Happy July Fourth, America!

by Dan Grossman on July 4, 2016

July 4 Airship

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The Wonderful Airship Fantasy of Grey Goose Vodka

by Dan Grossman on May 14, 2016

Once again an airship is used as the ultimate symbol of dreamy happiness, this time by Grey Goose vodka.

When you want people to feel uplifted, summon an airship.

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Happy Mother’s Day from the Goodyear Blimp

by Dan Grossman on May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day Goodyear Blimp I Love You Mom

The Goodyear Blimp wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day.

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Hindenburg Disaster Anniversary – May 6, 1937

by Dan Grossman on May 6, 2016

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Every year on May 6, at 7:25 PM Eastern time, I drink several toasts on the anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster. Here are some photos from last year.

Take a moment this evening to remember those who built this great ship, those who flew her, and those who lost their lives.

To the memory of the airship in better times…

hindeburg-toast

To the memory of the man who made it all possible…

Hindenburg disaster tribute to Hugo Eckener

And in memory of those who lost their lives.

Hindenburg disaster tribute to those who lost their lives

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Titanic and Hindenburg

by Dan Grossman on April 14, 2016

People often compare R.M.S. Titanic and A.S. Hindenburgthere was even a film called Hindenburg: Titanic of the Skies. But while both are best remembered for their dramatic disasters, were about the same size, these two passenger ships otherwise had little in common.

On the anniversary of the sinking of Titanic — April 14-15, 1912 —  a brief comparison of the two ships.

Titanic Hindenburg Comparison

  • Titanic: Sank on Maiden Voyage
  • Hindenburg: 62 Successful Flights

Titanic famously sank on her maiden voyage; the ship never once saw the port she was designed to visit, New York.

There is a common misconception that Hindenburg crashed on its maiden voyage as well, but in fact the airship was lost on its 63rd flight, having made many successful voyages between Europe and North and South America.

  • Titanic Death Toll: 68% Died
  • Hindenburg Death Toll: 64% Survived

Titanic was a tragedy both in terms of the number of people who died — 1517 men, women, and children perished in the sinking — and also the tragically low rate of survival: Only 32% of the souls on board Titanic survived, and the death toll was even higher for certain groups; only 25% of third class passengers and 24% of the crew survived the sinking.

While Hindenburg’s fiery destruction may have looked unsurvivable to those on the ground, and to people watching films of the disaster, 64% of the passengers and crew survived the accident. Of the 97 persons on board the airship when it burned, only 35 died in the disaster (along with one civilian on the ground).

  • Titanic: Built for Luxury, Not Speed
  • Hindenburg: Built for Speed, Not Luxury

Titanic was built for size and luxury. The White Star ship was never going to win any speed records, but provided passengers with space and luxury never before seen on any ocean liner. Passengers looking for speed in 1912 would have chosen Mauretania or Lusitania rather than Titanic.

Titanic Cabin compared to Hindenburg Cabin

Titanic Cabin | Hindenburg Cabin

Hindenburg was built for one purpose: to cross the ocean faster than any other passenger vessel in the world. The airship’s passenger accommodations were certainly comfortable, and astounding when compared to a modern jetliner, but not luxurious when compared to an ocean liner; the ship’s windowless cabins were about the size of a small railway compartment and passengers shared public bathrooms one deck below. Passengers looking for luxury would have chosen Queen Mary, but Hindenburg was more than twice as fast: While the fastest ocean liners of the era took about five days to cross the Atlantic, Hindenburg’s fastest crossing took less than 43 hours.

  • Titanic: Conservative Design
  • Hindenburg: Cutting Edge Innovation

Titanic was not a technologically innovative ship; she was basically a larger version of ships that had gone before. Titanic’s main power plant was a tried-and-true triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine (although she had a small turbine powering her center propeller) and most of the ship’s notable features and systems — such as her watertight subdivisions and Marconi radio installation — had been used on previous liners.

Hindenburg, in contrast, represented the cutting edge of airship technology, and was one of the most capable aircraft of any kind in its time. Hindenburg had advanced engines, an auto-pilot, and a sonar altimeter among other innovations, and the zeppelin could carry a greater payload a farther distance than any other aircraft of its day. Though the technology of the airship itself was rapidly becoming obsolete, Hindenburg was the summit of airship development.

  • Titanic: The Beginning of a Golden Age
  • Hindenburg: The End of an Era

Titanic was the beginning of a golden age of transatlantic ocean liners. Titanic’s sister ship Olympic had a distinguished career that lasted until 1935, and the next decades saw a succession of larger and faster ships that included Bremen and Europa, Normandie, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, United States, Queen Elizabeth 2, and France.

Hindenburg was the last airship ever to carry passengers across an ocean. Hindenburg’s near-identical sister ship LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin never carried a paying passenger and was dismantled in 1940.

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Illustration of Hindenburg courtesy of artist Max Pinucci, creator of the beautiful new book AIRSHIPS: Designed for Greatness.

 

 

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In Memoriam: U.S.S. Akron – April 4, 1933

April 4, 2016
Thumbnail image for In Memoriam: U.S.S. Akron – April 4, 1933

U.S.S. Akron, lost at sea April 4, 1933. The crash of U.S.S. Akron was the deadliest airship disaster in history, killing 73 men; there were only three survivors.

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U.S.S. Los Angeles lifts navy ship into the air

April 1, 2016

An April Fool’s joke from the 5 April 1931 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung.

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Video Trailer for “AIRSHIPS: Designed for Greatness”

January 24, 2016

A video trailer about Max Pinucci’s stunning new book. For information about ordering, email me at Dan@Airships.net.

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2016 Goodyear Airship Calendar Giveaway

December 31, 2015

To celebrate the New Year, Airships.net is giving away a 2016 Goodyear Airship Calendar produced by the great folks at the Airship International Press. To enter, visit the Airships.net Facebook page and add a comment to the post about the calendar giveaway. You can say anything you like: “I want one,” “I love the Goodyear Blimp,” anything […]

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Merry Christmas, Friends

December 25, 2015
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New Book about the Airship Roma Disaster

December 22, 2015

A new book about the 1922 airship Roma disaster will be published soon. The Roma was a United States Army airship built by Umberto Nobile; the ship ignited when it hit high-tension electrical wires near Langley Field at Hampton Roads, Virginia, killing 34 of the ship’s 45 crew members. The Roma crash was just one of many hydrogen airship […]

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Lady Grace Drummond-Hay’s 1928 Christmas Card

December 22, 2015

Lady Grace Hay Drummond-Hay’s 1928 Christmas card. Lady Drummond-Hay mailed these cards shortly after her first zeppelin flight in October, 1928, when she a passenger on the first transatlantic flight of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin from Germany to America. A true zeppelin pioneer, Grace Drummond-Hay was also a passenger on Graf Zeppelin’s 1929 Round-the-World flight and Hindenburg’s maiden flight from Germany to the […]

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Santa Rides the Goodyear Blimp

December 21, 2015

Santa traded his sleigh for a Goodyear blimp in 1925. Santa Claus delivered his toys that year aboard Pilgrim, Goodyear’s first advertising blimp, which also served as Goodyear’s first Santa Claus Express. Goodyear’s Christmas generosity continues to this day, supporting the U. S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. Last year Santa received his latest upgrade, to Goodyear’s newest airship: a Zeppelin NT named […]

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Beautiful New Book: “AIRSHIPS: Designed for Greatness”

December 19, 2015

A stunningly beautiful new book about airships has just been published. AIRSHIPS: Designed for Greatness is the work of Italian artist Max Pinucci, who created detailed, accurate, and beautiful illustrations of the world’s most famous airships, along with infographics explaining airship routes, performance, dimensions, and more. AIRSHIPS is available for $160 plus $30 shipping. The book […]

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Queen Mary and Hindenburg: A Detailed Comparison

December 10, 2015
Thumbnail image for Queen Mary and Hindenburg: A Detailed Comparison

For a brief moment in history — in the year 1936 — passengers who wanted to cross the Atlantic had an astounding choice: five days of luxury on R.M.S. Queen Mary, the world’s largest ocean liner, or two days of speed on Hindenburg, the world’s fastest transatlantic passenger aircraft. I recently sat down with maritime historian […]

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Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015
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November 21: The Birthday of Human Flight

November 21, 2015

On November 21, 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, flew over Paris for 25 minutes in a hot air balloon built by the Montgolfier brothers. It was the first manned flight in history. Happy Birthday!

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Happy Airship Halloween

October 31, 2015
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There is NOT a military blimp on the loose

October 28, 2015

Despite widespread but incorrect reports of a “military blimp” on the loose, the JLENS balloon that broke free from its tether is not a blimp. A blimp is a powered, steerable lighter-than-air vessel. JLENS is an aerostat; a tethered balloon that is neither powered nor steerable. Like any other helium balloon, if the string breaks, it just floats […]

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Today in History: The airship America and the First Attempt to Fly the Atlantic

October 15, 2015

On October 15, 1910, Walter Wellman’s airship America departed Atlantic City, New Jersey on the first attempt in history to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air. In honor of this anniversary I have just published a detailed account of the airship and its flight.

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