Death on the Empress is a newly-issued murder mystery written for teens and young adults.  It is available for free Kindle download from this weekend only.

I have not read the book so I cannot offer personal comments, but here is the description from Amazon:

In an alternate Britain, where airships rule the skies, fourteen year old Oliver has started his dream job; travelling the world in the largest airship ever built. But when a priceless jewel is stolen, a passenger plummets to their death and an ancient curse strikes the ship, everyone onboard is thrown into mortal danger. But is there more going on than meets the eye? Only Oliver can solve the deadly mystery onboard The Empress.

If you download the book, feel free to post a review in the comments.

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Great film of LZ-130 at low level

by Dan on March 1, 2014

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A great film of LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin at low level.  I still can’t get over what it must have been like to see one of these ships close-up:

My thanks to the ever-enthusiastic Milan Zivancevic for letting me know about this video.

You’re the best, Milan!



A new children’s book has just been published about the Hindenburg disaster.

Dan Grossman Hindenburg Book

The publisher was very concerned about getting the facts right and the contents are scrupulously accurate.  Most of all, the book does not repeat any of the nonsense so often found in books about the Hindenburg (e.g., the United States wouldn’t sell helium to the Nazis; the ship’s fabric covering was highly flammable; etc.).

But there was one thing the publisher didn’t consult with me about: the title!

We made sure to avoid any use of the word “explosion” in the content and always referred to the ship “catching fire” or “bursting into flame,” so you can imagine my surprise when I saw the published book!  But that aside, it’s a great little book that explains the basics of the Hindenburg disaster to children, and also mentions other ships such as Graf Zeppelin, Akron, and R.101.



As the American South gets ready for another pounding by ice and snow the National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Hunter planes have been releasing Dropsondes to obtain data for forecasts of the upcoming storm.

For all the weather nerds out there, here is some zeppelin trivia:  The precursor to the dropsonde was the radiosonde, first deployed by an aircraft during Graf Zeppelin’s Arctic flight of 1931.

Radiosonde being launched from LZ-127

Graf Zeppelin Polar Route (click to enlarge)

The first practical radiosonde was developed by Professor Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov of the USSR, who traveled on the Graf Zeppelin’s Arctic flight to conduct experiments with his new invention.

Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov (Павел Александрович Молчанов)

Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov (Павел Александрович Молчанов)

Molchanov Radiosonde (photo: Radiosonde Museum)

For more information about the history of the radiosonde, visit the website of the Radiosonde Museum of North America.

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Hindenburg at the Olympics

by Dan on February 9, 2014

LZ-129 Hindenburg at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games.

LZ-129 Hindenburg at 1936 Berlin Olympics

Hindenburg airship at 1936 Berlin Olympics

LZ-129 Hindenburg zeppelin at 1936 Berlin Olympics

LZ-129 Hindenburg at 1936 Berlin Olympics

Hindenburg zeppelin mail.  Frankfurt to Lakehurst, August 5-11, 1936, mailed from the Olympic Games in Berlin.  (Sieger 428C)

And CGI from the film Berlin 36:

LZ-129 Hindenburg at 1936 Berlin Olympics

Of course the political parallels between 1936 and 2014 are chilling.  The IOC of 1936 refused to criticize the policies of the Nazi government and the IOC of 2014 bears similar shame:

International Olympic Committee Will Not Object To Arrests And Beatings Of Russian LGBT Activists.

When will people realize that “neutrality” usually benefits the bad guys?


Chimney Pots

January 29, 2014

“The British don’t want us over their chimney pots. They’ll complain to Foreign Office.” I guess times have changed. (I saw this while walking in Kew the other day and couldn’t resist.  Sorry!) Share on Facebook

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Brazilian Zeppelin Bus

January 27, 2014

Hat Tip to scholar (and all-around great guy) Guillaume De Syon for letting us know about this zeppelin-shaped bus operated in Brazil in the 1950s. More photos here. Share on Facebook

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Bust of Barnes Wallis at RAF Club in London

January 25, 2014

Every morning as I leave to do my research I have been greeted by this bust of Barnes Wallis and this painting so I thought I would share a quick photo. As blog readers know I have been in the UK for the past few weeks doing research about the RAF, but I have not [...]

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Hello from the UK

January 18, 2014

I am spending most of this month in the UK on various aviation history projects.  Here are some airships bits I unexpectedly came across while looking through non-LTA items at the museum at RAF Cosford: I will be heading to London tomorrow for the last two weeks of this month.  I will staying at the RAF [...]

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A Merry Airship Christmas

December 25, 2013

A selection of vintage airship Christmas postcards to wish everyone peace, health, love, and clear skies.         And a final photo from history: The control car of LZ-129 Hindenburg under construction, Christmas 1935. Merry Christmas and clear skies! Share on Facebook

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Merry Christmas Eve

December 24, 2013

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Zeppelin Dress | Airship Fashion of the 1920s/1930s

December 10, 2013

I stumbled across this image and could not resist sharing.   Share on Facebook

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Titanic artist Ken Marschall offers Hindenburg paintings for sale

November 24, 2013

Ken Marschall is probably most famous for his brilliant paintings of the ocean liner Titanic. He is known for his meticulous attention to historical detail as well his artistic ability. Over the years Ken has also created historically accurate paintings of LZ-129 Hindenburg for books including Hindenburg – An Illustrated History and Inside the Hindenburg - [...]

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Colorized Photograph of the Hindenburg Disaster

November 10, 2013

Several friends and blog readers told me about this colorized image of the Hindenburg disaster and I wanted to share it with anyone who may have missed it. While it was this image that brought Dana Keller’s work to my attention, all of his work is impressive.  It allows us to see historical figures as [...]

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For UK Readers: Hindenburg Documentary on UKTV Tomorrow Night

October 9, 2013

UKTV’s “Yesterday” channel will broadcast “Weather That Changed the World: The Hindenburg” [videos] tomorrow night, 10 October, 2013, at 9:00 pm.   Share on Facebook

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In Friedrichshafen

September 17, 2013

I arrived last night. Share on Facebook

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Interview about the Hindenburg Disaster on The Weather Channel

June 8, 2013

Here is a brief interview I did with Eric Fisher of the Weather Channel about the premiere episode in their new series Weather that Changed the World:  The show airs tomorrow night on The Weather Channel.   Weather That Changed The World New original series only on The Weather Channel Premieres Sunday, June 9 at [...]

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Hindenburg Crash on The Weather Channel this Sunday

June 7, 2013

The Weather Channel’s new series “Weather That Changed the World” premieres this Sunday, June 9, with an episode dedicated to the Hindenburg disaster. The show presents an excellent and well-illustrated explanation of the electrostatic weather conditions leading to the disaster and I was very happy to be involved with the project.   Here is a [...]

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My visit to Cardington and other items

May 21, 2013

I just returned from a very productive visit to the UK that included a chance to visit various sites around Cardington and meet several members of the Airship Heritage Trust including Paul Ross, Den Burchmore, Trevor Monk, and Giles Camplin. Den and Trevor generously took me on a tour of Cardington where we visited the massive airship [...]

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Anniversary of LZ-8 Accident: May 16, 1911

May 16, 2013

On this day in 1911 the DELAG airliner LZ-8 (Deutschland) was destroyed in an accident. Hugo Eckener was in command of an airship for the first time and LZ-8 had barely left its hangar when it was pulled away from its ground crew by a gust of wind.  The ship smashed against the roof of [...]

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