Graf Zeppelin History

Christening of LZ-127 on July 8, 1928 by Countess Helene von Brandenstein-Zeppelin

Christening of LZ-127 on July 8, 1928 by Countess Helene von Brandenstein-Zeppelin. (click all photos to enlarge)

Certainly the most successful zeppelin ever built, LZ-127 was christened “Graf Zeppelin” by the daughter of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin on July 8, 1928, which would have been the late count’s 90th birthday.

By the time of Graf Zeppelin’s last flight, nine years later, the ship had flown over a million miles, on 590 flights, carrying thousands of passengers and hundreds of thousands of pounds of freight and mail, with safety and speed.  Graf Zeppelin circled the globe and was famous throughout the world, and inspired an international zeppelin fever in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Graf Zeppelin Test Flights

Graf Zeppelin made its first flight on September 18, 1928, under the command of Hugo Eckener.  The ship lifted off at 3:32 PM and flew a little over three hours before returning to its base in Friedrichshafen.

A series of successful test flights followed, including a 34-1/2 hour endurance flight during which the new German ship was shown off to the residents of Ulm, Nuremberg, Wurzburg, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bremen, Hugo Eckener’s hometown of Flensburg, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden.

Graf Zeppelin being led from its hangar for its first flight on September 18, 1928

Graf Zeppelin being led from its hangar for its first flight on September 18, 1928. (click all photos to enlarge)

Graf Zeppelin’s First Flight Across the Atlantic

Graf Zeppelin made the very first commercial passenger flight across the Atlantic, departing Friedrichshafen at 7:54 AM on October 11, 1928, and landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey on October 15, 1928, after a flight of 111 hours and 44 minutes.   The ship carried 40 crew members under the command of Hugo Eckener, and 20 passengers including American naval officer Charles E. Rosendahl and Hearst newspaper reporter Lady Grace Drummond-Hay.

The ship’s first transatlantic crossing almost ended in disaster when it encountered a strong squall line on the morning of October 13th.  Captain Eckener had uncharacteristically entered the storm at full power — he was known to reduce speed in bad weather — and the ship pitched up violently in the hands of an inexperienced elevatorman; the airships R-38 and USS Shenandoah had broken up under similar circumstances.

Repair party fixing the covering of Graf Zeppelin's fin, showing the extensive damage suffered in the squall.

In-flight repair of Graf Zeppelin’s fin, showing the extensive damage suffered in the squall and the dangerous conditions faced by the repair party.

Eckener and his officers re-established control, but soon learned that the lower covering of the port fin had been torn away, threatening further damage which would have rendered the ship uncontrollable.  Eckener sent a repair team of four men — including his son, Knut Eckener; senior elevatorman and future zeppelin commander Albert Sammt; and Ludwig Knorr, who would become chief rigger on LZ-129 Hindenburg — to repair the covering in flight.  Eckener also made the difficult decision to send out a distress call, knowing that he was risking the reputation of his brand new ship, and perhaps the entire zeppelin enterprise. The distress signal was soon picked up by the press, and newspapers around the world ran sensational stories about the looming destruction of the overdue Graf Zeppelin on its maiden voyage.

The damaged port fin after arrival at Lakehurst (view from floor of hangar)

The damaged port fin after arrival at Lakehurst (view from floor of hangar)

The emergency repairs were successful, but the ship encountered a second squall front near Bermuda.  Graf Zeppelin made it through the second storm, even with the temporary repairs to the damaged fin, and reached the American coast on the morning of October 15th.  After a detour over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, to show Graf Zeppelin off to the wildly enthusiastic American public, Eckener brought his damaged ship to a safe landing at the United States naval base at Lakehurst, New Jersey on the evening of October 15, 1928.  Graf Zeppelin was overdue, damaged, and had run out of food and water, but Eckener, his crew, and his passengers were greeted like heroes with a ticker-tape parade along New York City’s Broadway.

After two weeks of repairs to the damaged fin, Graf Zeppelin departed Lakehurst on October 29, 1928 for its return to Germany.  The return flight took 71 hours and 49 minutes, or just under three days; the ocean liners of the day took twice as long to carry passengers across the Atlantic.

Graf Zeppelin route across the Atlantic

Graf Zeppelin’s route across the Atlantic

Graf Zeppelin Round-the-World Flight (“Weltfahrt”)

Map of LZ-127 Rount-the-World flight

Map of Round-the-World flight (click to enlarge)

In 1929, Graf Zeppelin made perhaps its most famous flight; a round-the-world voyage covering 21,2500 miles in five legs from Lakehurst to Friedrichshafen, Friedrichshafen to Tokyo, Tokyo to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Lakehurst, and then Lakehurt to Friedrichshafen again.

It was the first passenger-carrying flight around the world and received massive coverage in the world’s press.

The flight was partly sponsored by American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who paid for about half the cost of the flight in return for exclusive media rights in the United States and Britain.

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Cover carried on the first leg of Graf Zeppelin’s 1929 flight around the world

Hearst had insisted that the flight begin and end in America, while the Germans naturally thought the Round-the-World flight of a German ship should begin and end in Germany.  As a compromise, there were two official flights; the “American” flight began and ended at Lakehurst, while the “German” flight began and ended at Friedrichshafen.

Lady Grace Drummond Hay's ticket

Lady Grace Drummond Hay’s ticket

The Round-the-World flight carried 60 men and one woman, Hearst newspaper reporter Lady Grace Hay-Drummond-Hay, whose presence and reporting greatly increased the public’s interest in the journey.  Other passengers included journalists from several countries, American naval officers Charles Rosendahl and Jack C. Richardson, polar explorer and pilot Sir Hubert Wilkins, young American millionaire Bill Leeds, and representatives of Japan and the Soviet Union.

Graf Zeppelin left Friedrichshafen on July 27, 1929 and crossed the Atlantic to Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the “American” flight began on August 7, 1929 with an eastbound crossing back to Germany.

Lakehurst – Friedrichshafen

August 7, 1929 – August 10, 1929
7,068 km / 55 hrs 22 mins

Weltfahrt: Lakehurst - Friedrichshafen

Friedrichshafen – Tokyo
August 15, 1929 – August 19, 1929
11,247 km / 101 hrs 49 mins

weltfahrt-map-fried-tokyo

Tokyo – Los Angeles
August 23, 1929 – August 26, 1929
9,653 km / 79 hrs 3 mins

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Los Angeles – Lakehurst
August 27, 1929 – August 29, 1929
4,822 km / 51 hrs 57 mins

weltfahrt-map-la-nj

Lakehurst – Friedrichshafen
September 1, 1929 – September 4, 1929
8,478 km / 57 hrs 31 mins

 [see a complete list of passengers and crew aboard the flight]

The longest leg of the journey was the 11,247 km, 101 hour 49 minute flight from Friedrichshafen to Tokyo, which crossed thousands of miles of emptiness over Siberia.  A planned flight over Moscow had to be canceled due to adverse winds, prompting an official complaint from the government of Soviet dicatator Joseph Stalin, which felt slighted by the change in plan.  The passage over Russia’s Stanovoy mountain range in eastern Siberia brought Graf Zeppelin to an altitude of 6,000 feet.  The ship landed to a tumultuous welcome and massive press coverage in Japan, where a crowd estimated at 250,000 people greeted the ship’s arrival and Emperor Hirohito entertained Eckener and guests at tea.

The next leg of the flight crossed the Pacific ocean enroute to Los Angeles; Eckener deliberately timed his flight down the American coast to make a dramatic entrance through San Francisco’s Golden Gate with the sun setting behind the ship.  According to F.W. “Willy” von Meister (later New York representative of the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei), Eckener explained:  “When for the first time in world history an airship flies across the Pacific, should it not arrive at sunset over the Golden Gate?”

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin landing at Los Angeles, 1929

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin landing at Los Angeles, 1929

After slowly cruising down the California coast to land in daylight the next morning, Graf Zeppelin made a difficult landing at Los Angeles on August 26th, through a temperature inversion which made it difficult to bring the ship down, requiring the valving of large quantities of hydrogen.  The lost hydrogen could not be replaced at Los Angeles, and the takeoff, with the ship unusually heavy, was even more challenging; Graf Zeppelin only narrowly missed hitting power lines at the edge of the field.

After a difficult summertime passage over the deserts of Arizona and Texas, Graf Zeppelin flew east across America.  The ship was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the people of Chicago, and ended its record breaking flight with a landing at Lakehurst the morning of August 29, 1929.  The Lakehurst to Lakehurst voyage had taken just 12 days and 11 minutes of flying time, and brought worldwide attention and fame to Graf Zeppelin and its commander, Hugo Eckener.

The flight is the subject of the largely fictional Dutch film Farewell.

Graf Zeppelin Polar Flight

Graf Zeppelin landing on water during polar flight

Graf Zeppelin landing on water during polar flight

In July, 1931, Graf Zeppelin carried a team of scientists from Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Sweden on an exploration of the Arctic, making meteorological observations, measuring variations in the earth’s magnetic field in the latitudes near the North Pole, and making a photographic survey of unmapped regions using a panoramic camera that automatically took several pictures per minute.  The size, payload, and stability of the zeppelin allowed heavy scientific instruments to be carried and used with an accuracy that would not have been possible with the airplanes of the day.

Soviet airmail stamp showing Graf Zeppelin and icebreaker Malygin

Soviet airmail stamp showing Graf Zeppelin and icebreaker Malygin

The polar journey, like other zeppelin flights, was largely financed by stamp collectors; Graf Zeppelin carried approximately 50,000 letters sent by philatelists, and made a water-landing to exchange mail with the Soviet icebreaker Malygin, which itself carried a large quantity of mail sent by stamp collectors.

After the three-day Arctic flight, which included a landing in Leningrad, Graf Zeppelin returned to Berlin to a hero’s welcome at Tempelhof airfield, where the ship was met by celebrities including famed polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd.

[Read a detailed account of the Graf Zeppelin's Polar Flight.]

The Century of Progress Flight to 1933 Chicago World’s Fair

By late 1933, Graf Zeppelin had not been to the United States in over four years, since the Round-the-World flight of 1929.  When the Zeppelin Company was asked to fly the ship to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, officially dubbed the “Century of Progress International Exposition,” Eckener agreed on condition that the United States issue a special commemorative stamp and share the postal revenue with the Zeppelin Company.  After initial opposition by the United States Post Office (and President Franklin Roosevelt’s initial rejection of the idea of a fourth zeppelin stamp), the Post Office eventually agreed to issue the stamp, and so at the end of Graf Zeppelin’s last flight to South America in October, 1933, instead of returning directly to Germany from Brazil, Graf Zeppelin flew to the United States for stops in Miami, Akron, and Chicago.

    "Century of Progress" Graf Zeppelin stamp, Scott # C18 (the "Baby Zepp")

“Century of Progress” Graf Zeppelin stamp, Scott # C18 (the “Baby Zepp”)

While Graf Zeppelin’s appearance was one of the highlights of the Chicago Fair, the swastika-emblazoned ship, which was viewed as a symbol of the new government in Berlin, triggered strong political responses from both supporters and opponents of Hitler’s regime, especially among German-Americans.  The political controversy muted the enthusiasm that Americans had previously displayed toward the German ship during its earlier visits, and when Eckener took Graf Zeppelin on a aerial circuit around Chicago to show his ship to the residents of the city, he was careful to to fly a clockwise pattern so that Chicagoans would see only the tricolor German flag on the starboard fin, and not the swastika flag painted on the port fin under the new regulations issued by the German Air Ministry.

Swastika on LZ-127

Graf Zeppelin and the Nazis

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The Graf Zeppelin was recruited as a tool of Nazi propaganda remarkably soon after the National Socialist takeover of power in early 1933.  Only three months after Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor, the Propaganda Ministry ordered Graf Zeppelin to fly over Berlin as part of the government’s May 1, 1933 celebration of the “Tag de Nationalen Arbeit,” the Nazi version of the May Day celebration of labor.

Later in May, 1933, Graf Zeppelin flew to Rome in connection with Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ first official meeting with the fascist government of Italy; Goebbels invited Italian Air Minister Italo Balbo to join him on a flight over Rome.

In September, 1933, Graf Zeppelin flew over the Reichsparteitag congress at Nuremberg (the “1933 Nuremberg Rally’) to dramatically herald Hitler’s appearance before the crowd.

Throughout the remainder of its career Graf Zeppelin was ordered to make numerous propaganda flights, occasionally in concert with LZ-129 Hindenburg after that ship was launched in 1936.

South American Service

By the summer of 1931, after many pioneering flights which demonstrated the airship’s impressive capabilities and captured the enthusiasm of the world, Graf Zeppelin began regularly scheduled commercial service on the route between Germany and South America.

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Brochure for zeppelin service to South America

The passage to South American was an almost ideal route for a German airship; Brazil and Argentina had a considerable German population, and there were strong business and trade connections between these countries and Germany, yet the transportation of mail, passengers, and freight by ship took weeks. In addition, the ships to South America were far less comfortable than the luxury liners which crossed the North Atlantic to New York. Graf Zeppelin reduced the travel time between Germany and South America from weeks to days, and was therefore hugely popular.

Zeppelins were the fastest way to send mail across the Atlantic in the laye 1920's and early 1930's.  Zeppelin flights to South America, in particular, saved weeks of time in transit.

Graf Zeppelin’s service to South America. (click to enlarge)

Graf Zeppelin crossed the South Atlantic 18 times in 1932, and made a similar number of flights in 1933. By 1934, the Zeppelin Company was advertising a regular service to South America, departing Germany almost every other Saturday to Brazil, with connecting airplane flights to Argentina. In 1935 and 1936, Graf Zeppelin’s schedule was almost exclusively devoted to passenger and mail service between Germany and Brazil, with crossings back and forth almost every two weeks between April and December. Over its career, Graf Zeppelin crossed the South Atlantic 136 times; it was first regularly scheduled, nonstop, intercontinental airline service in the history of the world.

Graf Zeppelin’s Last Flight

Hans von Schiller

Hans von Schiller

Graf Zeppelin was over the Canary Islands on the last day of a South American flight from Brazil to Germany when it received news of the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Captain Hans von Schiller withheld the news from his passengers, and told them of the disaster only after the ship’s safe landing in Germany.

Graf Zeppelin landed in Friedrichshafen on May 8, 1937, and never carried a paying passenger again. The ship made only one additional flight, on June 18, 1937, from Friedrichshafen to Frankfurt, where she remained on display — all her hydrogen removed — until she was broken up on the orders of Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe in March, 1940.

Graf Zeppelin Photographs and Postcards

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin on the Bodensee (Lake Constance)

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LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin on the Bodensee (Lake Constance)

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin over the airship hangars at Friedrichshafen

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin over the airship hangars at Friedrichshafen

Graf Zeppelin at Friedrichshafen Hangar

Airship Graf Zeppelin at its Friedrichshafen Hangar

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin landing at Friedrichshafen

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin landing at Friedrichshafen

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin dropping water ballast during landing

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin dropping water ballast during landing

Control car of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

Control car of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

graf-zepp-oceanliner019web

Graf Zeppelin flying above an ocean liner

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{ 196 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Phipps August 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

It was probably May 1936 when I was in a car with my Father that he pointed out the Graf Zeppelin flying low. For many years I puzzled over where it had been. I would have been four and a half at the time. Unfortunately, I did not ask him where it was and years later I found the bridge and railway embankment near the Kingston Bypass where everything was the right type and at the angles and shape that I recalled. From this it would seem to have been over Merton heading roughly toward Croydon. One cannot mistake something so large. Does anyone have a record of such a flight that summer?

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Juanita Jones June 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm

My uncle, Alfred Fricke, in Greensboro NC was
questioned by federal agents after the Lakehurst crash, because he had told a neighbor BEFORE the crash, that he had a premonition that it was going to crash.

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Ray May 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

I have a few real photos of the Graf where it appears to be in Egypt as there is one particular 6 x4 photo where it is flying between two pyramids, it is very clear and very close. What date would this have been taken. I will try and scan the photo and send it.

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Aldo Corrales April 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Hi, thanks for the best information on our beloved zeppelins, im asking if you know about the short movie “LZ 127″ made in Spain, these are the links of trailer, making of, and the short film itslelf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow5G5mwhA0Y , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czxh4chbW2s and short movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCRvjhso8p4 i hope that you and Graf Zeppelin fans enjoy it, best wishes from Chile, Southamerica!!!!!

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C. Gordon Porter January 16, 2014 at 10:15 am

What a treat in about 1933 for a farm boy to see the Zeppelin fly over our country homestead at age 8 years old near the Niagara-Orleans county line Barker, New York it was a historical event at that time in the 20th Century. Gordie

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Guy Briand January 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm

My father had given me a picture of the Graf Zeppelin – with the swastica on its sides (little did we know then, not even de Gaule – flewing over the post office
of the French Archipelago Saint Pierre et Mquelon, before it reached New York.

I had sent that picture to friends in Kassel (Germany) where I had resided while a student in the ’80s.

Any chance to recover that picture

Danke sehr, Guy Brand

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DK December 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

My dad was a member of the landing/mooring crew for the Graf at Mines Field, LA, in August 1929. He did talk about
helping to “reel it in” to the mast at landing, but didn’t say much about problems when it lifted off.
Historical Note: 11 years and a few hundred yards from the Graf landing sight, NAA, North American Aviation,
designed and started manufacture of the P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell bomber and AT-6/SNJ Texan trainer!

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Bud Baden January 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Howdy DK:
Just read about your Dad and the Graf at LA. About a day after that I saw the Graf over Independence, KS. (See my reply to this website several years ago). Would you have any pictures or other information on the event? Interesting about the Graf and NAA. How did the field happen to get the name “Mines”? Thanks for your comment.

Bud

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horacio callegari November 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

No llegué a conocerlo. El LZ 127 estuvo en Buenos Aires en 1934 y yo nací en 1937. Sin embargo me entusiasma todo lo que voy reuniendo sobre él. He llegado a juntar una buena cantidad y me propuse escribir sobre la única visita que el Graf Zeppelin realizó a Argentina.
Llegó en una fría mañana, el 30 de junio de 1934, al mando de Hugo Eckener, quien prometió volver… pero razones políticas y económicas lo impidieron y nunca más nos visitó.
Hablé con viejos vecinos que tuvieron la suerte de verlo (hoy son gente de más de 85 años y de buena memoria) y todos coinciden en lo maravilloso de su vuelo.
Gracias don Ferdinand por el hermoso regalo que nos brindó!!

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ken October 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm

fantastic imformative website on airships in fact superb…… now here is my question regarding graf 127 did this airship ever visit the united kingdom coastal town of cleethorpes in the 1930,s or any locations over grimsby lincolnshire period 1930 upwards .im very interested in finding out if it flew over the east coast heading towards cleethorpes grimsby lincoln etc etc

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melumar September 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Hello,
very nice Website!!!
I collect absolute everything from the LZ 127 and also from the other LZ´s!
In 2011 I visit Lakehurst. I can´t describe, but there was a specially Spirit. I also visit the littele Museum with all the lovely present peaces of the Zeppelins.
Best wishes form Dortmund, Germany!!! … and GLÜCK AB!!!

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Paul L September 20, 2013 at 4:55 am

I’ve been going through some old family photograph albums and 16mm cine film taken during my grandparents touring holiday to Austria in 1937. There are some stills of the Graf Zeppelin in a hanger draped in huge swaskitas and some cine footage of it comining in to land. I’m trying to find out whether this footage was public domain footage edited in for effect or not. My Grandfather was in engineering management here in the UK so might have had more access than most people.
There is also a snip of a “push + pull” engined flying boat taking off from Bodensee.
I’ll post again if I get any more information.

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Edward King September 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

Hi,
This is my first visit to the website and arises because I have today bought at auction a 1931 painting of the LZ127 Graf Zeppelin. The painting shows the airship at Hanworth Air Park London on 18th August 1931. Its in watercolour and gouache 36cm x 53cm and is signed and dated by V. Fitz- Gerald. I hope the information is of interest and can be linked with some of the sightings which have been recorded.

Edward

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E. Anzempamber June 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I was born 1932 and saw a very large Airship fly over Glasgow. I remember standing at the BotanicGardens during the day, it seemed awsome and direct overhead. Can’t remember the year but must been 1936/ 37. Even at my age now of 81 the image remains clear.

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Thomas Vincente Cortellesi May 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

*This question has been nagging at me for a while*
If the Akron crashed by hitting water, wasn’t it extremely dangerous for a zeppelin of the type to land on water? How did the Graf Zeppelin do it in the Arctic?

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Hendrick Stoops June 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Akron didn’t exactly ‘land’ on the water. The Graf Zeppelin had inflatable ‘bubbles’ fitted to the forward control gondola and the aft engine car. I’m fairly certain, however, that the water had to be fairly calm. The Graf also landed on Lake Constance (the Bodensee).

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Chris May 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

I was born in 1931 and lived in Bruce Avenue, Worthing from 1933 /1938
During this time I saw a great silver airship with the German Nazi Markings in red and black on the tail fins. It was very low and heading North East. I think I must have been 6 at the time, so 1937 is my beat recollection. I also rememmber being told that an airship appeared over Wembley Stadium during an FA Cup Final ?
In those days Hawker Furies from Tangmere were regular visitors. Happy days. !

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Frank Felcman April 14, 2013 at 10:22 am

I lived in Sealy, TX (50 mi. W. of Houston) in 1933. I was 9 yrs old when the Graf flew over going generally east to west. A year or so ago I read a blog by a man in Austin, TX that he had seen it near Austin on the same flight. This had to be the So. America to Chicago flight. What flight path did it take to end up over this part of Texas?

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leo March 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Hello to all, im a 3d artist working on a 3d model of the LZ 127, im working on the right scales, i mean the 3d model is going to have the exact proportions as the original (real) one..
Bu i miss somes importants informations, about this dirigible.

i need to know the Lengh of the deck cabin and width and height,.
if someone can help.

also im looking for informations about the interior because i have to model everything inside the dirigible.
and here too, i need somes informations at the moment the most important information i need its, i have to create everything inside, also the wallpapers, in the differents rooms, and for that im looking about colors, colors informations about thoses vintages wallpapers, because i have to recreate the original fabrics of the inside.

i want to create a 3d model the mst realistic possible, eo every information its very important for my and my work.

you can contact me trough my website or my email: imothep85@hotmail.com

thanks to all for reading me, and i hope to have some help.

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JILL BRISTOW March 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I was born in 1929 and lived on the Brighton Sussex (England) seafront until 1940. I distinctly remember seeing an airship out to sea from our balcony. I think I would have been between 6 and 9 years old. Could it have been the Hindenberg en route to America? I would love to know. Thanks. Jill (now living in Scotland).

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Dan March 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Hindenburg did pass over that area of the coast on her way to America in 1936, so it is very possible!

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Dick December 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

The first time I can remember looking up in wonder was the evening of November 23, 1931, when I was almost 7. That was a lot closer to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln than to that of Barack Obama, only a generation after the Wright Brothers first flew, and 3 years after Charles Lindbergh turned the eyes of the world skyward with his solo flight from New York to Paris. Perhaps my favorite comic strip then was Buck Rogers, in which space ships traversed the heavens. That memorable night my parents stopped our car and woke me. We got out to watch an apparent space ship just above us. A huge dark cloud obscuring the moon and some stars, it was outlined by white and red and green lights, and accompanied by the thrumming of 8 motors as it slowly passed perhaps 400 feet overhead. It could fly that low because there were no TV tower obstructions then. As newspapers reported the next morning, the apparition was the Navy’s USS Akron (ZRS-4), then the largest of the world’s several dirigibles. It could retrieve, launch and store 5 small planes, and had a range of over ten thousand miles.
The above is from my blog DresellyFly.blogspot.com, which also shows a newspaper account of this flight over Portland, Maine.

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Caroline October 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I have come across 2 photos of the Graf Zeppelin. They have info written on the back. One says… Passing over St Leonards Pier August 1931. The other says…On it’s way to Bexhill, Eastbourne and round coast. August 1931.

I hope this helps with anyone who is wondering if they were in those areas at those times.

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Don McCready September 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

Don,
I will never forget seeing the Graf Zeppelin fly over Ann Arbor. MI when I was a child.
My family lived on Hogback Rd close to its intersection with Washtenaw ave, and we had stood at that intersection, ready to watch it float over.
I recall that it was headed East, making a quiet rumbling sound.
Today I finally know to date that clear memory as being from 1933, (evidently in October) when I was 6-1/2 years old. Everything else matches. The next year we visited the Chicago Word Fair

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Ron June 15, 2012 at 9:42 am

I came across and pure silver coin for the 50th Anniversary of the Graf Zeppelin in my dad’s things. cannot find any info on this item elsewhere, can anyone help?
Thank you.

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Frances Close March 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm

My mother flew on the Hindenburg in 1936. How can we find out if she is the oldest living passenger left?

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Alex H. June 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Hi, my grandmother is alive she flew the Graf Zeppelin LZ 127 back to South America from the Berlin Olympic games in 1936. She is 88 this year. Cheers,

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Scott Wall March 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Hi, My friend gave me an unusual item last year; a Graf Zepplin menu that depicts on the cover, the famous dirigible flying over the Sherry Netherland Hotel in NYC’s central park. 1929 I believe…Inside, the menu says what day of the flight it is and what the people could choose to dine on.
I’m not sure it’s worth anything but I’d like to have it appraised by a knowledgable Dirigible expert. Any suggestions??

Thanks so much,

Scott

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jennb January 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

hello:

i have been looking for movies that deal with zeppelins. i got master of the world, zeppelin with michael york and the lost zeppelin. i have been also looking for a couple on amazon of the film farewell. they don’t carry it yet. when is it going to be on amazon?

thanks

jennb

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Stan McNabb January 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

While I was checking some old not-mailed nor written on postcards, I found that I have the exact same postcard of the L. A. as displayed second up from the USS Los Angeles statistics…signed by the photographer (Rell Clements, Jr. copyright 1928–Photo #4). It appears that the photo in the above picture is #3. Also, I have four postcards (not written on or mailed) of the Graf Zeppelin…a. taking off from the mat, b. on the deck by hanger, c. shot of the tail section taken from inside the hanger while the L. A. is several feet out of the hanger, and d. a picture of the kitchen. The kitchen picture has a copyrighted signature by H. Metz. Anybody know what these postcards might be worth?
Stan McNabb
former PAC, ZPG-2 at ZP-3, NAS Lakehurst 1958-61

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Lee Eisinger January 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hello, I have found a post card that was stamped with a German Airmail stamp and cancelled may 15, 1929 on the LZ 127 flight. My grandfather owned a restaurant in Akron Ohio during that time and Zeppelin pilots used to stay at his house. Hugo Eckener gave my grandfather a book on the Zeppelin that is of course all in German. He autographed the book with a personal message to my grandfather.
I am going to let the Lighter than Air Society in Akron scan it if they can do so without damaging it. Does anyone have any idea of the value of these two items?
Thanks

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Ricky December 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The Graf Zeppelin was fantastic. If there was no II World War and United States could sell helio to Germany. trasatlantic and transpacific flyth for general public would have been reality much earlier than what happened. The first airplanes that were confident for people to flyth across both occeans were enormeous hidroplanes Catalinas and the first capable plane tu land was de DC 4, not fiable for general peopple for such long flyth over the ocean. People had to wait for the Constelations, much faster than DC 4 and it appen several years later.

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Pat December 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Two years after my father in law’s death, I finally investigated a huge chest of documents and pictures my husband brought back from San Francisco. I’ve barely made a dent but discovered an 8 x 10 photo of the Graf Zeppelin LZ 127 flying over San Francisco in August 1929. Photo was taken by “Captain Bill Royle” who I think might have been the pilot flying the plane hired by William Randolph Hearst to take pictures of that leg of the Around the World Flight.

I spent all day researching and haven’t seen that photo anywhere else. It was presented to my husband’s grandfather — a famous NBC orchestra leader in San Francisco in the 1920′s and 1930′s — by Captain Royle in appreciation of his “masterful rendition of the “Shooting of Dan McGrew”

I’d like to hear from anyone who might have similar photographs, stories, or who knows for sure who Captain Bill Royle was. Or for that matter, anyone who knows anything about NBC Viennese orchestra leader Josef Hornik

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Gavin-H November 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

Hi, I just found your great website.

I’m looking for information on the September 11, 1931 flight to Switzerland.

In particular, the timetable, the passenger list and any other background information.

I do know that this flight was associated with a philatelic exhibition (“MOPHILA”) held a couple of weeks earlier in Hamburg (August 22-30). Mail sent on the flight had a special cachet, and the exhibition programme refers to a prize draw of a seat on the flight. Any information on the winner of the prize would be especially welcome.

Thanks in advance for your interest.

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PAFAWAG October 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hi,

I was interested in zeppelins since I was 11. This year I found this awesome website, and, just after finishing my expanded level physics baccalaureate, I started to build the LZ127 Graf Zeppelin 1:100 model… I finished three months ago. Now my enormous zeppelin (236,6-cm long grey monster made of balsa, mylar, threads and polipropylene) is waiting patiently for lifting gas – helium (capacity approx. 112 l…). The making of this model would not be possible without this awesome website. Thank You!

(But the adventure does not finish with 1:100 LZ127… Now under construction is 1:87 LZ11 :) )

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Lisa August 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Hello
I live in Venice California. I have a photo of a zepplin flying above my neighbors house. She has this dated 1935. She is in her 90′s . She believes this to be DLZ 129 but someone mentioned it could have been DLZ 127 is there a way for me to find more flight schedule info or do you happen to know this off hand?
If you send me an address I can scan photo if it is of any interest to you.
Thank You for all of this wonderful historical information!
Lisa

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Hendrick Stoops December 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

If the photo was in fact taken in 1935, then it could not have been the Hindenburg (which began North American service in 1936)

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Francisco Carvallo January 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

The Hindenburg (to my knowledge) never flew on the west coast. If it was 1935 it may have been (very early) 1935 one of the last flights of the USS Macon?

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Sergio Willians August 23, 2011 at 11:40 am

Please, I wonder if the ZL-127 Graf Zeppelin flew over the city of Santos, Brazil, in November 1935. You have the script for the ZL-127 this month?

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Vickie DiCasa June 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I have in my possession a Graf Zeppelin ticket dated August 7, 1929 from Lakehurst, NJ to Friedrichschafen along with a letter from Mayor Jimmy Walker congratulating Dr. Eckener. The ticket was for a Nathan Wexler who was to return on the zeppelin’s voyage back across the Atlantic.
The price on the ticket says it cost $2000.00 plus $5.00 tax. That’s a lot of money for that day and age.
Does anyone know what these papers are worth??? I’m interested in selling and I will be putting them on E-bay.

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Stephen Cullen August 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Hi Vickie,
I would be interested in knowing if you still have the items mentioned as i do collect Zepplin phillately.

What price are you asking?

Regards
stephen Cullen
Willemoesgade 89, lll
6700 Esbjerg
Denmark

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Vickie DiCasa August 24, 2011 at 1:57 am

Hi Stephen,
Yes, I still have the items. I can send pictures if you wish. The ticket looks like the one posted on the website of Lady Grace’s ticket. What is your offer? I checked and the postage would be approximately, $30.00 from the US to Denmark. I cannot find any prices online for this type of item. Looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully we can settle on a price.
Thanks,
Vickie DiCasa

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Henry Franke October 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Dear Ms. DiCasa,
I am wondering if you had sold the two items you mentioned in an earlier message (ticket and letter).
Thanks,
Henry Franke

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Vickie DiCasa November 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Dear Mr. Franke,
I still have the 2 items if you are interested.
Vickie DiCasa

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Billy C. May 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I have a number of actual news photos of the graf zeppelin and spruce goose and some photos of charles lindenberg at pan-american air conference , and of a plane called stranasovietov. a picture of hugo eckener skipper of the graf and his son knut eckener, and some of the hindenberg. These photos where taken by the associated press and international news, and i would like to know if you could tell me what they might be worth, or you know someone who might know. Thanks Billy C.

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Tom May 9, 2011 at 3:22 am

I have a picture of the Graf Zeppelin over what appears to be a Nordic city dated may 14 1931.
Does anyone know which city that would be?
I suspect Copenhagen

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george huisking March 20, 2011 at 7:06 am

My grandfather( George Huisking ) took a business trip to germany on the Graf Zeppelin some time in the 30′s. Are there passenger manifests that I puruse?

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Gordon Cowley September 2, 2010 at 2:04 am

What happened to the comment that i posted on the Chicago Worlds Fair Graf Zeppelin flight ? I have since found out that the badge is an erzatz copy not the real thing.

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Gordon Cowley August 31, 2010 at 3:05 am

I have just purchased a Graf Zeppelin badge dated 1933. It seems to have been produced for the Chicago World Fair and the 1933 Graf Zeppelin flight, Europe, South America, Chicago and on to Europe. It is marked as follows. Maker Kerbach of Dresden (on the reverse), Nord-u.Sudamerika, Jubilaumsfahrt 1933 on the front. The badge is a horizontal oval with the wording in a yellow band around the outside, There is a light blue sky and a dark blue sea with waves, The Graf Zeppielin is a separate piece of silver metal stuck on the badge in the sky area. Is it rare ? Was it carried from Germany to Rio de Janiero and on to the Word’s Fair and sold there ? If not, was it sold at Chicago and how did it get there ?

Gordon Cowley of Oz.

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warner dailey April 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

Greetings I have the same badge identical except mine has a tomato worm green oval band instead of the yellow one.Purchased it from an arms fair in London today for £35 (about 50 bucks) . Did you ever discover an further information about yours? It certainly is a wonderful piece of deco design and I have no desire to sell it ,just wondered if you had found out anything more about them. Best wishes, Warner

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Airship127 August 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Dan,
I am a zeppelin enthusiast, and am overjoyed to have access to your detailed, and exciting website. Thank you.

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Jan Pegler July 7, 2010 at 7:53 am

We were amazed to find this site. My Dad who was born in 1923 was just telling me that when he was about 5(ish) he saw an airship over Bristol. Can you tell me which one it is likely to be plase. Dad thinks it was the Graf Zeppelin.

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Linda B August 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Hi Jan,

I remember watching a slide show at my local photo club in Keynsham about 12 years ago and we were shown a slide of an airship over Bristol near Castle Park in the 1930s I have also been searching for which airship it was. All I remember was the swazstika on the tail fin. I will keep researching it as I found it fascinating. Even though what happened over 70 years ago was not nice I still think the Zeppelin and Hindenburg are beautiful creations.

Linda

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Bob Farren April 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

30-April-2011
I have a distinct memory of seeing an Airship cruising East to West along the South Downs here in Sussex. I was told it was Graf Zepellin, the date would have been around 1930 which would make about 4yrs old at the time. It so happens that I passed the spot while out walikng this afternoon, triggering my memory.

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Andreew Gibbon-Williams September 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

My grandfather (d. 1936) was an eary cine enthusiast and filmed the GRAF ZEPPELIN over BARRY SOUTH WALES. I reckon this was about 1930 but I want to make sure of the date. Can you help? There must be records of the airship’s round Britain tour.

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Mitch Kaba June 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I recently acquired a reel of 16mm film documenting the transatlantic flight of the Graf Zeppelin. I haven’t been able to find any information about this film and am Guessing it might be quite rare. Here is a picture of the box it came in. I’m planning to have it digitized soon so that the images will be preserved.

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Ron Highcock June 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I was born in 1930 and was impressed by an Airship I saw cruising slowly near my grandparents’ home on the outskirts of St.Helens, Lancashire. My guess is that it was sometime in the period 1935 to 1937. I have assumed the craft was the Hindenburg or could it have been the Graf Zeppelin?
Thank you for the excellent articles on this site.

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A.J. "Bud" Baden May 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm

In 1929 I was about 5 years old and early one August morning my father got me out of bed and in my pajamas he held me up to see the Graf Zepplin hanging overhead with its engines idling in a low rumble. I would guess that it was only about 2 or 3 hundred feet overhead and I recall it extended for about 3 of our city blocks in Independence, Kansas, where I lived at the time. Our local paper in Southeast Kansas had been following its round the world flight and predicted its arrival.

I will never forget this experience and I’ve wondered if there are any pictures in the German Zepplin Museum where perhaps pictures of a US town named “Independence” might have been taken that morning.

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Alan David May 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I live in Chase County, KS and near the 75th anniversary of the Graf Zeppelin’s around the word flight I mentioned to the local paper the upcoming date and the possibility of her crossing the county, following the Santa Fe rail line to Chicago. I figured that would be a very obvious route to follow. Sure enough, the editor found two people who had actually seen her fly over! ADavid
BTW Love your site!

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Sheree Jordan May 12, 2010 at 3:04 am

Do you have any idea what the 3 interconnecting circles are on the markings of the early zeppelins? They are later turned into the olympic rings on the LZ129 at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where Hitler had Nazi propaganda dropped on the crowd as the Hindenberg flew over. I would appreciate any info you could share ewith me, i am writing a book about Led Zeppelin. Thanks! S. Jordan

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Harry Meikle May 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Sometime between 1934 and 1938 I was on the flat playground roof of my school (St.James) which was next to Liverpool Cathedral. A Zeppelin Luftschiffe flew very low over the cathedral and school so that we kids could see the people in the gondola looking out.
My father said that he suspected that the aircrew would have been taking photographs for military purposes. Can you tell me the exact date and which aircraft it was ?

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Joan Foster May 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm

My mother in law, Joan Foster, was on the same roof. She would love to share any memories.
John Stone York.

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John Robertson June 13, 2014 at 3:25 am

I was born in May 1932 and lived at Victoria Park Wavertree Liverpool and remember being taken into the garden to view an airship passing over the house. I suspect I would be 5/6 years old at the time. The memory is clear to this day but the date impossible to determine.

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Arthur Nonhof April 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

Would anyone know the the route taken by the Graf Zeppelin during the U.S. leg of the world tours? More specifically the route taken from Chicago eastward. My father lived in southwest Michigan in the late 1920′s and 30′s and witnessed the fly over of the zeppelin. I am try to figure whereabouts he might have seen it. He often mentioned that when it passed over the zeppelin played a tune over speakers to those on the ground for Pheiffer Beer: “drink Pfeiffer…make mine Pfeiffer…”. Is there any infromation about the ship being used to advertise? I’ve read on the internet that Pfeiffer Beer was brewed in Detroit at that time so the advertizing would make sense. Any reply is appreciated. A.N.

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Nicole August 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Probably October 26, 1933.

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Gerhild Naggert September 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

One of my ansestors told me, Graf Zepplin flew over Ann Arbor, Michigan. One of his relatives with the name of “Zulz” or ” Zuelz” was in the chartroom of the Graf Zepplin, anybody has some info on this?

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Henry Krueger November 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

What your father saw was the Pfeifer Blimp and it sailed the skies, above Detroit, during the early to mid-50′s.

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Ty March 29, 2010 at 11:46 pm

G.E Jones asked about swastikas on the hindenbur/zeppelins tails. I have a postcard that is not part of book zeppelin weltfahrten but was just pasted in the back and with a jewellers magnifier showed both air ships having swastikas on the tail. There is no writing or dates to put it in context but I would guess from my moms stories of nazi germany it was no doubt added during hitler’s reign of terror. If I find any more I’ll let you know

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Ty March 29, 2010 at 11:26 pm

jenb comment 1905 asked about a collectors book called zeppelin-weltfahrten which I also have a copy. wonderful collection of photos, drawings, maps etc. My mother who is also german, swiss tells me her parents who were heavy smokers collected cigarette coupons from a particular brand (still not sure which but probably out of business long time ago like the zeppelins) and would cash the coupons in for the pictures to fill the album which was also provided by the cigarrette company. At least 2 of your pictures are dead matches for the ones in my book, control car LZ127 and the one on lake costance/bonashee. my mom still is helping translate the book which covers the world trips(south america etc) and has many pictures taken from the airships. I don’t have tons of time to spend on line, but feel free to reply.

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Dan (Airships.net) March 30, 2010 at 9:27 am

You are correct! Many images on this site are taken from the three volumes of the Zeppelin-Weltfahten book series.

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Susie Willis January 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I have a copy of this book from 1932, which my father found while he was a doctor for the US Army in 1944. I wondered how all of the pictures were collected and an delighted to find out here. The book I have has 265 pictures. Someone must have smoked a lot!

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Robert E. Mattingly March 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I visit your site often and always find something interesting. This time I noticed
what I believe is an error of omission. That is, you have skipped the Europe-
Pan America flight by LZ-127: Freidrichshafen, Seville, Pernambuco, Lakehurst,
Seville, Freidrichshafen (May 18-June 6, 1930).
Cheers,
Bob

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Dan (Airships.net) March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately there are dozens of flights I have not yet described in detail, but I try to add new information as often as time allows.

Thanks again!

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Robert E. Mattingly April 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Hi Dan,
To clarify my earlier comment, I was referring to your line in a narrative which describes the Chicago flight: “By late 1933, GZ had not been in the United States, since the Round-the-World flight of 1929.”
The Europe-Pan America flight of 1930, the first
to both South and North America, also resulted in
the first U. S. Air Mail stamps to picture the
Graf Zeppelin. In short, this was a major intercontinental trip several years before the
Century of Progress flight and it did stop in the United States.

Cheers,
Bob

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Dan (Airships.net) April 24, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Ah, great point, thanks! I will correct the text as soon as I can.

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Fay Evans March 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Dan,
My grandfather, Wylie G. Logue, was the Commercial Manager of Radiomarine Corporation of America (RCA) from 1928 – 1937. There is a photograph of him
guiding the Graf Zeppelin over the Atlantic that appeared in the November 1928
RCA Wireless Magazine. This item appeared on Ebay of all places and identified my grandfather by name. It sold or was not a completed transaction. At any rate, do you have any idea how I might get a copy of the RCA magazine?
Thank you.
Fay Evans

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Dan (Airships.net) March 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of that magazine.

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Vincent Cawthron February 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I am 88 years old,but clearly remember Graf Zeppelin over Hull.i wasin Mersey Street school playground, i think the year was 1929, but it could have been 1930.
The zeppelin was over Wembley on 28th April 1930 and I believe made a flight up the east coast and would have included Hull. There is a photo in Hull Daily Mail archives showing the Zeppelin over the Beverly Road, it’s number is 260829.jpg.
I wasonly 7 or 8 at that time.

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Betty Lashly February 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

My Mother was born in Bournemouth in 1924 and remembers her father picking her up in his arms and pointing to a huge airship passing over head. She thinks she must have been about 5 years old and she seems to remember her father saying it was it’s last flight.
Having watched the wonderful program on BBC 4 last night I’ve googled my way to this great site to find out more about airships. For me, the program showed the wonder, romance and excitement of a past age. Perhaps the Hindenburg disaster has blurred what a wonderful experience floating along in an airship must have been.

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Peter Wadhams February 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I too was fascinated by the round the world film of Grace Drummond-Hay which has just been shown on British TV. I would like to follow up on a question raised by two of your commentators, but not answered. What happened over the Pacific? The sound track clearly stated that the airship ran into a storm, was tossed around, was nearly lost, and came down in a bay beside “an uninhabited island” to make emergency repairs. Could this have been Middleton Island in the Bering Sea? (It’s an island I have visited myself; it is uninhabited, and it sits by itself a long way from the Aleutians). Yet the “speeds” given for the crossing don’t allow for a stop. Was it all made up by Hay for journalistic effect? Or was it suppressed by Eckener so as not to put off passengers? The commentary speaks of US and Japanese air searches. There must be some record of this. Best regards and congratulations on your website, Peter Wadhams

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Hendrick Stoops December 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

That part of the documentary is as far as I know fictional liberty on the part of the filmmakers.

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Tommy Mooney February 10, 2010 at 3:46 am

Having Watched the GRAF ZEPPELIN round the world voyage on BBC4 last night prompted me to “Google”.
I have, somewhere, a postcard of Graf Zeppelin at Lakehurst which I shall “dig out” and share with this site.

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Brian Hunt February 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Hi,
Congratulations on a truly interesting site. Is there any chance you could tell me which of the Airships I would have seen flying North above Weston-Super-Mare Somerset in 1933-35, It was in the afternoon about 3-4 oclock. I have always thought it was the R101 but now realise this is incorrect. I was born in 1932 and I must have been 3-4 years old at the time. After a long time searching I would much very appreciate a reply. Incidentally I went on to join the RAF and spent 26 years as an aircraft engineer.

Regards Brian Hunt

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Dan (Airships.net) February 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Assuming it was a rigid airship, and not a blimp: If you were born in 1932, and were four years old at the time, it could have been Hindenburg, which was launched in 1936. LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin did not visit the UK in 1934 or 1935, so if you were at least three, it could not have been LZ-127. If you were older, it might have been LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin, which flew over the UK in 1939.

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D Jones June 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I came to your site whilst reseaching after my father told me of the time he was called out of his home in the forest of Dean by my grandfather to see a massive airship flying overhead. He remembers this being around 1935 so I’m guessing that he also witnessed the Hindenburgh. Thank you for helping me find out the information and for a facinating website.

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greg wheatstone May 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

Hello Mr jones
Which part of the FoD are you referring to?
My late father sometimes referred to his experience in Lydbrook in 1930 or 1931?

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David Fozard February 2, 2010 at 10:48 am

Hello,
About 20 years ago I purchased a small private photo album with 15 various 3.5×2.5 inch photographs of the Graf Zeppelin some of it airbourne and also when on the ground. There is is a pencil date mark of 1932/33 and I believe that they were taken somewhere in England as some buildings of a shop and Town Hall are in one of the pictures.

Do you know if there are any collectors who would be interested in buying them ?

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Andrew May 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

David

Came across your post today whilst trawling the web.
Do you still have the album, or did you sell it?

Andrew

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Homer Meek January 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm

As a Ford dealership owner up till 1941, my father received a sample of Veedol Oil drained from the tanks of Graf Zeppelin,dated October 15, 1928. This was courtesy of Tide Water Oil Company.
I was born on Oct 6, 1926, and have an image in my mind of a large lighter than air ship flying over Redondo Beach, CA. Could this have been the Graf Zeppelin?
Homer Meek

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Dan (Airships.net) January 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Graf Zeppelin landed at Mines Field in Los Angeles on August 26, 1929, so depending on the date (and how well you remember things from age 2 or 3!) it could have been LZ-127.

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Tael January 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Why does the skin of the airship look like it’s tighter in some photos?

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H Stoops February 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Tael,
I’m not sure this is correct with all airships, but ships like the R-100 had fairly loose cloth covering and would vibrate in a high wind. Things like this also seem to happen with blimps but it’s not something I’ve seen firsthand… just pictures. Hope this helps:)

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Manning J. Harvey III December 20, 2009 at 12:42 am

I recently obtained a small pocket knife from my 87 yo. father it appears to be alluminum and has a picture of Graf Zeppelin on the front and the words “Der Erfinder des lenkbaren Luft-schiffes” and on the large blade is MACUPA SOLINGGEN. on the other side of the knife is the Graf Zeppelin flying over a body of water with a mountain scene with a tugboat and people standing and watching from the shore. Can you tell me what the words on the knife say? and anything else about it?

Graf Zeppelin Pockeyt Knife

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Dan (Airships.net) December 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for you message, and for the photo of your fascinating knife. Perhaps the following might help.

The knife does, of course, depict Graf Zeppelin the man, but it does not depict Graf Zeppelin the airship (LZ-127). Graf Zeppelin (the man) is described as “Der Erfinder des lenkbaren Luft-schiffes,” or “The inventor of the dirigible air-ship.” The ship is one of Zeppelin’s early airships (identifiable by the shape of the hull, the two gondolas, and the shape of the tail fin, among other things). The body of water is almost certainly the Bodensee (Lake Constance), on the border between Germany and Switzerland. And Solingen, of course, refers to the famous knife-making town near the Ruhn (home of Wusthof, Henckels, and dozens of others). The knife could have been manufactured at any time during the Zeppelin era, but there is a good chance it was likely made around the time of the first airships (1900-1914).

Thanks for sharing this item!

Dan

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Artie December 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

That looks like LZ 4. But I guess it could be any early zepp. Definitely not LZ 127.

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Kevin March 11, 2010 at 1:53 am

“Der Erfinder des lenkbaren Luft-schiffes” means “The inventor of the dirigible airship” in german.

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Manning Harvey March 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Kevin, Thank you I have really enjoyed the input I have gotten about my knife. I find it facinating. Manning sends…

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L.H. Frank December 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I seem to recall the Graf Zeppelin flying over Kansas City on the 1933 trip (not the 1929 voyage) from Miami to Chicago/ Akron, possibly to avoid the Eastern US storm mentioned above. Does anyone have details about the route taken in October 1933?

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Paul Wedel December 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I was born in 1925 in Argentina. My father corresponded with german factories
in Mulheim Ruhr, and I have the original enveloves of those letters that came ” Mit
Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin” The oldest, the ” triangular” flight left Friedrichshafen on
10-14-33 and arrived in B.A. Argentina on 10-19-33 (by plane bw.Brazil and Argen
tina. The next letter is dated 6-23-34 at Friedrichhafen and 6-28-34 arriving at
Buenos Aires Argentina, this is the only flight of the G.Z. unknown to most, I
remember driving to the airport where it was going to land and seeing it.
In 1936 our family got on german passenger ship ” Monte Sarmiento” bound to
Europe(march/april)and after leaving last brazilian port Salvador, at sea we met the
LZ 29 “Hindenburg” first trip to S.A. she circle low over the ship, could see the
side windows, ships photographer took a picture when she was passing over the
ships twin funnels , I don’t know the exact date , she left Friedrichshafen on for
South America on 3-31-36 this is another unknown voyage of the LZ-29

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linda December 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

Jag har ett mynt med Graf Zeppelin daterad 1928, på baksidan av myntet står det Shell. Är det någon reklam eller är det ett mynt man ska vara rädd om?

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JohnSalter December 6, 2009 at 6:01 am

Watching Ditteke Mensink’s film « Farewell » last night about the Graf Zeppellin’s Round-the-World flight prompted me to google the subject and so find your website.

I’d be grateful for your comments on the following. In the film, Grace Drummond-Hay refers to serious problems on the Japan-USA leg of the trip. This apparently cut radio contact and forced the airship down onto the sea for repairs. Your website makes no reference to these problems which would appear to be inspired by those encountered on the flight from Germany to the USA preceding the start of the Round-the-World trip. Furthermore, the footage which illustrates this event appears to be of the Graf on the Bodensee as shown in the photo on your website.

My father saw LZ-127 over Liverpool, England and he often referred to the thrill of seeing her though even by then, she was suspected of carrying out air recce missions to photograph possible future Luftwaffe targets. The July 8th 1932 edition of “Flight” on flightglobal.com. says that she flew over Liverpool on 3rd July 1932 on a flight that also took in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol.

40 years later, my father was still kicking himself for not having his camera with him that day!

Very many congratulations on your really impressive website!

Best wishes,

John Salter

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Dan (Airships.net) December 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Thank you for your comments. Some of your questions are addressed here:

New Movie about “Lady Hay” and the Graf Zeppelin: “Farewell”

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JohnSalter December 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Thank you very much indeed for your reply.

I greatly enjoyed the film and the inaccuracies I suspected at the time in no way detracted from my pleasure. In fact it was because of them that I found your website.

I did not record the TV showing of the film so I can’t check back but there was also reference to serious problems encountered when crossing a mountain range in Eastern Siberia. Was this also perhaps an example of poetic license?

I’m afraid two errors crept into my original query when I misspelled Zeppelin and also implied that the Graf ran into trouble on the flight out to the USA for the start of her round-the-world trip. Sorry about that!

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Mark Roche May 23, 2012 at 6:05 am

My dad (92) has always talked about seeing it over Liverpool and now I have a date. Thanks for the information.

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Dan Gibson December 2, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I have an old photgraph of the Graf Zepplin at Lakehust, N.J., date unknown. It has an inset picture of Dr. Hugo Eckener in the top left corner. I found this picture in my great aunts house when I was a teenager, almost forty years ago. It had been folded up, but is still a great photo.

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Andy Banthorpe November 29, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hi,
My wife has a postcard that was sent from the US to Germany on the return of the first transatlantic Graf Zeppelin flight in 1928. The card is signed by Ludwig Neugass and it sent to his father Julius in Mannheim, Germany. It is written in German but the translation indicates that he was on the outbound leg of the flight i.e. the first Graf Zeppelin flight from Germany to Lakehurst. Does anyone have a passenger list for that flight and if so can they please see if Herr Neugass is listed as it would add to the story.

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Terry November 24, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I have a piece of metal left from my grandmother. I was told that it was part of the Hindenberg. There was writing but I never checked it out. I just looked it up and I believe it is part of the Graff Zeppiin. Someone wrote 1928 Graff and on the back Lakehurst NJ.. I believe it was a piece of the ship that was removed during it’s repair there. Any ideas on how this can be confirmed?

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Dan (Airships.net) November 28, 2009 at 10:12 am

Rick Zitarosa of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society is the authority on all things Lakehurst with regard to LTA.

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R.W. Martsw November 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

Michael asks about the use of the song known as “Deutschland uber Alles”. This was the national anthem of Germany at the time. The words were written in the middle 1800′s to the tune “Austria” by Josef Haydn (this was the Austrian national hymn).

The new words with the well-known tune were titled “Das Lied der Deutschen” and was popular in the German states. In 1921 or ’22 the Weimar Republic made it the official national anthem. The Nazis kept it, but it was not a Nazi composition.

I don’t know anything about Zeppelin protocol, but that song being played at take-off would be quite usual, just as US ships departing might have a band play “America” or “The Star Spangled Banner”.

The song is still the German national anthem, with the original third verse beginning “Einigheit und Recht und Freiheit” (Unity and Justice and Peace) replacing the words that had become associated with Nazi rule.

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jenb November 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I too stumbled upon this informative site whilst search for info on a book that my father has(He’s German). I believe it is the 1933 Zeppelin-Weltfahrten collector book. Dad had it as a child in Germany and added collector photographs to it. Any information about these books would be of value. Thanks.

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Darrell Johnston November 20, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I have a postcard that flew on the Lakehurst – Los Angeles leg of Graf Zeppelin’s round the world flight in 1929. I would like to sell this item and was wondering if you might connect me with a collector.

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Alex November 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Hi! I am writing a detective drama radioplay to be set on a blimp, and I am leaning towards using the Graf Zeppelin.

Could you please tell me a list or range of years in which there were transatlantic flights? I’d like to have a flight from America to Germany be the setting of the story, if possible. Which years were there such flights?

Also, were all 20 berths always filled or would the Zeppelin operate while not at full capacity?

Thanks so much!
Alex

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Dan (Airships.net) November 28, 2009 at 10:28 am

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin never conducted regular passenger service between the USA and Germany, but LZ-129 Hindenburg made ten roundtrip passenger flights between North America and Europe in 1936. Occupancy levels varied greatly; for example, on Hindenburg’s lsat flight, there were only 36 passengers in the ship’s 72 berths; the scheduled return flight, however, was fully booked.

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Alex November 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Were there any flights that went from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst at all? I have reason to believe that there may have been such a flight in 1929?

I considered the Hindenburg for my radioplay, but it has been overused in literature, I believe, and I wanted to a smaller scale story if possible, with only a handful of characters. The Graf is much more suited to these purposes, I think…

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Dan (Airships.net) November 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

There was definitely a flight from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst in 1929! Read more about the Round-the-World Flight at http://www.airships.net/lz127-graf-zeppelin/history#weltfahrt.

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Alex November 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Ah, thank you! The only trouble is that this particular flight had lots of high profile passengers, and I want to make up my own characters…

Perhaps I could make up a fictitious Friedrichshafen-Lakehurst flight? I also don’t want to try to represent Eckener in the radioplay, because I wanted to have a corrupt captain, and I don’t want to distort his image. I was thinking of having the radioplay start with a monologue by Eckener, explaining how he was bed-ridden with some malady, and another man had to command the Graf in his stead…

Do you think it would be unreasonable to use these pretend details and make up a fictitious flight of the Graf?

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Alex November 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Ah! But hold on–the Graf crossed from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst before beginning the Round the World Trip, didn’t it? Maybe I could use this…?

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G.E. Jones November 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I stumbled across your site while looking for information on the LZ-127 for a 3D model I am making of it. It was interesting to find out that the Graf Zeppelin had the swastika painted on its tail fin, like the Hindenburg. I have yet, to find any pictures on the net of this detail. Most show the tail fins in the same color as the rest of the ship. Is it safe to assume that all of these photos are dated prior to 1933, or do you thing some of them may have been “retouched” in the name of Political Correctness?

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teofil suski November 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I am 86 years old, I was fourteen on my way to church, May 7 1937. it was around noon in Newark New Jersey when the Hindemburg flew over head. I was amazed at its size and I stil remember the markings on its tails, ones that I will never forget.It was only a short time later while docking at the U.S. naval air station that it exploded and burned.

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H Stoops February 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

G.E. Jones,
I must admit I would have liked to see one of the great airships so I consider you very fourtunate to have seen of all the zeppelins, the largest one.
One thing,

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H Stoops February 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

(Sorry, I accidentally clicked before I should have)
Anyway,
One thing, the DLZ-129 Hindenburg crashed on Thursday May 6, 1937. Nonewithstanding, you are one of the last people to see the airship before it was destroyed. Just out of curiosity, would you happen to have photographs of the Hindenburg? Just a thought:)

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Phyllis Faahs November 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Hello Kansas relatives. I googled Fritz Womack a couple of months ago. My folks took us to Kansas when I was in 4th grade on a vacation. I believe that Great Uncle Ben Horton married Thelma and Doris Jean was her sister. My grandmother Kathryn Robinson, Eggen, Hatch is Thelma and Doris Jeans sister. My mom is Anna and my uncle was Robert Eggen. I met Fritz when he had a Great Scott company. It was a healing salve. We met Scotty who is very tall and Sandy. My mom said that some of the relatives fly the exhibition jets. My dad Ernie Faahs just passed away two weeks ago. Anyone remember us? My mom will be here tomorrow. Ben Horton had a motor rewind company. Was president of a country club and had one of the boxes in the mile high stadium years ago. Scotty played amature ball somewhere. We also had a relative that crop dusted. I remember their phone had a really long phone cord so they could reach the back door. I must sound like a flake. But is there any thing I have wrote that sound familar? I am 48.
Thanks for reading this.
Phyllis.

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Jeff King August 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Phyllis, is the Doris Jean you’re referring to Fritz’s wife? My mother was their daughter, Doris Jean. Fritz, of course, being my grandfather.
Jeff

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Harry McCrary October 17, 2009 at 10:17 pm

My family lived in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, in 1933 and while I was playing in our
side yard I happened to look up and the Graf was passing directly over our house,
flying North. This was mid-afternoon. My father, who worked for Southern Bell
Telephone Co., rushed home to tell my mother that the Graf was on its way to the
Chicago Worlds Fair. I can remember it being hugh, and making a soft humming
sound as it passed over. I was young, but remember it quite well. Very scary to a
young boy.

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N.Labrecque October 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Hello,

I have two photos of a zeppelin -its either the LZ127 or the LZ129
.One picture is the zeppelin at St Pierre Miquelon ,the other picture has signatures-J.S.Siegel(clearly)Jorgensen(looks like)-dated July 9,1936 and its marked The Hindenburg.Is that possible ?Thanks you for any information you may have.

Norman Labrecque

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Burke O'Kelly September 28, 2009 at 11:23 am

The Three Way Flight in 1933 was documented by one of the Momsen girls on the flight. Their father worked for the Goodyear Branch of the Zepelin Co in South America anf Mrs Momsen had a contract with the NY Times to send status messages of the flight’s progress from S.A. to the chicago World’s Fair. The document by the daughter had little or no detail of the portion of the flight from Miami to Akron. The brother Billy was too little to remember. Does ANYONE have such details ? I would appreciate such data, Mrs Momsen’s dispatches to the NY Times, entries from the Airship’s Log, etc. Thank you. Burke O’Kelly

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Michael September 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I have an unrelated question regarding the launching ceremony of german zeppelins. Like the George C. Scott 1975 hindenburg film, was “deutschland uber alis” regularly played during a zeppelins departure?

I appreciate any help you might be able to give.

Michael

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nathan September 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I have a book of the polar flight of the graf zeppelin , it was written for the Aeroarctic union , written by Dr. L. Kohl-Larsen.
released in 1932

I have the dutch translation , The book has some nice pictures in it that aren’t on you’re site yet , also there are some very shots from the scientific gear that was on the ship .
when i have some time i will scan these and send them to you.

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Charles McGrane September 8, 2009 at 12:57 pm

The Graf Zeppelin was a very busy airship. I told a friend that I saw it from our school yard in Romulus, New York. That would have be between 1930 and the summer of 1934. I can’t find a record of that. Can you help, or can you point me to a web site that may have that information? Thanks. CKM

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Richard O. Spencer August 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Among my earliest recollections is seeing an airship. I was born in 1930 and therefore it would have occurred in about 1933 or 1934. During those years we lived in Quincy, MA. some 20 miles south of Boston. It seems that as sure as I am sitting here I did see it. Did the dirigible drop leaflets over cities from time to time? Would the airship have been returning to Europe from the world’s Fair? Some members of the family suggest that I simply dreamed that I saw it. I did not find any reference to such an event in old Boston newspapers. Do you suppose that I did just dream it up?

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Dan (Airships.net) August 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

The Hindenburg flew over Boston several times during 1936 (although it did not drop leaflets). Perhaps that is what you remember?

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Billie Gross August 21, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I remember my mother taking me out to an open field so we could see the Graf Zeppelin when if flew over Kansas City, Mo in 1929. The event is still very clear in my memory and I am now 90 years old. Thank you for all this interesting information of the Zeppelin.

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Joshua Bell August 6, 2009 at 11:31 am

Another map of the Graf’s ’round the world flight was just posted to:

http://michael5000.blogspot.com/2009/08/1932-sears-world-atlas.html

From the (you guessed it) 1932 Sears World Atlas

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Patricia August 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Hi Dan,

Am looking for a Graf Zeppelin expert. Want to send you a photo of a Graf Stateroom Key fob to determine if it is from the American flight (wording is in English), and estimate its value for possible sale.

Thanks!

Patricia

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Dan (Airships.net) August 3, 2009 at 9:56 pm

People are always welcome to send me emails; my email address is dan at airships.net (and can also be found on my Contact page).

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Robert August 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I came across your page while researching a odd artifact found in my home. A silver ounce with graf zeppelin on the front with a picture and on the back an engraving first europe pan american round trip graf zeppelin 1930. It also has some sort of sort of serial number or casting number. Ever heard of such a thing? Most likely it was from my grandmothers aunt who lived in San Francisco in 1930.

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Ken Woolfe July 23, 2009 at 10:26 am

What a wonderful website. My question is how were the airships of the early 20th century navigated over water ? In those days, celestial navigation was the norm, but this would have been difficult/impossible with the hull blocking the view of the sky from the gondola. Thanks.

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Dan (Airships.net) July 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Dead reckoning was the primary means of navigation.

It was possible to take star and sun sights by climbing one of the vertical shafts to an observation hatch at the top of the hull, but it was, of course, quite a climb (100 feet in the case of Graf Zeppelin, and 135 feet in the Hindenburg), and German airship officers had justifiable confidence in their ability to rely on dead reckoning.

I will be posting additional details of DZR flight operations, based on the reports written by US Naval observers, which include detailed discussion of navigation.

Thanks for posting a great question. :-)

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Lee Jackson July 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

I’m doing a short blurb on the Graf Zeppelin’s around-the-world flight for my article at nasa.gov. Thank you for some great information and images! Can you contact me at your earliest convenience via e-mail regarding use of one of the images for the article? TY. :)

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Kory Darnall July 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm

We will be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the “fly over” of the LZ127 “Graf Zeppelin in August. A special postal cancellation has been approved by the USPS at the Davenport, IOWA post office and a large concert, story and poetry reading about the age of airships will take place at Davenport’s famous “german playground” Schuetzen Park. Will will be honoring Dr Hugo Eckener at this event as he hails from Flensburg – Schleswig/Holstein as do many of the families in our culturally rich German-American community. Recently, the MetLife blimp flew over our Schuetzen Park, but there was no place big enough for it to land safely…if only! Check out our website: http://www.SchuetzenPark.info.

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L. Johnson July 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I found your site today while looking for some information on the Graf Zeppelin. I found an old newspaper article stuck inside some birthday cards given to me by an older, now deceased, relative years ago. The article was about the Graf Zeppelin flying over our hometown in Columbus, Ohio on it’s way to the Chicago World’s Fair. the article stated how clearly could be seen, the Nazi Swastika on the fin of the zeppelin.
Thank you for such a comprehensive web site full of information. I was able to identify the year in which this article was printed because of you site. Thanks so much.

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todd sabin July 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I just got a photo of graf zeppelin flying over davenport iowa on august 28, 1929.
photo by a.e.williams davenport times staff photogragher

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Kory Darnall July 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

We have just republished this photo as a postcard for the 80th anniversary of the event it shows. Great Photo!

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Ellis Kell July 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

Where can I get an electronic scan of the Graf photo over Davenport, Iowa? My mom saw the Graf fly over when she was only 8 years old, and I would love to have a copy of it for her.

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Kory Darnall July 28, 2009 at 10:38 am

If you provide me with your email, I can send one to you. Kory @ Schuetzen Park Historic Site.

SchuetzenPark@yahoo.com

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Dan (Airships.net) July 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Thank you for sending this postcard, from the Archives of the Schuetzen Park Historic Site, so people can see the Graf Zeppelin over Davenport, Iowa.

Graf Zeppelin over Davenport, Iowa

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Larry January 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I have this photo of this airship over Davenport.Also a letter that was dropped from it to a Russian Icebreaker at the North Pole .
I believe it to be The GS 127 in 1931

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Laura October 1, 2010 at 4:10 am

In 1929 when I was 8 years old on a Sunday we looked up and saw a zeppelin flying low over our house. This was in Tama, Iowa, and seems that the time was shortly after Sunday dinner, on a sunny day. We lived only a block or so from the railroad, so it seems to make sense the they might have been using this as a marker on the way to Chicago. I can tell you it was a memorable sight, somewhat scary as it was quite low and of course, seemed to fill the whole sky. If you know the time it passed through Davenport I would like to know as it would help me confirm this was the Graf. Also, are reprints of phote available. This is the first info I have located on this experience which I have never forgotten. Thanks for any info and for this site.

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Kory Darnall October 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

The Graf Zeppelin flew over Davenport, IOWA at 8:05 p.m. Your memory is great, as Tama is north and west of Davenport, probably about an hour flying time between the two.

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L. Prendergast October 25, 2010 at 10:18 am

I have since confirmed the longitude and latitude of the flight which fits it’s position over Tama. I am mystified that we did not know of the flight before hand as we subscribed to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, but perhaps news was not reported until after the event. I consider my self lucky that someone in our family saw the zep and called us out to see it. I consider it a thrilling coincidence that the path of the Graf, after flying around the world, was right over our house, giving us a spectactular view since it was so low, and seemed to fill the sky. However, I saw the Graf shortly after noon, and you stated it was over Davenport at 8:05, too long a time for the distance –did you mean 1:05 –a time which would fit perfectly. Thanks so much for your response.

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Kory Darnall October 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I am sending a scan to the webmaster of this site of the official schedule printed by the Zeppelin Company in a commemorative book of the “round the world” tip it made in 1929. This is the only information I have at this time regarding the time it flew over Davenport. It state that the flyover time was 20:05, or 8:05p.m. Hopefully the schedule can be made viewable on this page for you to review.

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Kory Darnall October 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm

You are probably correct about the Greenwich time element. Best Wishes – Kory at SchuetzenPark@yahoo.com

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Dan (Airships.net) October 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Here is the scan Kory sent me by email:

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Wendy Pink July 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Hi, my father, Warren Burmeister, was 6 years old in 1929, and recalled seeing the Graf Zeppelin fly over his home in Davenport, Iowa.
Thank you so much for this photo and information, Kory!! He often spoke of this, and was in great awe of it, as I know so many people were. I don’t know if he ever got to see this photo. He would have loved it.
By the way, he also spoke of grandparents from Schleswig/Holstein.
I am trying to research this on Ancestry.

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John Borrego June 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

My mother remembered seeing the Graf as a five-year-old child in California during the 1929 round-the-world flight. She recalled being brought out at night wrapped in a blanket by her mother. I suppose this was on the San Francisco to Los Angeles leg of the journey.

Many thanks for this wonderful site! I love these magnificent old giants.

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Mr H. E. Henden June 23, 2009 at 7:12 am

I thought that this might be of interest to you. I am 59, now. I live in Surrey England. While digging in the garden, I came across what I thought was a coin. But, when I cleaned it. It was an aluminium disc. On one side it had stamped, SHELL. On the old Shell Oils, Shell. (Interesting) But, on the other side it has a stamping of an air ship with clouds around it. 1928 stamped below it. And above it, it had, GRAF ZEPPLIN.
What I would like to know is. Who would get one of these. Where they given to workers. Passangers ?. Thank You.

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Gavin-H November 27, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hello, Mr Henden.

I don’t want to disappoint you, but I remember these being given away by Shell in the early 1970s, so not contemprary with the Zeppelins.

You bought 4 gallons (or whatever) of petrol and got a random coin from the set in a little packet.

They did a series of these on the history of flight and one on the history of the motor car, and various others. A card with a complete set may be worth a few Pounds, but an odd one is likely to only fetch a few pennies.

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Rudolph W. Wittemann June 21, 2009 at 7:57 am

I am sorry to have mislead you. The Siegler Katolog lists two types of First Europe- Pan America Round World Flights, but does not list the dates of these flights, many locations. but dates are lacking.

One cover I have has a May 5, 1930, Varick, N.Y. cancel and a June 6, 1930 Friedrickshafen cancel received. So was this a Latin America flight ? It has the Type 11 Round Flight cancel. However there is also a cancel “Mit Luftpost befordeck Hamburg” which puts a doubt on it’s flight.

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Rudolph W. Wittemann June 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Are there records of the actual dates by location of trips by the LZ127 ? Where can I find them, if they exist ?

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Dan (Airships.net) June 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I do have a complete list of LZ-127′s flights, but with 590 flights, it was just too much work to type up the list, the way I did for the Hindenburg’s flight schedule. If you would like me to look up a specific flight for you, though, I would be very happy to help.

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Rudolph W. Wittemann June 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Thanks, 590 flights ! Woo !
I am interested presently in the 1930, New York, First Round World Flights, via South America, to Germany.

How many were there and dates at locations ?

I am a collector of Zep covers and these flight dates seem missing from Siegler Katalog.

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Dan (Airships.net) June 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm

I am not entirely sure I understand the grammar of your question… I am sorry! :-(

Are you referring only to flights in 1930? LZ-127 did not visit NY in 1930, and there was only one Round-the-World flight, which took place in 1929. As to flights between South America and Germany, Graf Zeppelin crossed the South Atlantic 136 times.

Please excuse me for not understanding exactly what you were asking, but if you have a more specific question, I will do my best to provide the information!

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Rudolph W. Wittemann June 21, 2009 at 8:02 am

Wait, I take back that last statement, the cover is addressed to a Hamburg address, so it was forwarded from Friedrichstafen on arrival, June 6th.

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Burke O'Kelly May 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I became fascinated about age 7 with flying things and the rigid LTA’a were high on the list. In October 1933 the “Graf” flew to SA, Miami, Akron, Chicago and returned to Germany, the three-sided flight. I was in my yard in Memphis, Tennessee and saw the Graf fly over. The Momsen family were passengers and one of the daughters wrote a story of the flight. It is available on the net. She had no details of the part of the flight from Miami to Akron except to say that Dr. Eckener took a zig-zag course because of the bad weather along the Eastern seaboard. Her brother is still alive but was too young to remember the flight and now does not have the details I’m looking for. Do you have such material or know where it is available, i.e. the ship’s log book pages for that portion of the flight or ? Would appreciate any help you can give me. I’m like the boy from Kansas – did I really see it or was it my imagination ?

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Dan (Airships.net) May 25, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Unfortunately I don’t have a detailed log for that flight, but perhaps someone here can provide that information.

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Richard A. Grimes June 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

I was a four or five year old when I saw the GZ fly over White Plains(Greene County), Georgia, USA. I think the year was 1933. Can you give me any details on this flight?

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Dan (Airships.net) June 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

It must have been while Graf Zeppelin was flying from Miami, Florida to Akron, Ohio on October 24-25, 1933.

Thanks for your comment!

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William Emley May 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Truly wonderful reading the history of the Graft Zeppelin. Have pictures of the Graft Zeppelin, radio room, sleeping berth, and passenger cabin in the Lakehurts NJ hanger. Repairs and believe to be new outer-skin is being accomplished to the port side rear wing. If there is any additional information with respect to her visit at Lakehurst, please forward to me. Thank you.
Sincerely,
William Emley

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Dan (Airships.net) May 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Thank you for your comment.

I have tons of additional information about Graf Zeppelin’s history, including visits to Lakehurst, and I have only just begun my work n the Graf Zeppelin section of this site; I have been concentrating primarily on Hindenburg, since I had to start somewhere, and have only limited time. But you can expect to see additional information about LZ-127 in the future. If you would be willing to share your photos of Graf Zeppelin on this site, email me good quality scans (dan@airships.net) and I will be glad to include them.

Thanks!

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lori brown December 6, 2009 at 10:21 am

i think my grandfather was on the graf, can send pixs,but could you try and decifer the time frame…if alive he would be 99 yrs.

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Dan (Airships.net) December 12, 2009 at 10:45 am

Dear Ms Brown:

I would be happy to review the photos of your grandfather on LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin, and to help you date the photos if I can. Feel free to email them to me here with as much information about them as possible. And of course, the larger (higher resolution) the scans, the better, so I can examine small details.

Very best!

Dan

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Mrs. Pressley's 5th grade CLass April 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Outstanding. We just read the story about the Hindenburg disaster. We were curious about what happened to the Graf Zeppelin. Now we know. Thank you.

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Dan (Airships.net) April 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm

To Mrs Pressley’s class:

Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment!

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Mike April 22, 2009 at 4:40 am

From your flight schedules of Hindenburg, I’ve been able to pinpoint the date of a sighting of this ship as she went past Eastbourne in 1936. Thank you for that excellent resource.

Do you have the same kind of info for GZ? The town of Eastbourne lies just to the east of the significant landmark, Beachy Head. I’m sure the latter would appear in a flight log.

An elderly man reports seeing the GZ going from east to west “in about 1938″. He saw the name and also the swastikas … the latter may be helpful to fix a date. I’m wondering whether this could have been the spy flight of LZ130 between 2 and 4 August 1939. I’ve read that she went up the east coast; but did she come along the south coast, too? There was an important chain home radar station at Pevensey, a few miles to the east of the town. Furthermore the high headland of Beachy Head was an obvious site for radar and wireless intercept stations. When the war started, many of the these were set up.

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Mike
Eastbourne Local History Society

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Peter Butler June 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I was a schoolboy at Eastbourne in the 1930′s and vividly remember an airship which appeared to be hovering directly over the town one Summer afternoon. At the time we were told that this was a ‘friendly visit’ down the entire East coast! From this website I have now been able to establish that this must have been the Hindenburg and that the year was 1936. I wonder whether the British authorities were ever asked for permission for this intrusion into our coastal airspace and were naive enough not to guess its real purpose? A most useful photographic map of the entire coastal area of Eastern England must have thereby been obtained from ‘right under their noses’!

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Dan (Airships.net) June 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Thank you for sharing you memories.

The Hindenburg’s flights over the UK were, actually, the subject of questions raised in the House of Commons.

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Mike June 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Further to my initial post about a sighting of the GZ over Eastbourne, I’ve since found out that she flew along the shore from east to west on 19 August 1931 and was seen by thousands of residents and visitors. There is a report in the local papers and there will be an article with further details in the autumn issue of Eastbourne Local History Society’s newsletter. Thank you for this interesting site.

Mike

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Jeff King April 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

The newspaper report in my previous post verifies Mr. Earl E. Treloggen’s post that the Graf flew over Chanute, Kansas as Chanute is located just South of Iola, Kansas, and would have been under the flight path of the Graf. Independence, Kansas, is located just to the South-South West of Chanute. A heading of 23 degrees would take the Graf over Independence, Chanute, Iola, Lone Elm, and finally to Kansas City. See http://www.lincolnkings.com/fritz/img/Grafpathoverkansas.jpg

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Keith Potter October 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I was born Aug 27, 1929, in Independence KS. My mother recalled that all the nurses rushed to the roof of the hospital to see the Graf, leaving her in distress. I saw a photo in a dentist’s office in the Denver area showing the Graf over Independence, and have often contemplated going back to ask for it — but I can’t remember which dentist or his office location.

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Jeff King April 13, 2009 at 9:28 am

My grandfather, Fritz Womack, caught up with the Graf Zeppelin on August 28, 1929 as it flew over Iola, Kansas. Fritz and his flying buddy Ross Arbuckle flew their airplanes very close to the airship. There’s a newspaper account of the event at http://www.lincolnkings.com/fritz/pdf/graf.pdf

Is there an official account of this in a publication other than this reference?
Thanks.

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Todd Still April 3, 2009 at 12:48 am

I’ve always had a fascination with airships since I was a child in the 1970s, the Graf Zeppelin was my favorite. My Mom helped me make a 3 foot paper model about 25 years ago from a German kit with English instructions and it now hangs above my bed in my Seattle home.

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Richard Jos. Wolek February 12, 2009 at 5:52 am

My father, Raymond b.1924, was relaxing in a “tub?” of water in the backyard of his home in the Manyunk section of Philadelphia (158 East Street) and saw the Hindenburg, at reduced altitude and speed flying at angle 2:00 along, he reckons, the banks of the Schulkyl River. It was before the fateful 1937 season. I read that when passenger airship arrive early, they kill time by touring along rivers. Groundcrews at Lakehurst, I believe, assemble at 12 hr. intervals. Also, someone I once worked with had a singed, postage-stamp sized fragment of its skin, which he kept in a saftey deposit box. After coaxing him into retrieving it, he came to work in a bad humour, as one of his family members apparently removed it from the box to an uncertain fate.

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Earl E. Treloggen February 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm

In 1929 the Graf Zeppelin flew over Chanute, Kansas. For years I would see a vision of the “ship” overhead. I would be wide awake at these times. Finally, in possibly 2004, I asked my sis-in-law, who was 15 in 1929 if she remembered seeing it. She first said no and then said yes and told where she was at the time. Having verified my vision, I have never had another. I was born in June 1925, so was four years old on August 28, 1929, when the Graf Zeppelin passed over my home town.

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juanita alloway May 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm

In re graf zepplin over Chanute, KS. I too remember this, vividly. I was a child but I recall the huge airship hovered over Chanute in the late afternoon one day. My dad was a Santa Fe engineer and had gone to work but my mother and I were in the barnyard doing the evening chores. Suddenly my mother started screaming that the world was coming to an end….and she told us to run to the house. Then I saw this huge cigar shaped blimp, quietly floating at what seemed jut above the barn roof. I didn’t know what was going on but we all stood transfixed nearly. None of my brothers or sister remembered the incident, but I can still recall it.

I’m sure the CHANUTE TRIBUNE probably carried a story about this.

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juanita alloway May 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

After thinking about this awhile, the time of day I saw the graf zepplin may have been early morning instead of early evening. I remember we were outside doing some chores and it could have been morning instead of evening.

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James Blanton April 29, 2010 at 2:02 am

Juanita: My mother (Marjorie Jean DeBolt) related to me seeing the Graff Zeppelin on that day in 1929. She said that her father loaded up the car with the family and they drove out on the highway following the airship.

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juanita alloway April 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

Yes, your mother and I, no doubt, saw the airship the same time. She and I graduated high school together; I remember your father Bill.

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Donald Camburn February 2, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I saw the Hindenburg’s crash in Lakehurst on May 7, 1937. from my back yard me and my friend.

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Emmett Smith February 2, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Mr Daniel Grossman, I am enchanted and lifted one of your pictures tonight in the following, to link your website together with some YouTube Zeppelin footage I had previously put together in a tentative outline:

http://bodwyn.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/the-graf-zeppelin-1928-1939/

I hope you won’t mind. The posting is part of a Bodwyn Wook category called Trains, Planes & “Getting There,” in which I try to let the old images speak for themselves to us, of a former age:

http://bodwyn.wordpress.com/category/trains-planes-and-getting-there/

Thank you for your Zeppelin web site!

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Dan (admin) February 4, 2009 at 9:57 pm

@Emmett Smith: I am flattered you included me in your blog! Thank you :-)

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Kelly Metzger January 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I recently purchased a Steinbach nutcracker at an auction. It is stamped “made in West Germany”, and in its hands are construction plans (KONSTRUKTIONEN) and a dirigible with LZ 127 GRAF ZEPPELIN printed on it. I was trying to date the nutcracker and ran across your website. Very interesting!

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Richard James Graf January 10, 2009 at 1:15 am

humm this was my relative very interesting! thank you!!

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kraithong Chotivut (Thailand) December 23, 2008 at 5:47 am

I decided to explored the keyword of “airship”, and found that all your great pictures which I want to see, because of the airship documentary showing on TV of Thailand now.

Very great…

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claire jones December 17, 2008 at 5:31 pm

your photos are great. years ago i saw and tried to purchase a picture of the graf flying over ny with the swatika flying from its mast. it was so unique that the owner would not consider selling it. have you ever seen it and would you have any ideas on whether it might be available as a reprint or something?

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admin December 18, 2008 at 8:00 am

Thanks for your comment about the photos; much appreciated. As for the photo you saw, it would probably have been Hindenburg, and not Graf Zeppelin, which did not visit New York after the Swastika was painted on its tail in 1933. (In 1933, in accordance with Air Ministry regulations, the Swastika was painted on one fin, and the German red-white-black tricolor was applied to the other; in 1934 the Swastika was painted on both fins.) Graf Zeppelin’s only visit to the United States in 1933 was a circuit that included Miami, Akron, a visit to the Chicago World’s Fair, and a pass over Washington, DC. Graf Zeppelin never visited the United States in 1934-1937, as it was exclusively devoted to the South America service, with Hindenburg on the service to the United States.

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Werner Zarnikow April 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I was living in Buffalo N.Y. in 1933. My recollection is that the Graf came over buffalo after visiting the Chicago Worlds Fair.Do you have any information about that? Thank you.

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