LTA Germany
Parseval | Schutte-Lanz | Schwartz | Zeppelin

When most people think of airships they think of Zeppelins. Historically, German airships have dominated lighter-than-air history. The Zeppelins captured the world's imagination with their giant airships from 1900 to 1940.

Zeppelin was not the only actor on the stage however. Preceding Count Zeppelin there was the example of David Schwartz whose work is mostly forgotten today. And within a few years there was competition from Johann Schutte and Major von Parseval. Some of the design features of the Schutte craft were incorporated into the Zeppelins during World War I when all German patents were usurped by the government to further the cause of the war. The Parsevals and Shuttes were eclipsed by the rapid progress of the Zeppelins which flew higher, faster and further than any other airships of the time.

After WWI, the giant Zeppelins became known for passenger service. The Graf Zeppelin LZ127 was the marvel of the age and circumnavigated the globe in 1929. It inaugurated transatlantic passenger service and was subsequently joined by the Hindenburg LZ129. From Germany they made regularly scheduled flights to both Brazil and the United States. Even as the Hindenburg died in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey and new Graf Zeppelin II LZ130 was finishing construction. It was used chiefly for flights within Germany. The LZ127 and LZ130 were dismantled in 1940.

After the war various German companies built blimps for advertising purposes. In 1998, Cargolifter designed and eventually built a proof-of-concept ship to move heavy loads over long distances. Regrettably, the company became insolvement in 2003.

In 1997, the new Zeppelin NT began flying and was subsequently certified for passenger service. Today it is possible to book tourist flights in Germany aboard Zeppelin NTs. The Zeppelin Company continues to build these ships which have attracted international attention and acclaim.

Germany has entered the 21st century with new visions for airships.

Last update: 3 March 2004