The nine transoceanic rigid airships.
I was just put in my place by @AirshipEureka on Twitter for doubting her sentience. Sorry ma’am.
Go ahead and savor that brief shining moment where large rigid airships were taken for granted as a form of current transportation.
At the same time this has an oddly almost mythological tone to it.
77 years ago, the ultimate flying warship, the US Navy dirigible ZRS-5 USS Macon took flight for the first time.
After a short, but successful career as a flying aircraft carrier for Curtiss f9c Sparrowhawk surveillance fighter planes, she was senselessly lost in a storm due to a known design flaw and prior damage which was allowed to go uncorrected.
USS Macon was only 20 feet shorter than the German passenger airship LZ-129 Hindenburg.
If both the Macon and Hindenburg hadn’t been destroyed prematurely, I guesstimate that large rigid airships would have continued development and could have remained commercially viable passenger transit perhaps through the 1970’s and might still be around today as freighters and as high priced flying cruise ships.
That thought came from reading a book by a former GoodYear president called “Why has America no Rigid Airships?”
This guy spent thousands of dollars and years of effort building a flying model of the U.S.S. Macon out of balsa wood sticks and cotton muslin!
He even sent a letter to the Smithsonian Institute asking for plans and blueprints for the actual ship so he could build everything to scale properly.
That’s amazing. This guy is the man.
I would think it cool to attach a really good remote control camera on it and fly it around up high with a really long fishing line so it wouldn’t fly away, but with the amount of work that went into this I understand keeping it close to the ground.
Looks like someone over in Germany saw James Cameron’s Titanic film and just couldn’t stand that their country had been so sorely unrepresented in the vehicular disaster love story genre when they had such a perfect foil to seemingly copy and paste tropes from Cameron’s Titanic on to.
Literally, it just looks like they copy and pasted the plot and main characters from Titanic, but set it on the Hindenburg. The guy even looks like Leonardo DiCaprio.
I haven’t seen this movie, but I’m going to guess that this movie’s disaster scene is going to be A LOT shorter than the disaster scene from Titanic, and have a hell of a lot more survivors.
As long as they don’t make a low budget Hindenburg animated musical with singing animals or something, I’ll be alright.
I just wish someone would make an epic adventure movie about the zeppelins that WEREN’T giant billboards for a genocidal dictatorship and DIDN’T EXPLODE OR CRASH.
Seriously, its not like these things routinely spontaneously exploded.
Look at my epic library haul of books!
I’m officially a student again, so I’m finally allowed back in the campus library!
The library’s aviation section has a whole freaking shelf of airship and ballooning books! This is hugely cool because most modern aviation schools don’t even begin to take lighter than air aviation seriously due to that thing that happened in New Jersey a few years ago.
Yeah, I’ve got a fun year ahead of me.
Oh, and there’s something especially awesome about the balloon book on the right there, but I’ll maybe share that with you tomorrow!
It’s been a while, so here’s some trainspam.
Please ignore the small party balloon floating in the background.
(i almost tried to squeeze this into a tweet, then remembered I now have Tumblr for stuff like this)
I was just watching an episode of “Futurecar” on the Science Channel which was about the energy sources being developed for automobiles of the future, and in the section about the hydrogen cars, the narrator spent about 30 seconds needlessly professing the safety of hydrogen by explaining that the Hindenburg disaster was was caused by the ship’s “flammable outer coating” and had nothing to do with hydrogen.
First off, its really stupid that this has to be brought up to begin with, because I’ve actually seen people claim that hydrogen fuel cells in automobiles are too dangerous based on the Hindenburg crash.
The Hindenburg was a dirigible aircraft from 70 years ago that used hydrogen contained in stitched together cow intestines as a lifting gas, we’re talking about totally different technology with a totally different application in a totally different vehicle just two decades close of being a century apart from each other, aside form the fact that hydrogen in fuel cells isn’t even combusted to release the energy, its a totally fireless process.
Equally absurd is when some hydrogen fuel cell advocates go out of their way to make irrelevant claims about the Hindenburg crash “having nothing to do with hydrogen” or that “the ship was coated in rocket fuel” or that “it was only the skin burning”.
In the early 20th century nearly two dozen hydrogen airships were destroyed by accidental hydrogen fires. One of these, the British passenger dirigible R101, was completely destroyed by what would have been only a relatively minor collision due to the use of hydrogen as a lifting gas.
The German airship LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin was succeeded by the LZ-129 Hindenburg. What happened to LZ-128? It was canned because the designers decided there had been too many hydrogen dirigible crashes and instead redesigned LZ-129 to fly with helium instead, even though it eventually was forced to use hydrogen anyway.
So yes, hydrogen is indisputably a bad lifting gas for passenger dirigibles built 70 years ago, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the use of hydrogen in the fuel cells of 21st century automobiles. They are some hydrogen advocates out there who really need to stop fighting this pointless argument about what caused the Hindenburg disaster, and its kinda disappointing to see these myths being spread on the Science Channel.
It’s like trying to say the Titanic wasn’t sunk by an iceburg to promote the safety of ice cube dispensers in kitchen refrigerators.
The sources for my non-scholarly rant are mainly Hugo Eckener’s Dream Machine by Douglas Botting, and some BBC show about the Hindenburg crash that I watched online a while back.
The guy who runs airships.net basically shares my view, but surely knows a hell of a lot more about it than I do.