (Nippon Airship Corporation) has contacted the Zeppelin Company regarding the possibility of importing a Zeppelin NT into Japan. Professor Haruki Amanuma, a college professor, author and LTA proponent, is the NHK representative. Bernd Strater, the CEO of Zeppelin, has been quoted as saying discussions have been and are still taking place, but no contract has been signed.

The NHK website has a proposed transport route featured on their website: Trans Eurasia Ferry Flight Project.

Mr. Hiroyuki Watanabe, NHK President
e-mail: info@nac-airship.com
fax: (011) - (81) - (52) -968-7556
tel: (011) -(81) - (52) - 968-7555

2 October 2003

Zeppelin Calendar (NT)

Highest quality!

luftbild bodensee
Stanko Petek
Karl-Bücheler-Strasse 10
D-78315 Radolfzell


5 August 2003
Thanks to M.Haefner!

Here's an excellent Zeppelin website where you'll see a lot of Zeppelin NT photos:

11 March 2003
With thanks to Siegfried H. Geist <sgeist@erols.com>

Eduard Boetius, Lakehurst survivor and HINDENBURG crewmember dead at age 92.

The news of his death reached the author via an article in the German language Zeppelin Briefe, the semi-annual newsletter of the Freundeskreis (Friends for the Zeppelin Museum), December 2002.  Officer Boetius, who manned HINDENBURG's elevator wheel during the Lakehurst disaster, died on November 07, 2002 at Schuelp, District Rendsburg, Germany at age 92.  Regrettably, contact with Boetius had ceased to exist many years ago as repeated invitations to join the yearly July gathering of Zeppelin-crew members and Oldtimers at Friedrichshafen brought no response for whatever reasons.  It was only through private channels that the Freundeskreis and one of Friedrichshafen's newspapers learned of his passing.  Boetius' silence and distance were at times questioned.  Unfortunately, it seems no one came close enough to find out why, except perhaps his writer son who dedicated one of his novels*  "To my father, the man who during the catastrophe stood at HINDENBURG's elevator controls".  The man who told his son first hand about the history and background of one of the most spectacular accidents of the 20th century.

Following Lakehurst, Boetius continued with the Reederei aboard LZ 130.  Not long afterwards he found himself drafted into the navy, made captain of a whaler that was used as a U-boat supply ship in frigid Norwegian waters.  It was while retreating from pursuers that his ship was struck by a Russian torpedo and sank within minutes.  Being captain, he was last man off the ship.  With crew and life boats having left, he jumped into the icy sea and narrowly escaped death in the nick of time.  This was the second time Boetius had narrowly cheated death.  Interviewed in May 2000, he was asked whether it was sheer luck or did he have a guardian angel that saved him from the icy waters, he replied in a kind of oblique way by saying:  "In a certain sense, yes".  But to get a better understanding of the man's sense and character, one needs to listen to his replies to questions posed during the above interview.  Does he think it was pure chance that he escaped certain death a second time?  In reply he said: "I think about that to this day. What is chance, what is fate?  I can't find an answer and perhaps that's just as well". The other question asked was: Has death lost its terror for you after all this?  Boetius answered in this fashion:  "When the time comes, I'm ready. It's been a long, but never dull life.  When I look back, I was always a man that had to do with the end of an era.  I experienced the ending of the great sail ships**, then the demise of (Zeppelin) airships, the end of whaling and then after the war the end of traditional parcel service giving way to containerized shipping".  After that, having heard the interviewer say that he, Boetius always looked to come in on the loosing end and that he also sounded resigned, Boetius turned around and asked him wisely: "Do you know any 90-year old who isn't resigned?" And he added: "As far as my professional life is concerned, it shows me how rather short-lived so-called progress is".

* Phoenix aus Asche, a novel by Henning Boetius. Copyright 2000 by Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, Munich, Germany, Verlagsgruppe Bertelsmann GmbH, ISBN 3-442-75046-6, http://www.btb-verlag.de/

** Having been a sailor in the German Merchant Marine during his early years, Boetius sailed no fewer than six times around Cape Horn aboard the grand sail ship "Peking".

Note: In preparing this article, I relied on various German language sources such as FK's semi-annual newsletter Zeppelin Briefe, December 2002, Henning Boetius' quote (dedication to his father) from his novel Phoenix aus Asche, on portions of an interview Der Spiegel magazine, # 21/2000 conducted with 90 year-old Eduard Boetius and on my own resources.

Addenda: At least two names come to mind who crewed on the HINDENBURG and are still among us today: Machinist mate Eugen Bentele (LZ 127 & LZ 129) and Werner Franz, cabin boy aboard LZ 129.

12 February 2003
Thanks again to Christian Michel <cmichel@ballonspass.de>

Videos of the Zeppelin NT in Malmsheim - September 2002

9 February 2003
Many thanks to Christian Michel <cmichel@ballonspass.de>
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH !!!

Zeppelin NT, No. 3's maiden flight!
See the fabulous photos at
First flight of the Zeppelin NT #3 D-LZZF
Zeppelin NT Webcam Archive January/Feburary 2003

Zeppelin NT3
Image via DZR Webcam

2 February 2003

Our condolences to the families, friends and associates of the Columbia astronauts who lost their lives in the service of their country and humanity. Through their joy, comaraderie, determination and skill, they helped raise our eyes to the wonders of space and the beauty of our world.

10 January 2003
With kindest thanks to Siegfried H. Geist <sgeist@erols.com>

Dateline Friedrichshafen, Saturday Dec. 28, 2002

Groezinger dead - Cook aboard Zeppelins LZ 127 and LZ129 - Lakehurst survivor

Alfred Groezinger, one of the last Old-Zeppeliners died on Christmas Eve in his home at Friedrichshafen/Oberteuringen, just four weeks short of his 86th birthday.

Hardly 14 years-old, he became apprenticed as cook at the Zeppelin Company-owned Kurgarten-Hotel, well known for its fine cuisine and responsible to please and satisfy the appetites of GRAF ZEPPELIN's (LZ 127) select passengers. It wasn't long before young Groezinger (also known as 'Fredy' to his friends) found himself "on loan" to LZ 127's on board chef for five trips on the airship's run to South America. By 1934 Groezinger had become a regular member of GRAF ZEPPELIN's kitchen staff on the airship's mainly South American service.

Following Dr. Eckener's advice "to look around in the brazilian kitchen", the young cook during the 1934/35 winter hiatus gladly took a job at a premier hotel's kitchen(of the Syndicat Condor) in Rio de Janeiro. While there he lived with the family of his uncle Karl Roesch, who at the time was Luftschiffbau's local representative in charge of supervising the extension of the airship port Santa Cruz de Sepetiba, near Rio. Notwithstanding the attractions of Copa Cabana, it was reported that Fredy, tall blond and blue-eyed was well looked after by the Roesch family.

Then, with the resumption of round trips to South America in 1935, Groezinger returned to his job as cook aboard GRAF ZEPPELIN until he switched over to the new airship, the HINDENBURG at the start of operations on March 04, 1936.

With a total of 63 glorious trips, mainly in service to South and North America, this most modern and largest airship until that time had completed 340,000 accident-free kilometers (215,000 miles), when on May 06, 1937, the darkest day for Zeppelin airship travel, the HINDENBURG suddenly turned into a flaming inferno upon landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. From a total of 96 persons aboard, 36 were killed, among them 22 crew and one member from the US Navy ground crew. Alfred (Fredy) Groezinger was among the survivors. Having completed a total of 142 trips aboard LZ 127 and LZ 129, predominantly in transatlantic service between 1932 and 1937, the young cook's probably most interesting phase of his life had ended.

Looking at it from today's perspective, it's almost unbelievable what this young man at age 20 had already experienced.  In the ensuing years (1937-1939), Herr Groezinger crewed as ship's cook aboard the yacht of a Frankfurt cosmetics manufacturer and after surviving WW II, war-related imprisonment and tough years in post-war Germany, he operated his own gastronomy businesses. It allowed him later to enjoy a comfortable retirement with his wife at his beautiful home in suburban Friedrichshafen.

Being a HINDENBURG survivor and having crewed aboard the great airships made him well known and sought after by the public as well as the media far beyond the borders of Friedrichshafen and Lake Constance. As zeppelin-oldtimer he was also a founding member of the "Freundeskreis zur Foerderung des Zeppelin-Museums e.V." (for short 'Friends for the Zeppelin-Museum") where he distinguished himself greatly. Throughout the years, there was hardly a time when Alfred Groezinger was not present with his fellow zeppelin crew members to relate to their glorious past at LTA-sponsored and other related events in and around Friedrichshafen.  Some 80 enthusiastic zeppelin airship fans from the US, New Zealand and Australia met Herr Groezinger and several other zeppelin veterans up close when they were the Lighter-Than-Air Society's dinner guests at Friedrichshafen and Society tour members experienced several days of true zeppelin fever during 1996 and 2000.

While Fredy Groezinger was perhaps a bit sparing in public, talking about his life as a zeppeliner and Lakehurst survivor (which was not what this writer experienced as he sat down with him several years ago), he would rather recount life onboard, what was going on in the airship's galley (work, work, work and then some more!) and how he came to be employed by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (LZ) in the first place. Germany then was still going through lean years and suffered from unemployment, the consequences of a lingering depression. Admittedly, Dr. Hugo Eckener had 'something' to do with getting young Fredy employed as Fredy's father August Groezinger, a successful and long-time zeppeliner himself (since 1908) found the "Old Man" had taken a sincere interest in young Groezinger's life.

Now Alfred Groezinger dwells no longer among us. He's departed on his last trip. Next to his family, his many zeppelin friends from near and far miss him and mourn his passing. Following a memorial service on December 30, 2002 at the local Catholic church where family members, friends and acquaintances, the city and various organizations paid their last respects to the deceased, interment took place at Oberteuringen's cemetary. Among the mourners present were zeppelin veterans Josef Sonntag (91, LZ 127 machinist) and design engineer Walter Mueller (94), city of Friedrichshafen mayor Peter Hauswald, Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (LZ) GmbH's Hans Peter Kaldenbach, Zeppelin-Museum's Dr. Wolfgang Meighoerner and 'Freundeskreis' (FK's) board members Manfred Bauer, Prof. Siegfried Krauss and FK's president Manfred Sauter. In memory of the the deceased, a large wreath was placed at the coffin in the name of LZ and DZR (Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei). 

7 January 2003

Want to ride in a Zeppelin? Me too! The next season begins 1 March 2003. Book flights via Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei: http://www.zeppelinflug.de/pages/D/buchung.htm. Auf deutsch. € 335,00 - € 370,00 per person. Tell them I sent you. They'll look at you strangely :)
Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH
Allmansweilerstrasse 132
D-88046 Friedrichshafen
Telefon: +49 (0) 75 41 / 59 00 - 0
Telefax: +49 (0) 75 41 / 59 00 - 499

E-mail: info@zeppelinflug.de

5 April 2002

Want to ride in a Zeppelin? Me too! The next season begins in April. Book flights via Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei: http://www.zeppelinflug.de/pages/D/buchung.htm. Auf deutsch. € 335,00 - € 370,00 per person. Tell them I sent you. They'll look at you strangely :)
Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH
Allmansweilerstrasse 132
D-88046 Friedrichshafen
Telefon: +49 (0) 75 41 / 59 00 - 0
Telefax: +49 (0) 75 41 / 59 00 - 499
E-mail: info@zeppelinflug.de

14 August 2001

As of tomorrow (15 August 2001) a new era begins. The "Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei" will offer passenger flights with the Zeppelin NT. They received their approval as a passenger ride business today and will start flying tomorrow. They have booked 3500 passengers for this year's season (going to mid October) and have 500 bookings for next year. Flights take off from Friedrichshafen and will last about an hour taking one of two routes over Lake Constance. News via Christian Michel.

24 October 2000

via Dr. Jeannine Meighoerner
Head of PR, Press Department
Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH

1.) The Zeppelin NT prototype has been in the air for about 750 hours during 200 flights in total. During its grand tour around Germany the Zeppelin NT covered a distance of 3.600 km in two weeks successfully finishing a wide test flight programme (see press texts)

2.) The first serial airship is close to being completed. The structure has been put in the envelope and the roll-out is scheduled for early spring 2001.

3.) We are in the process of consolidating our own oparational company which will run under the historical name "Deutsch Zeppelin-Reederei". At least our heritage can be integrated in our future.

02 July 2000

2nd of July 1900 | Friedrichshafen | Airborne:

07 June 2000

Flughafen Friedrichshafen LiveCam link: Zeppelin NT07 webcam

10 May 2000

The ZeppelinMuseum Friedrichhafen is available in English!

07 January 2000

Join the Lighter-Than-Air Society on its ZEPPELIN (CENTENNIAL) TOUR 2000 June 22 - July 5, 2000 -- 14 days & 13 nights.

06 November 1998

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN NEWS (FN) with kind thanks to Siegfried H. (Sig) Geist

Zeppelin-Museum Friedrichshafen

There are three things to report about the Zeppelin-Museum in Friedrichshafen:

First, the museum under the very able and dynamic leadership of its director, Dr. Wolfgang Meighoerner, came in for high honors early this summer when it received a "Special Commendation" from the European Museum Forum at this year's European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA). Out of some 60 museums that applied, only about half were nominated from which then a high-ranking international jury picked the winners. Next to its innovative way of operations and management's entrepreneurial character, the museum was recognizeded for its successful blending of technology and art. Beyond that, being visitor-oriented and of service received special emphasis.

The second event for the museum this summer took place in the form of an exhibition on LTA history, focusing on the special relationship between France and Germany. The exhibit was entitled: Scenes of a love-hate relationship - Zeppelin and France. Most of the exhibits, spanning a period of two centuries have never been on display before and stem from different collections of both countries. An english language synopsis and information sheet were available from the Museum. Persons seriously interested in obtaining copies are requested to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to this writer.

Last but not least, mention should be made about the publication (in German only) of Zeppelin Museum's first scientific yearbook 1998. One of Friedrichshafen's newspapers in its review commented that "Zeppelin experts and all those striving to become one, are well served by this publication as it competently brings to light pieces of zeppelin historical research that heretofore have been paid little attention to". The yearbook's contents are divided into four separate topics that delve into the restoration of a 'LZ 2' gas safety valve, Hauptmann Ferdinand von Zeppelin's 1870 reconnaissance ride in the Alsace, a psychological portrait of Count Zeppelin and the journalistic commercialization of a technological (zeppelin) development.

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH:

LZ N07's flight test program is progressing steadily while scoring some nice points along the way. The ship by early August this summer undertook its first sizeable excursion away from home by flying to Stuttgart-Echterdingen for an over-the-weekend appearance and flight capability demo for thousands of delighted spectators who had come to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Echterdingen incident with 'LZ 4'. Except for LZ N07's somewhat delayed arrival at Echterdingen, this time everything went well. One regional report judged the event by stating "the old Count would have been quite pleased with the results".

And here is news to boot: During late September LZ N07, while continuing its test program accomplished a 9 hour-long, non-stop endurance flight as it was operating for a while in the greater Stuttgart area.

In Memoriam: (translated and compiled by the writer, based on "SZ" press obit, 8/98)

Old-Zeppeliner Josef Braun is dead.

Deadline Friedrichshafen - Josef Braun logged nearly 2 million km (1.25 million miles) in airships and as senior machinist, participated in nearly all of LZ 127 "Graf Zeppelin's" trips. He passed away on August 1, at the age of 93 at the Regional Hospital in Sigmaringen, Germany.

Born in 1904, Braun at age 24 already belonged to LZ 127's permanent crew as machinist and later on as senior machinist. Prior to that he served an apprenticeship as engine mechanic at Maybach Motorenbau. His job aboard was to look after things in drafty motor gondolas, and now and then undertake engine repairs while in flight.

Altogether Braun accumulated a total of 528 trips aboard "LZ 127" and "LZ 130" ("Graf Zeppelin II"), the majority aboard "LZ 127" where he travelled no fewer than sixty times to South America and managed to cross the Atlantic 176 times. But for all the trips he took, the Around-The-World Flight during August of '29 was the most outstanding. Recounting New York City's ticker tape parade, Tokyo's triumphant reception and the return to Friedrichshafen on September 4, 1929, he would get all enthused*. With his passing, the last person from that epoch-making flight in '29, has now died.

Even after the end of zeppelin airship travel, Braun remained faithfully in the fold of the Zeppelin Company, where he worked until his retirement in 1970 as tool and fixture designer for Zeppelin Metallwerke. His cremated remains are buried in Eriskirch**, a suburb of Friedrichshafen. He'll be missed, especially by those who knew him.

* Participants of LTA Society's 'Zeppelin Museum Tour'96', including this writer can attest to that enthusiasm having experienced Herr Braun "live", when he was sharing his rich airship career and zeppelin fervor with us over dinner at Fr/hafen.

** Where this writer had interviewed Josef Braun during 1995.

18 June 1998

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH is now accepting applications from qualified and experienced airship pilots and ground crew chiefs. Interested parties will please limit preliminary eMail responses to the following:

  • Name.
  • Address.
  • UNSUPERVISED experience as airship pilot (hours) .
  • UNSUPERVISED experience as Ground Crew Chief (months).
  • Types of airships operated.
  • Previous airship employers.

Send e-mail:


Snail Mail:

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH
Allmannsweilerstr. 132
88046 Friedrichshafen
Attn: Herrn Wolfgang von Zeppelin

02 Feb 1998

News from Zeppelin

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik has moved from the center of the city to the airfield of Friedrichshafen where the new Zeppelin hangar has been built. Please note the new address:

Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH
Allmannweilerstrasse 132
D-88046 Friedrichshafen
tel: +49-7541 202-05
fax: +49-7541 202-516

After four flights through November 1997, the Zeppelin is in its new hangar to complete the avionic installation. We hope to see the N07 airborne again next week. In the meantime, the design engineers are preparing for serial production and the development engineers are writing reports for type certification.

Work is also underway on updating the Zeppelin-NT website. Major changes are being made for better display on smaller screens. Some more graphics and a study about the role of the Zeppelin as a platform for atmospheric research will be added.

18 September 1997

The Zeppelin NT took off for its first flight this evening at 18:45. The flight was successful. See www.zeppelin-nt.com for details.

24 April 1997

Zeppelin Company Press Release:

Zeppelin NT built

  • presentation at the AERO
  • maiden flight planned this summer
  • five airships sold
  • series production begins early 1998
  • preliminary work in full steam for a gigantic assembly hangar

Friedrichshafen.- Zeppelin New Technology (NT) celebrates a momentous inauguration. The prototype of the 75m long, high-tech airship with a volume of 8 200 cubic meters will be presented in its final form to the public at the AERO aviation fair in Friedrichshafen. The luxury sightseeing cabin can comfortably accommodate 12 passengers and 2 pilots.

Also planned in summer 1997 is a short flight to Friedrichshafen airport where the airship will be stationed. In the meanwhile, the airship must be provisionally certified for airworthiness by the Federal Aviation Office. Thereafter, the prototype, which will continue to be owned by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH, will be subjected to a series of comprehensive test flights. In the course of the year 1998, the airship will be primarily used for tourism and advertising. Serial production of further Zeppelin NT airships will start in the beginning of 1998.

Preparations to build the necessary assembly hangars on the premises of the Friedrichshafen Airport are already in full swing and are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Measuring 110 meters long, 69 meters wide and 32 meters tall, the hangar will be the largest production hall in southern Germany. It can accommodate an entire football field and will serve to carry out assembly and maintenance work on three LZ N 07 airships.

Already, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH has signed preliminary contracts with four customers to deliver five Zeppelin LZ N 07 airships. Final and binding contracts are expected to follow soon.

Zeppelin NT serial airship 1 will be acquired by the Swiss company "Skyship Cruise Ltd.". This public limited company which has been founded for the explicit purpose of offering airship cruises, plans to use the Zeppelin in Switzerland mainly for exclusive tourist cruises and for advertising and promotional purposes. The airship is expected to be delivered by end 1998.

Zeppelin NT serial airship 2 will remain in Germany, stationed at the Bonn-Hangelar airport. The purchaser, "RLBG Rheinische Luftschiffbetreibergesellschaft GmbH" will use the Zeppelin mainly for scientific and technical purposes; the airship can be fitted on the outside with special systems to accommodate measuring instruments. The airship is expected to be delivered by early 1999.

Zeppelin NT serial airship 3 will be delivered to the company founded by the Westfalian industrialist Kurt Ernsting, "Ernsting's Zeppelin GmbH & Co. KG". The airship will be stationed at the Münster/Osnabrück airport. The company has stated that the airship will be used for advertising as well as for passenger services to the Hannover trade fair or to the North Sea islands. The airship is expected to be delivered by Spring 1999.

Zeppelin NT serial airship 4 and 5 will be operated from Bavaria. The buyer is the Munich-based "TransATLANTISche Luftschiffahrtgesellschaft GmbH". The company plans to use the airships for tourist cruises and for advertising and 'happenings'. The airships will be delivered in Spring and late 1999 respectively.

Production capacity is thus fully occupied by these five LZ N 07 airships till the year 2000. Even though this means that delivery times are necessarily long, there is still a sustained demand for more Zeppelin NT airships from Europe and overseas. This is underlined by the fact that Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH is currently in advanced negotiation phases in various South American countries to supply Zeppelin airships for environment observation.

The following companies support Zeppelin NT as sponsors and advertising partners

ZF Friedrichshafen AG Even today, as 80 years ago, ZF Friedrichshafen AG is committed to aviation. ZF, world-wide leaders for drive technology and largest European manufacturer of drive, steering and undercarriage components, has specially developed a new gear for the Zeppelin NT propeller drive.

ZF has a 16 percent holding in Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH; Leförder Metallwaren AG, a subsidiary of ZF, has a further 16% of the capital. ZF, founded in 1915 employs world-wide over 33,000 persons and had a turnover last year of 7.8 billion DM.

The company has five product-oriented business areas: drives for utility and special purpose vehicles in Friedrichshafen, automobile drives in Saarbrücken, machinery drives and axle systems in Passau, steering and control technology in Schwäbisch Gmünd and undercarriage technology in Lemförde; the regional headquarters for North and South America are located in Detroit and Saõ Paulo. Other areas of activity are naval technology, engineering, railway technology and aviation drive technology.

Stuttgarter Hofbräu AG is one of the leading regional breweries of Germany with an annual output of around 1 million hectolitres of beer; it is the prime brand in Baden-Württemberg. The company can look back on long years of experience in airship advertising and plans to use the Zeppelin NT airships as an effective publicity vehicle.

CSC /MICROCADAM is an internationally renowned software company which develops and markets the CAD/CAM software Helix Design System. CSC Inc., the parent company of the internationally active enterprise was founded in 1984 in Tokyo as a joint-venture between IBM and Kawasaki and has branches in Asia, America and Europe. CSC/MICROCADAM employs around 300 persons and turned over 155 million US Dollars in 1996. CSC/MICROCADAM products are distributed by a world-wide network of professional business houses. A number of partner companies all over the world develop additional modules.

CAD/CAM users in German speaking countries and in neighbouring eastern European countries are supported by TCM TRANSCAT MICROCADAM GmbH which is based in Friedrichshafen.

CSC MICROCADAM products were used by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH from the very beginning in the development of Zeppelin NT.

LINDE AG 'Technical gases' is one of the four areas of activity of the internationally active Linde group of companies. Among other products the company produces and markets atmospheric gases such as oxygen and nitrogen and inert gases such as helium.

Linde has undertaken to fill the Zeppelin NT's envelope with non-combustible helium and to carry out the necessary gas rinsing operations.

ILC Dover


12 March 1997


Washington, DC - Addison Bain from NASA announced today that hydrogen may not have been the primary factor of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. In a keynote address before attendees of the National Hydrogen Association's 8th Annual US Hydrogen Meeting, Mr. Bain made the compelling argument that the cellulose acetate butyrate basic coatings used to waterproof and tauten the cotton fabric, along with other ingredients such as nitrates and aluminum which comprised the envelope of the airship was so flammable, "atmospheric electricity under adequate conditions could ignite it."

Mr. Bain's research will be the subject of an upcoming article in Air & Space Smithsonian magazine, "Exonerating HYdrogen" by Richard G. Van Treuren.

Contact: Bob Gibson
National Hydrogen Association
1800 M Street, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036

[ Top of page. ]
This site was created, written, and is maintained by John Dziadecki 1995-2012. The information contained in this page is intended for educational purposes only. Images and quotes not the author's remain in the copyright of the originator. Additions and corrections are welcomed! Please send comments, suggestions and possible links to: John.Dziadecki@colorado.edu.

For more lighter-than-air information, please visit the AIRSHIP website. Thank you.