The Rocketeer and the Zeppelin “Luxembourg”

I recently had the pleasure of discussing airships as a guest host on The Rocketeer Minute, a podcast that devotes a segment to each minute of the 1991 Disney film The Rocketeer. You can listen to the podcast here.

The Rocketeer

The Rocketeer is 108 minutes of avgeek/Dieselpunk heaven featuring a fictional German airship called the LZ-130 Luxembourg, a Gee Bee, Howard Hughes, and tons of other 1930s aircraft.

Here is a short clip of the Rocketeer using his jetpack to fly to the zeppelin to rescue his sweetheart from Errol Flynn some Nazi movie star who bears no resemblance to Errol Flynn:


The Rocketeer Minute is hosted by #avgeeks Hal Bryan of the Experimental Aircraft Association and Jim O’Kane, who also does The Airport Minute, a podcast featuring a minute-by-minute analysis of one of my all-time favorite films, Airport.

(And let me just say that any pilot who does not get choked up when Joe Patroni says, “That’s one nice thing about the 707. It can do everything but read the manual” needs to have his ticket lifted.)

It was an honor and a pleasure to chat with Hal and Jim about zeppelins.

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FrankDagmara LizlovsMichael HoppPatrick Russell Recent comment authors
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If the Hindenburg hadn’t crashed, the LZ 130 would have had pusher-type engine cars, so the design wasn’t too far off! Funny enough, the Luxembourg toy car airship had tractor propellers like the real LZ 130. Whether it would have been named Luxembourg instead of Graf Zeppelin (2/II) is another matter…

They did plan on naming it “Graf Zeppelin 2” (before it was apparent the old Graf would be retired) during its construction, but this didn’t stick on. Contemporary literature typically called it “der neue Graf Zeppelin” or “the new Graf Zeppelin”.

Dagmara Lizlovs
Dagmara Lizlovs

By the way, I love the 707. Have some fond memories. Felt bad when it went out of service. I also love the 727. Many fond memories there too.

Dagmara Lizlovs
Dagmara Lizlovs

I just love The Airport Minute. Airport is one of my top favorite movies too. Currently reading “The Airship Experience” with a forward by Rick Zitarosa. In the portion written by Hans von Schiller, there is a section called “Stowaways and their Extinction”. Von Schiller writes about subjecting stowaways to “singing lessons”. Now what would he do with Ada Quonsette? 🙂

Michael Hopp
Michael Hopp

Loved that movie, and not just for the zeppelin. OK, mostly for Luxembourg, but I’m a sucker for Dieselpunk in general. Now to give that podcast a listen.

Patrick Russell

Interesting bit of trivia: One of the technicians at Industrial Light and Magic who worked on the visual effects for The Rocketeer was Richard “Dick Dova” Spah, whose father, Joseph “Ben Dova” Spah escaped the Hindenburg disaster with a broken ankle. In a book on ILM from about 25-30 years ago (the name of which escapes me at the moment, but it was the second of two coffee table books about ILM) Richard Spah said that when they were sketching out the Luxembourg fire sequence, he brought in Hindenburg crash films that his father had obtained, and showed them to… Read more »