LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin

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This article is about the famous airship (the first Graf Zeppelin). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_0

For other uses, see Graf Zeppelin (disambiguation). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_1

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_table_infobox_0

Graf ZeppelinLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_0_0
RoleLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_1_0 Commercial passenger airshipLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_1_1
National originLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_2_0 GermanyLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_2_1
ManufacturerLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_3_0 Luftschiffbau ZeppelinLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_3_1
DesignerLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_4_0 Ludwig DürrLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_4_1
First flightLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_5_0 18 September 1928LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_5_1
IntroductionLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_6_0 11 October 1928LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_6_1
RetiredLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_7_0 18 June 1937LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_7_1
StatusLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_8_0 Scrapped March 1940LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_8_1
CareerLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_9_0
Construction numberLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_10_0 LZ 127LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_10_1
RegistrationLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_11_0 D-LZ 127LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_11_1
Radio codeLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_12_0 DENNELZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_12_1
Owners and operatorsLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_13_0 Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft; from 1935, Deutsche Zeppelin ReedereiLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_13_1
FlightsLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_14_0 590LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_14_1
Total hoursLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_15_0 17,177LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_15_1
Total distanceLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_16_0 1.7 million km (1.06 million miles)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_16_1
General characteristicsLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_header_cell_0_17_0
Displacement:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_18_0 105,000 m (3,700,000 cu ft)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_18_1
Length:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_19_0 236.6 m (776 ft)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_19_1
Beam:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_20_0 30.5 m (100 ft) (hull diameter)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_20_1
Draft:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_21_0 33.5 m (110 ft) (height)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_21_1
Installed power:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_22_0 550hp per engineLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_22_1
Propulsion:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_23_0 LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_23_1
Speed:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_24_0 LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_24_1
Range:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_25_0 10,000 km (6,200 mi) at 117 km/h (73 mph; 63 kn)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_25_1
Complement:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_26_0 36LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_cell_0_26_1

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin 127) was a German passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled rigid airship that flew from 1928 to 1937. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_2

It offered the first commercial transatlantic passenger flight service. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_3

Named after the German airship pioneer Ferdinand von Zeppelin, a count (Graf) in the German nobility, it was conceived and operated by Dr Hugo Eckener, the chairman of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_4

Graf Zeppelin made 590 flights totalling almost 1.7 million kilometres (over 1 million miles). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_5

It was operated by a crew of 36, and could carry 24 passengers. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_6

It was the longest and largest airship in the world when it was built. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_7

It made the first circumnavigation of the world by airship, and the first nonstop crossing of the Pacific Ocean by air; its range was enhanced by its use of Blau gas as a fuel. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_8

It was built using funds raised by public subscription and from the German government, and its operating costs were offset by the sale of special postage stamps to collectors, the support of the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and cargo and passenger receipts. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_9

After several long flights between 1928 and 1932, including one to the Arctic, Graf Zeppelin provided a commercial passenger and mail service between Germany and Brazil for five years. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_10

When the Nazi Party came to power, they used it as a propaganda tool. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_11

It was withdrawn from service after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, and scrapped for military aircraft production in 1940. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_12

Background LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_0

The first successful flight of a rigid airship, Ferdinand von Zeppelin's LZ1, was in Germany in 1900. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_13

Between 1910 and 1914, Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft (DELAG) transported thousands of passengers by airship. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_14

During World War I, Germany used airships to bomb London and other strategic targets. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_15

In 1917 the German LZ 104 (L 59) was the first airship to make an intercontinental flight, from Jamboli in Bulgaria to Khartoum and back, a nonstop journey of 6,800 kilometres (4,200 mi; 3,700 nmi). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_16

During and just after the war, Britain and the United States built airships, and France and Italy experimented with confiscated German ones. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_17

In July 1919 the British R34 flew from East Fortune in Scotland to New York and back. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_18

Luftschiffbau Zeppelin delivered LZ 126 to the US Navy as a war reparation in October 1924. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_19

The company chairman Dr Hugo Eckener commanded the delivery flight, and the ship was commissioned as the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_20

The Treaty of Versailles had placed limits on German aviation; in 1925, when the Allies relaxed the restrictions, Eckener saw the chance to start an intercontinental air passenger service, and began lobbying the government for funds and permission to build a new civil airship. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_21

Public subscription raised 2.5 million Reichsmarks (ℛℳ, the equivalent of US$600,000 at the time, or $9 million in 2018 dollars), and the government granted over ℛℳ 1 million ($4 million). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_22

Design and operation LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_1

The LZ 127 was designed by Ludwig Dürr as a "stretched" version of the USS Los Angeles. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_23

It was intended from the beginning as a technology demonstrator for the more capable airships that would follow. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_24

It was built between 1926 and September 1928 at the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin works in Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance, Germany, which became its home port for nearly all of its flights. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_25

Its duralumin frame was made of eighteen 28-sided structural polygons joined lengthwise with 16 km (10 mi) of girders and braced with steel wire. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_26

The envelope was of thick cotton, painted with aircraft dope containing aluminium to reduce solar heating, then sandpapered smooth. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_27

The gas cells were also cotton, lined with goldbeater's skins, and protected from damage by a layer containing 27 km (17 mi) of ramie fibre. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_28

Graf Zeppelin was 236.6 m (776 ft) long and had a total gas volume of 105,000 m (3,700,000 cu ft), of which 75,000 m (2,600,000 cu ft) was hydrogen carried in 17 lifting gas cells (Traggaszelle), and 30,000 m (1,100,000 cu ft) was Blau gas in 12 fuel gas cells (Kraftgaszelle). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_29

It was built to be the largest possible airship that could fit into the company's hangar, with only 46 cm (18 in) between the top of the finished vessel and the hangar roof. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_30

It was the longest and most voluminous airship when built, but it was too slender for optimum aerodynamic efficiency, and there were worries that the shape would compromise its strength. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_31

Graf Zeppelin was powered by five Maybach VL II 12-cylinder 410 kW (550 hp) engines, each of 33.251 L (2,029.1 cu in) capacity, mounted in individual streamlined nacelles arranged so that each was in an undisturbed airflow. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_32

The engines were reversible, and were monitored by crew members who accessed them during flight via open ladders. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_33

The two-bladed wooden pusher propellers were 3.4 m (11 ft) in diameter, and were later upgraded to four-bladed units. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_34

Graf Zeppelin often flew with one engine shut down to save fuel. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_35

Graf Zeppelin was the only rigid airship to burn Blau gas; the engines were started on petrol and could then switch fuel. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_36

A liquid-fuelled airship loses weight as it burns fuel, requiring the release of lifting gas, or the capture of water from exhaust gas or rainfall, to avoid the vessel climbing. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_37

Blau gas was only slightly heavier than air, so burning it had little effect on buoyancy. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_38

On a typical transatlantic journey Graf Zeppelin used Blau gas 90% of the time, only burning petrol if the ship was too heavy, and used ten times less hydrogen per day than the smaller L 59 did on its Khartoum journey. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_39

Graf Zeppelin typically carried 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) of ballast water and 650 kg (1,430 lb) of spares, including an extra propeller. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_40

Calcium chloride was added to the ballast water to prevent freezing. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_41

The ship retained grey water from the sinks for use as additional ballast. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_42

Both fresh and waste water could be moved forward and aft to control trim. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_43

The airship usually took off vertically using static lift (buoyancy), then started the engines in the air, adding aerodynamic lift. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_44

Normal cruising altitude was 200 m (650 ft); it climbed if necessary to cross high ground or poor weather, and often descended in stormy weather. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_45

To measure the wind speed over the sea, and calculate drift, floating pyrotechnic flares were dropped. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_46

When preparing to land the crew advised the ground, either by radio or signal flag. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_47

Ground crew lit a smoky fire, to help the airshipmen judge wind speed and direction. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_48

The airship slowed, then adjusted buoyancy to neutral by valving off hydrogen or dropping ballast. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_49

Echo sounding with the report from an 11-mm blank round was used to measure altitude accurately. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_50

The ship flew in with its nose trimmed slightly down, made its final approach into the wind descending at 30 m (100 ft) per minute, then used reverse thrust to stop over the landing flag, where it dropped ropes to the ground. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_51

Landing in rough weather required a faster approach. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_52

Up to 300 people manhandled the airship into a hangar or secured it by the nose to a mooring mast. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_53

Graf Zeppelin's top airspeed was 128 km/h (36 m/s; 80 mph; 69 kn) at 1,980 kW (2,650 hp); it cruised at 117 km/h (33 m/s; 73 mph; 63 kn), at 1,600 kW (2,150 hp). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_54

It had a total lift capacity of 87,000 kg (192,000 lb) with a usable payload of 15,000 kg (33,000 lb) on a 10,000 km (6,200 mi; 5,400 nmi) flight. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_55

It was slightly unstable in yaw, and to make it easier to fly, had an automatic pilot which stabilised it in that axis. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_56

Pitch was controlled manually by an elevatorman who tried to limit the angle to 5° up or down, so as not to upset the bottles of wine which accompanied the elaborate food served on board. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_57

Operating the elevators was so demanding and strenuous that an elevatorman's shift was only four hours, reduced to two in rough weather. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_58

Layout LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_2

The operational spaces, common areas, and passenger cabins were built into a gondola structure in the forward part of the airship's ventral surface, with the flight deck well forward in a "chin" position. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_59

The gondola was 30 metres (98 ft) long and 6 metres (20 ft) wide; its streamlined design reflected contemporary aesthetics, minimised overall height, and reduced drag. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_60

Behind the flight deck was the map room, with two large hatches to allow the command crew to communicate with the navigators, who could take readings with a sextant through the two large windows. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_61

There was also a radio room and a galley with a double electric oven and hot plates. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_62

The galley staff served three hot meals a day in the main dining and sitting room, which was square and 5 metres (16 ft) on each side. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_63

It had four large arched windows, wooden inlays, and Art Deco-upholstered furniture. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_64

Between meals, the passengers could socialise and look at the scenery. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_65

On the round-the-world flight, there was dancing to a phonograph, fine wine, and Ernst Lehmann, one of the officers, played the accordion. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_66

A corridor led to ten passenger cabins capable of sleeping 24, a pair of washrooms, and dual chemical toilets. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_67

The passenger cabins were set by day with a sofa, which converted at night into two beds. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_68

The cabins were often cold, and on some sectors passengers wore furs and huddled under blankets to stay warm. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_69

There was a noticeable smell from the Blau gas, especially when the ship was stationary. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_70

A ladder from the map room led up to the keel corridor inside the hull, and accommodation for the 36 crewmen. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_71

Officers' quarters were towards the nose; behind them were the baggage store, the crew mess-room, and the quarters for the ordinary crew, who slept in wire-frame beds with fabric screens. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_72

Also along this corridor were petrol, oil and water tanks, and stowage for cargo and spare parts. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_73

Branches from the keel corridor led to the five engine nacelles, and there were ladders up to the axial corridor, just below the ship's main axis, which gave access to all the gas cells. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_74

Electrical and communications systems LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_3

The main generating plant was in a separate compartment mostly inside the hull. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_75

Two 8.9 kW (12 hp) Wanderer car engines adapted to burn Blau gas, only one of which operated at a time, drove two Siemens & Halske dynamos each. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_76

One dynamo on each engine powered the oven and hotplates, and one the lighting and gyrocompass. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_77

Cooling water from these engines heated radiators inside the passenger lounge. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_78

Two ram air turbines attached to the main gondola on swinging arms provided electrical power for the radio room, internal lighting, and the galley. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_79

Batteries could power essential services like radios for half an hour, and there were small petrol generators for emergency power. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_80

Three radio operators used a one-kilowatt vacuum tube transmitter (about 140 W antenna power) to send telegrams over the low frequency (500–3,000 m) bands. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_81

A 70 W antenna power emergency transmitter carried telegraph and radio telephone signals over 300–1,300 m wavelength bands. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_82

The main aerial consisted of two lead-weighted 120-metre (390 ft)-long wires deployed by electric motor or hand crank; the emergency aerial was a 40-metre (130 ft) wire stretched from a ring on the hull. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_83

Three six-tube receivers served the wavelengths from 120 to 1,200 m (medium frequency), 400 to 4,000 m (low frequency) and 3,000 to 25,000 m (overlapping low frequency and very low frequency). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_84

The radio room also had a shortwave receiver for 10 to 280 m (high frequency). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_85

A radio direction finder used a loop antenna to determine the airship's bearing from any two land radio stations or ships with known positions. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_86

During the first transatlantic flight in 1928, the radio room sent 484 private telegrams and 160 press telegrams. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_87

Operational history LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_4

Main article: LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin operational history LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_88

The LZ 127 was christened Graf Zeppelin by Countess Brandenstein-Zeppelin on 8 July 1928, after her father Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the founder of the company, on the 90th anniversary of his birth. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_89

During most of its career, it was operated by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin's commercial flight arm, DELAG, in conjunction with the Hamburg-American Line (HAPAG); for its final two years it flew for the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei (DZR). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_90

Passengers paid premium fares to fly on the Graf Zeppelin (ℛℳ 1,500 from Germany to Rio de Janeiro in 1934, equal to $590 then, or $11,000 in 2018 dollars), and fees collected for valuable freight and air mail also provided income. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_91

On the first transatlantic flight, Graf Zeppelin carried 66,000 postcards and covers. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_92

Eckener had earned his doctorate in Psychology at Leipzig University under Wilhelm Wundt, and could use his knowledge of mass psychology to the benefit of the Graf Zeppelin. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_93

He identified safety as the most important factor in the ship's public acceptance, and was ruthless in pursuit of this. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_94

He took complete responsibility for the ship, from technical matters, to finance, to arranging where it would fly next on its years-long public relations campaign, in which he promoted "zeppelin fever". LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_95

On one of the Brazil trips British Pathé News filmed on board. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_96

Eckener cultivated the press, and was gratified when the British journalist Lady Grace Drummond-Hay wrote, and millions read, that: LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_97

Graf Zeppelin was greeted by large crowds on most of its early voyages. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_98

There were 100,000 at Moscow and possibly 250,000 at Tokyo to see it. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_99

At Stockholm, spectators launched firework rockets around it, and on the return flight from Moscow it was punctured by rifle shots near the Soviet Union-Lithuania border. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_100

On one visit to Rio de Janeiro people released hundreds of small toy petrol-burning hot air balloons near the flammable craft. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_101

The airship captured the public imagination and was used extensively in advertising. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_102

On visits to England, it photographed Royal Air Force bases, the Blackburn aircraft factory in Yorkshire, and the Portsmouth naval dockyard; it is likely that this was espionage at the behest of the German government. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_103

Proving flights LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_5

During 1928 there were six proving flights. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_104

On the fourth one, Blau gas was used for the first time. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_105

Graf Zeppelin carried Oskar von Miller, head of the Deutsches Museum; Charles E. Rosendahl, commander of USS Los Angeles; and the British airshipmen Ralph Sleigh Booth and George Herbert Scott. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_106

It flew from Friedrichshafen to Ulm, via Cologne and across the Netherlands to Lowestoft in England, then home via Bremen, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden, a total of 3,140 kilometres (1,950 mi; 1,700 nmi) in 34 hours and 30 minutes. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_107

On the fifth flight, Eckener caused a minor controversy by flying close to Huis Doorn in the Netherlands, which some interpreted as a gesture of support for the former Kaiser Wilhelm II who was living in exile there. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_108

First intercontinental flight (1928) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_6

In October 1928 Graf Zeppelin made its first intercontinental trip, to Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, US, with Eckener in command and Lehmann as first officer. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_109

Rosendahl and Drummond-Hay flew the outward leg. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_110

Ludwig Dettmann and Theo Matejko made an artistic record of the flight. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_111

On the third day of the flight, a large section of the fabric covering of the port tail fin was damaged while passing through a mid-ocean squall line, and volunteer riggers (including Eckener's son, Knut) repaired the torn fabric. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_112

Eckener directed Rosendahl to make a distress call; when this was received, and nothing else was heard from the airship, many believed it was lost; but because the zeppelin had to fly at reduced speed to repair the damaged fin, the airship's wind-driven generator could not produce enough power to send messages. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_113

After the ship arrived safely there was some annoyance from the Lakehurst personnel that it had not answered repeated calls for its position and estimated arrival time. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_114

The 9,926 km (6,168 mi; 5,360 nmi) crossing, the longest non-stop flight at the time, had taken 111 hours 44 minutes. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_115

Clara Adams became the first female paying passenger to fly transatlantic on the return flight. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_116

The ship endured an overnight gale that blew it backwards in the air and 320 km (200 mi; 170 nmi) off course, to the coast of Newfoundland. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_117

A stowaway boarded at Lakehurst and was discovered in the mail room mid-voyage. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_118

The airship returned home and on 6 November flew to Berlin Staaken, where it was met by the German president, Paul von Hindenburg. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_119

Mediterranean flights (1929) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_7

Graf Zeppelin visited Palestine in late March 1929. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_120

At Rome it sent greetings to Benito Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_121

It entered Palestine, flew over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and descended to near the surface of the Dead Sea, 430 m (1,400 ft) below sea level. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_122

The ship delivered 16,000 letters in mail drops at Jaffa, Athens, Budapest and Vienna. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_123

The Egyptian government (under pressure from Britain) refused it permission to enter their airspace. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_124

The second Mediterranean cruise flew over France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier, then returned home via Cannes and Lyon on 23–25 April. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_125

Forced landing in France (1929) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_8

On 16 May 1929, on the first night of its second trip to the US, Graf Zeppelin lost four of its engines. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_126

With Eckener struggling for a suitable place to force-land, the French Air Ministry allowed him to land at Cuers-Pierrefeu, near Toulon. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_127

Barely able to control the ship, Eckener made an emergency landing. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_128

The incident, and the forced comradeship it engendered, softened France's attitude to Germany and its airships slightly. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_129

The incident was caused by adjustments that had been made by the chief engineer to the four engines that failed. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_130

On 4 August, the airship made it to Lakehurst on the second attempt. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_131

Aboard was Susie, an eastern gorilla who had been captured near Lake Kivu in the Belgian Congo and sold by her German owner to an American dealer. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_132

After a touring career in the US, Susie went to Cincinnati Zoo in 1931, where she died in 1947. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_133

Round-the-world flight (1929) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_9

The American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst's media empire paid half the cost of the project to fly Graf Zeppelin around the world, with four staff on the flight; Drummond-Hay, Karl von Wiegand, the Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins, and the cameraman Robert Hartmann. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_134

Drummond-Hay became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_135

Hearst stipulated that the flight in August 1929 officially start and finish at Lakehurst. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_136

Round-the-world tickets were sold for almost $3000 (equivalent to $45,000 in 2019), but most participants had their costs paid for them. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_137

The flight's expenses were offset by the carriage of souvenir mail between Lakehurst, Friedrichshafen, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_138

A US franked letter flown on the whole trip from Lakehurst to Lakehurst required $3.55 (equivalent to $53 in 2019) in postage. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_139

Graf Zeppelin set off from Lakehurst on 8 August, heading eastwards. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_140

The ship refuelled at Friedrichshafen, then continued across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to Tokyo. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_141

After five days at a former German airship shed that had been removed from Jüterbog and rebuilt at Kasumigaura Naval Air Station, Graf Zeppelin continued across the Pacific to California. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_142

Eckener delayed crossing the coast at San Francisco's Golden Gate so as to come in near sunset for aesthetic effect. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_143

The ship landed at Mines Field in Los Angeles, completing the first ever nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_144

The takeoff from Los Angeles was difficult because of high temperatures and an inversion layer. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_145

To lighten the ship, six crew were sent on to Lakehurst by aeroplane. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_146

The airship suffered minor damage from a tail strike and barely cleared electricity cables at the edge of the field. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_147

The Graf Zeppelin arrived back at Lakehurst from the west on the morning of 29 August, three weeks after it had departed to the east. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_148

Flying time for the four Lakehurst to Lakehurst legs was 12 days, 12 hours, and 13 minutes; the entire circumnavigation (including stops) took 21 days, 5 hours, and 31 minutes to cover 33,234 km (20,651 mi; 17,945 nmi). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_149

It was the fastest circumnavigation of the globe at the time. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_150

Eckener became the tenth recipient and the third aviator to be awarded the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society, which he received on 27 March 1930 at the Washington Auditorium. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_151

Before returning to Germany, Eckener met President Herbert Hoover, and successfully lobbied the US Postmaster General for a special three-stamp issue (C-13, 14 & 15) for mail to be carried on the Europe-Pan American flight due to leave Germany in mid-May. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_152

Germany issued a commemorative coin celebrating the circumnavigation. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_153

Europe-Pan American flight (1930) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_10

On 26 April 1930 Graf Zeppelin flew low over the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in England, dipping in salute to King George V, then briefly moored alongside the larger R100 at Cardington. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_154

On 18 May, it left on a triangular flight between Spain, Brazil, and the US, carrying 38 passengers, many of them in crew accommodation. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_155

The ship arrived at Recife (Pernambuco) in Brazil, docking at Campo do Jiquiá on 22 May, where 300 soldiers helped land it. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_156

It then flew to Rio de Janeiro, where there was no post to tether to, so it was held down by the landing party for the two hours of the visit. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_157

It flew north, via Recife, to Lakehurst; a storm damaged the rear engine nacelle, which had to be repaired in the hangar at Lakehurst. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_158

During ground handling of the airship there, it suddenly lifted, causing serious injury to one of the US Marines who was assisting. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_159

A few hours from home, when the Graf Zeppelin flew through a heavy hailstorm over the Saône, the envelope was damaged and the ship lost lift. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_160

Eckener ordered full power and flew the ship out of trouble, but it came within 200 feet of hitting the ground. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_161

The Europe-Pan American flight was largely funded by the sale of special stamps issued by Spain, Brazil, and the US for franking mail carried on the trip. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_162

The US issued stamps in three denominations: 65¢, $1.30, and $2.60, all on 19 April 1930. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_163

Middle East flight (1931) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_11

The second flight to the Middle East took place in 1931, beginning on 9 April. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_164

Graf Zeppelin crossed the Mediterranean to Benghazi in Libya, then flew via Alexandria, to Cairo in Egypt, where it saluted King Fuad at the Qubbah Palace, then visited the Great Pyramid of Giza and hovered 70 feet above the top of the monument. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_165

After a brief stop, the ship flew to Palestine where it circled Jerusalem, then returned to Cairo to pick up Eckener, who had stayed for an audience with the King. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_166

It returned to Friedrichshafen on 13 April. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_167

Polar flight (1931) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_12

The polar flight (Polarfahrt 1931) lasted from 24 to 31 July 1931. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_168

The ship rendezvoused with the Soviet icebreaker Malygin, which had the Italian polar explorer Umberto Nobile aboard. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_169

It exchanged 120 kg (260 lb) of souvenir mail with the airship, which Eckener landed on the Arctic Ocean. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_170

Fifty thousand cards and letters, weighing 300 kg (660 lb), were flown. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_171

The costs of the expedition were met largely by the sale of special postage stamps issued by Germany and the Soviet Union to frank the mail carried on the flight. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_172

The writer Arthur Koestler was one of two journalists on board, along with a multinational team of scientists led by the Russian Professor Samoilowich, who measured the Earth's magnetic field, and a Russian radio operator. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_173

The expedition photographed and mapped Franz Josef Land accurately for the first time, and came within 910 kilometres (570 mi; 490 nmi) of the North Pole. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_174

It deployed three early radiosondes over the Arctic to collect meteorological data from the upper atmosphere. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_175

South American operations (1931–1937) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_13

From the beginning Luftschiffbau Zeppelin had plans to serve South America. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_176

There was a large community of Germans in Brazil, and existing sea connections were slow and uncomfortable. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_177

Graf Zeppelin could transport passengers over long distances in the same luxury as an ocean liner, and almost as quickly as contemporary airliners. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_178

Graf Zeppelin made three trips to Brazil in 1931 and nine in 1932. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_179

The route to Brazil meant flying down the Rhône valley in France, a cause of great sensitivity between the wars. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_180

The French government, concerned about espionage, restricted it to a 12 nmi (22 km; 14 mi)-wide corridor in 1934. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_181

Graf Zeppelin was too small and slow for the stormy North Atlantic route, but because of the Blau gas fuel, could carry out the longer South Atlantic service. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_182

On 2 July 1932 it flew a 24-hour tour of Britain. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_183

While returning from Brazil in October 1933, Graf Zeppelin stopped at Miami (NAS Opa Locka) and then Akron, Ohio, where it moored at the Goodyear Zeppelin airdock. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_184

The airship then appeared at the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_185

It displayed swastika markings on the left side of the fins, as the Nazi Party had taken power in January. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_186

Eckener circled the fair clockwise so that the swastikas would not be seen by the spectators. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_187

The United States Post Office Department issued a special 50-cent airmail stamp (C-18) for the visit, which was the fifth and final one the ship made to the US. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_188

The airship's cotton envelope absorbed moisture from the air in humid tropical conditions. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_189

When the relative humidity reached 90%, the ship's weight rose by almost 1,800 kilograms (4,000 lb). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_190

Exposure to tropical downpours could greatly add to this, but when under way the ship had enough reserve power to generate dynamic lift to compensate. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_191

In April 1935 it made a rough forced landing at Recife after it was caught in a rainstorm at low speed on the approach to land and the added weight of several tons of water caused it to sink to the ground. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_192

The lower rudder was lost, the outer envelope was ripped in several places, and a petrol tank was punctured by a palm tree. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_193

In late 1935 Graf Zeppelin operated a temporary postal shuttle service between Recife and Bathurst, in the British African colony of the Gambia. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_194

On 24 November, during the second trip, the crew learned of an insurrection in Brazil, and there was some doubt whether it would be possible to return to Recife. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_195

Graf Zeppelin delivered its mail to Maceió, then loitered off the coast for three days until it was safe to land, after a flight of 118 hours and 40 minutes. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_196

Brazil built a hangar for airships at Bartolomeu de Gusmão Airport, near Rio de Janeiro, at a cost of $1 million (equivalent to $18 million in 2018 ). LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_197

Brazil charged the DZR $2000 ($37,000) per landing, and had agreed that German airships would land there 20 times per year, to pay off the cost. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_198

The hangar was constructed in Germany and the parts were transported and assembled on site. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_199

It was finished in late 1936, and was used four times by Graf Zeppelin and five by Hindenburg. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_200

It now houses units of the Brazilian Air Force. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_201

Graf Zeppelin made 64 round trips to Brazil, on the first regular intercontinental commercial air passenger service, and it continued until the loss of the Hindenburg in May 1937. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_202

Propaganda (1936) LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_14

Eckener was outspoken about his dislike of the Nazi Party, and was warned about it by Rudolf Diels, the head of the Gestapo. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_203

When the Nazis gained power in 1933, Joseph Goebbels (Reich Minister of Propaganda) and Hermann Göring (Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe) sidelined Eckener by putting the more sympathetic Lehmann in charge of a new airline, Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei (DZR), which operated German airships. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_204

On 7 March 1936, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties, German troops reoccupied the Rhineland. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_205

Hitler called a plebiscite for 29 March to retrospectively approve the reoccupation, and adopt a list of exclusively Nazi candidates to sit in the new Reichstag. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_206

Goebbels commandeered Graf Zeppelin and the newly launched Hindenburg for the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_207

The airships flew in tandem around Germany before the vote, with a joint departure from Löwenthal on the morning of 26 March. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_208

They toured the country for four days and three nights, dropping propaganda leaflets, playing martial music and slogans from large loudspeakers, and broadcasting political speeches from a makeshift radio studio on Hindenburg. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_209

Retirement and aftermath LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_15

The crew heard of the Hindenburg disaster by radio on 6 May 1937 while in the air, returning from Brazil to Germany; they delayed telling the passengers until after landing on 8 May so as not to alarm them. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_210

The disaster, in which Lehmann and 35 others were killed, destroyed public faith in the safety of hydrogen-filled airships, making continued passenger operations impossible unless they could convert to non-flammable helium. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_211

Hindenburg had originally been planned to use helium, but almost all of the world's supply was controlled by the US, and its export had been tightly restricted by the Helium Act of 1925. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_212

Graf Zeppelin was permanently withdrawn from service shortly after the disaster. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_213

On 18 June its 590th and last flight took it to Frankfurt am Main, where it was deflated and exhibited to visitors in its hangar. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_214

President Roosevelt supported exporting enough helium for the Hindenburg-class LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II to resume commercial transatlantic passenger service by 1939, but by early 1938, the opposition of Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, who was concerned that Germany was likely to use the airship in war, made that impossible. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_215

On 11 May 1938, Roosevelt's press secretary announced that the US would not sell helium to Germany. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_216

Eckener, who had unsuccessfully intervened, responded that it would be "the death sentence for commercial lighter-than-air craft." LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_217

Graf Zeppelin II made 30 test, promotional, propaganda and military surveillance flights around Europe using hydrogen between September 1938 and August 1939; it never entered commercial passenger service. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_218

On 4 March 1940, Göring ordered Graf Zeppelin and Graf Zeppelin II to be scrapped, and their airframes to be melted down for the German military aircraft industry. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_219

During its career, Graf Zeppelin had flown almost 1.7 million km (1,053,391 miles), the first aircraft to fly over a million miles. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_220

It made 144 oceanic crossings (143 across the Atlantic, and one of the Pacific), carried 13,110 passengers and 106,700 kg (235,300 lb) of mail and freight. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_221

It flew for 17,177 hours (717 days, or nearly two years), without injuring a passenger or crewman. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_222

It has been called "the world's most successful airship", but it was not a commercial success; it had been hoped that the Hindenburg-class airships that followed would have the capacity and speed to make money on the popular North Atlantic route. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_223

Graf Zeppelin's achievements showed that this was technically possible. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_224

By the time the two Graf Zeppelins were recycled, they were the last rigid airships in the world, and heavier-than-air long-distance passenger transport, using aircraft like the Focke-Wulf Condor and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, was already in its ascendancy. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_225

Aeroplanes were faster, less labour-intensive and safer; by 1958 they developed into passenger jets like the Boeing 707 which could cross the Atlantic reliably in a few hours. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_226

By 2017 annual air passenger journeys had surpassed 4 billion. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_227

Modern airships like the Zeppelin NT use semi-rigid designs, and are lifted by helium on their mainly sight-seeing duties. LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_228

Specifications LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_16

Data from LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_229

General characteristics LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_230

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_unordered_list_0

  • Crew: 36LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_0
  • Capacity: 20 pax / Typical disposable load 19,900 kg (43,900 lb)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_1
  • Length: 236.6 m (776 ft 3 in)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_2
  • Diameter: 30.5 m (100 ft 1 in) maximumLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_3
  • Fineness ratio: 7.25LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_4
  • Volume: 75,000 m (2,600,000 cu ft) hydrogen + 30,000 m (1,100,000 cu ft) Blau gas capacityLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_5
  • Number of gas cells: 16LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_6
  • Empty weight: 67,100 kg (147,930 lb)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_7
  • Fuel capacity: 8,000 kg (18,000 lb) petrol + 30,000 m (1,100,000 cu ft) Blau gasLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_8
  • Useful lift: 87,000 kg (192,000 lb) typical gross liftLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_9
  • Powerplant: 5 × Maybach VL II V-12 water-cooled reversible piston engines, 410 kW (550 hp) eachLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_10
  • Propellers: 2, later 4-bladed propellersLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_0_11

Performance LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_sentence_231

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_unordered_list_1

  • Maximum speed: 128.16 km/h (79.63 mph, 69.20 kn) 35.60 m/sLZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_1_12
  • Range: 10,000 km (6,200 mi, 5,400 nmi) at 117 km/h (73 mph; 63 kn; 33 m/s)LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_item_1_13

See also LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_section_17

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin_unordered_list_2


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin.