LZ-129 Hindenburg

LZ-129 Hindenburg was the first airliner to provide regularly-scheduled service between Europe and North America.

While the airship is better remembered for the fiery Hindenburg disaster of 1937 than for its many technological achievements, it was the fastest and most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic in its day.

Hindenburg color postcard

LZ-129 Hindenburg: A Detailed History

Origins of the LZ-129 Hindenburg The astounding success of the Graf Zeppelin had proved the viability of long range passenger transportation by airship, and by...
Hindenburg's Dining Room

The Hindenburg's Interior: Passenger Decks

The interior spaces on the Hindenburg were divided into three main areas: Passenger Decks Control Car: Flight instruments and controls Crew Areas (inside the hull)...
Hindenburg Flight Operations

Hindenburg Flight Operations and Procedures

An overview of flight operations and flight procedures of the airship Hindenburg. [To learn about the “hardware” of flight — the flight instruments and controls...
Cruciform structure of the Hindenburg's tail (on right).  Drawings courtesy David Fowler.  (click all images to enlarge)

Hindenburg Design and Technology

Hindenburg’s Basic Design The basic design of LZ-129 Hindenburg was conventional, and based on time-tested technology used by chief designer Ludwig Dürr and the Zeppelin...
Hindenburg size comparison with United States Capitol

Hindenburg Statistics

LZ-129 Hindenburg statistics: Length: 245 m / 803.8 feet Diameter: 41.2 m / 135.1 feet Gas capacity: 200,000 cubic meters / 7,062,000 cubic feet Lift:...
Hindenburg's Flights to North America

Hindenburg Flight Schedule

A list of all flights of the airship Hindenburg, with dates, departures, and arrivals. For details on particular flights, visit: Hindenburg Disaster: The Last Flight...

The Hindenburg Disaster

The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937 brought an end to the age of the rigid airship. The disaster killed 35...

21 Comments on "LZ-129 Hindenburg"

  1. I had no idea that Hindenburg used duraluminum from R-101. That is pretty spooky. Great website!

  2. John Borrego | July 3, 2009 at 9:08 am |

    Any idea what happened to the remains of the Hindenburg after the crash? It would be interesting to imagine all that aluminum eventually being made into B-17s and sent back to Germany, so to speak.

  3. Colin McLeod | June 30, 2009 at 7:28 am |

    I have a printed list of travellers (crew + passengers) on the Hindenburg’s journey from Rio de Janeiro on 2 December 1936. I’m happy to send a scan of it to anyone who would find this information of interest.

  4. Andreas Horn | June 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm |

    Hi Dan!

    A few weeks ago I had to make an offer for a huge (1/5 scale), flying “Hindenburg” model for a movie project and I finally got asked if it would be possible to recreate the “Hindenburg” in 1/1 scale…!!!
    My rather superficial research resulted in a devastating answer. First, as there is almost no know-how on how to build large rigid airships anymore, the total cost for engineering, construction and flight tests would add up to more than 1 billion dollars.
    Second, for an exact replica of the “Hindenburg” it would be almost impossible to get a certificate of airworthiness according to modern standards, even if the airship will be equipped with modern avionics and a fly-by-wire system.

    When the the 9 million-dollar partial replica in the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen was designed, the engineers encountered all the problems associated with recreating an advanced old Zeppelin airship.
    Though a complete set of drawings was available (but few assembly drawings), it took them months to find out how the pieces must be put together. By employing cardboard models they found the one and only way in which the different pieces can be riveted together. This only gives a slight impression on how it would be to rebuild the complete “Hindenburg”.


  5. Rubens Martins Borges Filho | May 13, 2009 at 9:57 pm |

    Dear Dan,

    Thanks for the photo from the Daimler-Benz
    diesel engine, 890 kW (1,200 hp) of the Hindenburg.
    Rubens Borges.

  6. hi, great web-site. just one quick question, by todays standards how much would it cost to build the Hindenberg???

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    @ Eliot:

    Thanks for the compliment!

    As to the cost of building the Hindenburg in today’s currency… that would be quite a task even for a highly qualified cost accountant.

    Even determining how much it cost to build Hindenburg in the 1930’s is a challenge; which expenses do you include? And do you take the expenses in 1930’s Reichsmarks and just try to convert those figures into a modern currency?

    Or are you asking how much it would cost to build the Hindenburg today? And if so, do you mean an exact reproduction — using obsolete technology despite the passage of time? Or do you mean a modern-day functional equivalent, where the Echolot is replaced by a Radar Altimeter?

    But to simplify — Charles Rosendahl wrote that the Hindenburg cost $2,600,000 to build. (See, Rosendahl, What About the Airship?, p 154.)

    Of course, converting that figure to current dollars is itself tricky, since different economists use different approaches to inflating prices; you can visit http://eh.net/hmit or http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/ to learn more about the various approaches. But using Rosendah’s figure of $2.6 million, and the various calculators at measuringworth.com, that yields a range from $43 million to $657 million in 2009 dollars.

    Eliot Reply:

    i did a bit more resurch and estemated a cost of
    $43,193,503.09 to build the hindenberg today!!!

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    Can you let us know how you calculated that estimate?

    Eliot Reply:

    sure, take the $2,600,000 put it through measuringworth and then pick the top one on the list…

  7. Rubens Martins Borges Filho | May 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm |

    Hi dan,

    I would like to know if you have a photo from the Daimler-Benz diesel engines, 890 kW (1,200 hp) of the Hindenburg ,and the name of the propeller.

  8. Hey Dan,

    I am doing a social studies project about the Hindenburg Disaster. I have a question about what the skin of the zeppelin was covered in. Any ideas?

    Best Regards,

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    @ Zack:

    Yes, I think I can help. 🙂

    Hindenburg’s covering was made of cotton canvas which had been doped (painted) with a solution of cellulose acetate butyrate (sold under the trade name “Cellon”) to which aluminum powder had been added. Iron oxide was also added to the dope applied to the upper portion of the hull as protection from UV radiation.

    The flammability of this solution has been the subject of vigorous debate between those on either side of Addison Bain’s “incendiary-paint theory,” which argues that the ship’s paint was the primary cause of the fire at Lakehurst.

    Many supporters of the Addison Bain theory like to say that the dope used on Hindenburg was basically the same substance as “rocket fuel,” but that comparison is inappropriate in several ways, perhaps most importantly because “rocket fuel” contains an oxidizing agent (which produces its own oxygen during combustion), and there has never been any suggestion that the doping compound used on Hindenburg contained an oxidizer.

    I hope this is helpful, and best of luck with your project!

  9. jon knight | April 18, 2009 at 1:59 am |

    i saw the



  10. I am taking an aviation history class and have been learning quite a bit about airships and their importance to aviation. I came to your site looking for stats on the Graf and the Hindenburg and stayed and enjoyed the articles and photographs! Thanks for your work on this.

  11. Thanks Daniel for all of your great info. I did a reasearch paper on the Hindenburg and your website was a great help. Don’t worry I cited everything. Thanks Ben

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    Thanks, Ben!

  12. Tael Neilan | March 14, 2009 at 10:46 pm |

    @ Wille Gerhardt:
    The Hindenburg was originally designed to lift with helium gas, but when Dr. Eckener went to the U.S. (largest supplier of helium) they would not make any exeptions to the Helium Control Act of 1927. Any other means to get helium was out of the question because it was so expensive. Zeppelin Reederi figured since the Graf had made so many successful flights with hydrogen, why not use it in the Hindenburg instead of helium. I bet the guys who denied Eckener the use of helium were kicking themselves once it blew up…

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    Yes, Tael is correct, Hindenburg was designed for helium. Thanks for contributing to the discussion! (The plans for LZ-128 were for a hydrogen ship, which was replaced by the LZ-129 after the R-101 crash and fire.) Some of the design innovations made necessary by the planned use of helium are discussed on the page regarding Hindenburg’s Technology.

  13. What was the MAIN, immediate and remote causes of this accident??

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is not a question which can be answered quickly, simply, or even definitively. Hundreds of pages can be written — and have been written — analyzing the various theories that have been advanced, from sabotage, to structural failure due to maneuvering, to static discharge, to Addison Bain’s compelling theory regarding the flammability of the covering material, and various combinations of these factors.

    At some point I may prepare a summary and analysis of the various theories, but at the moment I am working on biographies of various airship designers, officers, and crew members, and expanding the section on the US Navy’s rigid airship program.

  14. Hi Dan,
    I’m looking for a list of dates for the 34 Atlantic crossings the Hindenburg completed during the 1936 season? Do you know of a website or a book that contains such a list? Thanks in advance and thank you for your work on this informative site!

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    I response to your request, I have just added a page with Hindenburg’s complete flight schedule. I will be adding further information about particular flights (such as the propaganda Plebiscite flight, and the Millionaire’s Flight) in future. I hope this is helpful!

  15. Fred Baker | March 4, 2009 at 9:55 am |

    Where was the Hindenburg built? Is that the same location as for other airships? Thanks FB

    Dan (Airships.net) Reply:

    Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin were both built at the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin construction sheds at Friedrichshafen, but repair and maintenance work was sometimes performed at the hangars in nearby Löwenthal, or in Frankfurt. (For example, when additional passenger cabins were added to Hindenburg during the winter refit of 1937, the work was performed at Frankfurt.)

  16. What an awesome site, whoever put it together! I love the color pictures of the interior. I’ve just recently acquired this interest in the Hindenburg, and wish to learn a lot more about it. I’ve scoured the internet looking for any dedicated forums for it, but I’ve found none. What are the best 2 or 3 forums for internet discussion on the Hindenburg? Thanks!

  17. What was the Hindenburg’s top speed?

  18. Anyone know what a perfectly preserved letter and envelope would be worth that was shipped over on the Hindenburg?

    Dan (admin) Reply:

    The value of a piece of zeppelin mail depends mostly on which flight the letter was carried on, as well as the country of origin and stamps used. Commercial mail is sometimes considered more valuable than philatelic mail, and if the letter has particular historical significance, that would affect its value as well.

  19. Wille Gerhardt | February 2, 2009 at 5:44 am |

    Have just watched two (different) TV documentaries about Hindenburg. In one, an experienced American flight accident investigator provides a convincing theory of the cause of the horrible accident. Sabotage was ruled out because the fire started about 10m above the internal passagewalk, and a sabotur would rather have just dropped his bomb below the walk. The investigator finally concluded that the accident was caused by a combination of pilot error and electric charge. Before the accident, Hindenburg had flown below a thunderstorm and became delayed having to circle at Lakehurst. Just before reaching the landing mast a gust of wind caused the ship to drift. The impatient captain decided to make a sharp course correction, a maneuver for which the ship was not designed. The load from the steering fins apparently caused a steel cable to rupture, ripping through a gas sack and upwards through the covering in front af the uppermost steering fin. A rippling of the skin at this spot is clearly visible on the old film and described by several eyewitnesses. This in itself would not have ignited the hydrogen, but the ship was electrically charged from the thunderstorm. Lowering of the steel anchor cable grounded the electrical charge of the steel skeleton but the isolating skin – unfortunately painted with inflammable cellulose nitrate – was still highly charged. The ripping steel cable from the grounded steel skeleton through the charged skin caused an intense spark starting the fire just in front of the uppermost fin as witnessed and filmed. The fire spread primarily along the highly flammable skin – 34 secs from tail to nose, faste than hydrogen alone would have burned. This explains that the flames were yellow – pure hydrogen flames are colorless.
    I am bit confused by your description that Hindenburg had been built for helium. Obviously it was lifted by hydrogen. A sister ship was indeed planned for helium, but the tragedy caused all plans of more Zeppelins to be given up.
    Thanks for your interesting site with the excellent photos.
    With kind regards, Willie Gerhardt

  20. Arthur Brown | January 25, 2009 at 1:34 pm |

    congratulations on a truly elegant and informative site. I especially like the fact you can enlarge the images so easily. excellent job!! it kept me engrossed for hours.

  21. thank you very much for this for brilliant information!

    best regards,

    Adam Clark age: 9

    Dan (admin) Reply:

    Thank you, Adam! I am so glad you enjoyed it!!!

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