Graf Zeppelin Statistics

Graf Zeppelin profile, showing rings, gas cells, and major elements.  (click all photos to enlarge)

Graf Zeppelin profile, showing rings, gas cells, and major elements. (click all photos to enlarge)

LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin statistics:

  • Length: 776 feet
  • Diameter: 100 feet
  • Gas capacity: 3,707,550 cubic feet (2,648,585 cu. hydrogen for lift, 1,059,435 cu. Blaugas for fuel)
  • Lift: 191,799 lbs
  • Speed: 80 MPH
  • Main Powerplant: 5 Maybach VL-2 12-cylinder engines (550 HP Takeoff, 450 HP Cruise)
  • Crew: 36 officers and crew
  • Passengers: 20 sleeping berths
  • First flight: September 18, 1928
  • Final flight: June 18, 1937
  • Total flight hours: 17,177
  • Total flights: 590
  • Total people carried: 34,000
  • Paying passengers carried: 13,110

The size and shape of LZ-127 was not ideal aerodynamically, structurally, or economically, but it was the best that could be achieved within the limitations of the hangar at Friedrichshafen.

Relative sizes of LZ-11 Viktoria Luise, LZ-120 Bodensee, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin. and LZ-129 Hindenburg

Relative sizes of LZ-11 Viktoria Luise, LZ-120 Bodensee, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin. and LZ-129 Hindenburg

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    { 55 comments… read them below or add one }

    C. Gordon Porter January 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Born in 1925 I was very excited to see the Zepplin fly over our farm near the 30 Mile Point Lighthouse Lake Ontario in about 1933. Probably following the Great Lakes for guidance to Chicago. It’s in my book “A Time To Live” in the 20th Century. Thank you times were though during the depression years we were pretty well stuck on the farm until the roads were paved for the progress of the automobiles. Gordie

    Reply

    C. Gordon Porter January 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I a farm boy born in 1925 living near Lake Ontario saw the dirgible flying in a south westerly course near the 30 Mile Point Lighthouse Niagara County in the early 1930′[s I mentioned this in my 2013 published book “A Time To Live” about the 20th Century. I also saw Balbowa’s Italian Fleet of eight or nine airplanes fly over about 1933 the same time. It was an exciting Historic Event for a young farm boy.

    Reply

    Ursula Robitaille September 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I must have been about 5 years old when I was at the Victoria Park in Berlin.
    A Zeppelin, that was the generic name for all airships, flew over our heads to wards
    Tempelhof airfield for their landing. They where looking down at us waving and we where waving back.
    I can still see them. I would like to know if it was the Graf Zeppelin or the
    Hindenburg. Thank you so much!!! URSULA

    Reply

    Mark Harry August 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Got old enough where aeroplanes are a bit of a risk, and can’t take them off out of the backyard!
    ***
    Been working on gas densities, and airships suddenly became fascinating. Have done some interesting research on foam/woodstrip laminated beams. They can be super lightweight, and immensely strong in one dimension; and flexible and resilient.
    Had a question about gasbags in general- if filling something like a 30 foot latex balloon, does the gas form a flat bottom, and the rest of the balloon on the top have a slightly flat top? Can this shape be controlled by a net surrounding the balloon? Understanding this basic premise could help in calculating the displacement volume—–? Anyone?
    A model is in my thoughts at present; but perhaps just to even tether a single balloon from this isolated location to hoist this carcass for a look-see might be a thrill of a lifetime not forgotten…
    TIA,
    Mark

    Reply

    Ekram March 26, 2013 at 5:10 am

    HI!
    I am a student from norway that works on my bachelor thieses on airships.
    Is it ok that I use some of the information on this page on my bachelor thieses, i will ofcourse state the sources.

    Best regards

    Ekram

    Reply

    Dan March 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Of course. Thank you for asking! I would love to read your thesis when it is finished.

    Reply

    Ekram March 28, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Thank you, and for this great website! :)
    ok, I will tell you when am finished.

    Reply

    Ernesto May 24, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Hi Ekram, I would like to speak to you. I have some information that would interest you. Regards Ernesto Soria

    Reply

    Marie Kelly January 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Thank you for such an informative site. I have family photos that were marked Von Hindenburg flying over Beach Haven, NJ. The photos show a process date of November 2, 1936. Since the Hindenburg crashed in May 1937, it is possible these photos were from one of the October 1936 scheduled flights in the US. (according to your scheduled flight list).

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    Stu April 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    According to Harold Dick’s book about the Hindenburg, she flew from Germany on 10 October 1936 and arrived at Lakehurst 12 October 1936. This was her last flight of the season to the USA. She made three more flights to the South Atlantic afterwards in 1936 before being laid up for the winter. Your picture may have been taken in mid October and developed later in November perhaps.

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    Marie Kelly April 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you very much!

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    Marschell November 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I would love to see this giant legendary wonders in the air again. I must give my compliments to the Germans for their superb innovativeability and engineering.
    The remark in this article that the shape of the zeppelin was dominated by the hanger it was build in, I believe was not actually a disadvantage because silinder shape vessels like rockets and missles move quite easily through air. The silinder shape’s only disadvantage is the sstructure and rigging against stress outside the hull which can easily be fixed byt todays technology via carbonfibre and compressed polyfoam, hydrogen is out and helium is in…. Axcept if an “alloy” gas superficially be manufactured to have the same ability as hydrogen, but with non lethal caractiristics. Nuclear reactors is for ships,subs & powerplants, our technology level does not permit this idea yet for airships yet. Reason, size,weight & phisical dimentions is still an issue. I like the mushroom concept earlier mentioned, what do you think about the idea of a floating/flying saucer as an star-trek starship design, hehhehehehehe

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    kurt vorhis July 6, 2011 at 6:46 am

    My Grand Father told me that as a boy he would see it fly over his house between NYC and Ohio.Said was a grand sight and flew not very high. He”s 91 this year.

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    Lucian Marks March 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    IN 1933 I WAS A FIRST GRADER IN REYNOLDS SCHOOL (3 MILES NORTH EAST OF HORTON MICHIGAN) AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARD CAME IN THE SCHOOL AND TOLD THE TEACHER TO LET ALL OF THE STUDENTS OUT. WE WENT OUTSIDE AND SAW THE GRAf ZEPPELIN GOING FROM WEST TO EAST JUST A LITTLE NORTH OF THE SCHOOL. WHAT A SIGHT FOR A SIX YEAR OLD.

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    Bob Leyse July 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Where is Horton? It is not in my atlas. The reason I ask is that I saw a zeppelin when I was a little kid. I was in Kewaunee, Wisconsin which is about 200 miles north of Chicago. Maybe it then crossed Lake Michigan and flew near Horton.

    Reply

    Lucian Marks July 31, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Horton is on Moscow Road which runs between Moscow and M-60 highway. It is about 5 miles south of M-60. If you do not find it then try Map quest.
    Lucian Marks

    Reply

    Jordan Atkinson February 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I can be reached at jordanfatkinson@yahoo.com, 610-203-2121

    Reply

    Austin December 22, 2010 at 4:13 am

    How high could the Graf Zeppelin climb before hydrogen would need to be valved?

    Reply

    Stu February 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Depends – pressure height is the height the airship is at when the lifting gas inside expands (from the decrease in air pressure at altitude) to fill the gas cell 100%. As you go higher in the air, the air pressure drops. With lifting gas in a cell, the cell or balloon will expand as it rises through the atmosphere as the air pressure which contains the balloon’s shape reduces with altitude, the balloon expands outwards to the limits of it’s envelope skin tension. When the airship goes over it’s pressure height, the lifting gas is forced against the walls of the gas cells as well as the internal structure of the airship, and they will rupture or break the airship apart it if the lifting gas is not released into the atmosphere.

    This was done manually or like in the US Navy, automatically with pressure-sensitive valves located on the gas cells. If you go over pressure height too long, you end up bleeding off your lifting gas, and thereby loosing the gas that gives your airship lift and start to descend. As you descend, the air pressure increases, and the gas cells pucker inwards but you don’t regain the lost lifting gas. So the descent is usually not a reversible one unfortunately, and airship skippers are told never to exceed pressure height.

    Pressure height’s not a constant, and is a function of the given air pressure the airship is in (which varies with weather), and how far the gas cells are filled. If they are topped off 100% at take off, the airship can’t climb to far up before it has to vent gas. So they are usually filled to what the captain of the airship intends to set his cruise altitude at while being able to lift the airship and it’s cargo off the ground safely. The early WW-1 high altitude German bomber zeppelins flew so high, that they had very little hydrogen in their cells at launch, to allow the cells to expand to full size when at altitude. They were built very, very lightly and were structurally weak, in order to gain altitude.

    Being a airship captain then meant knowing your math, namely the laws of statics, the laws of physics concerning gas and pressure, as well as the weather pretty well. Failure to do so meant your career was a short, but spectacular one.

    Reply

    Vibhor September 8, 2010 at 10:00 am

    The Graf Zeppelin is considered the finest airship ever built. It flew more miles than any airship had done to that time or would in the future.

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    István August 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Where is now the Graf Zeppelin?

    Reply

    Dan (Airships.net) August 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    LZ-127 was dismantled at the beginning of the Second World War.

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    Jordan Atkinson February 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    It’s known that the components that made up the actual Graf Zeppelin were scrapped and were used to aid Germany’s uprising going into WWII. For historical preservation purpose, did they salvage anything from the Graf before it was scrapped? Also, I did some research on The Lakehurst historical society’s web page and found that the damaged fabric that was removed for replacement was in great demand at the time for keepsakes/souvenirs. Any ideas as to how much damaged fabric was removed? How people aquired the pieces of fabric? Did they just cut the remains into equal pieces and distribute them to base personnel? Any answers or pointers would be awesome!

    Reply

    Hendrick Stoops December 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    There are some (fairly) large pieces of the Graf that exist today. At least one of its engine cars is now at the Zeppelin Museum in Freidrichschafen (I almost certainly misspelled that!)

    Reply

    Stu February 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Flotsam and jetsam from WW-2 German aluminum airplane parts and pieces probably.

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    w.r. schilling August 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Did the Graf Zeppelin ever fly over St. Louis?

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    Jaap August 11, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Can sombody tell me where the Graf Zeppelin was on March 16 – 1935. Is it possible that the ship on that moment flew in the neighbourhood of Rotterdam in the Netherlands?

    Reply

    Dan (Airships.net) August 11, 2010 at 10:37 am

    LZ-127 was in its hangar at Friedrichshafen on March 16, 1935.

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    Francisco Carvallo July 29, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi Dan!!!
    You have the most wonderful website. I wanted to ask you a question: how much did the Graf Zeppelin weigh? As lift weight is: 191,799 lbs , but the useful lift would really be: total lift- wight of ship. I know the Hindenburg could carry a bit over 100 tons of extra weight (which was amazing, even by todays standards) I know the Graf didn’t really have a very large payload due to it’s limited ammount of lift due to it’s physcical limitations + Blau gas taking a large part of it’s volume as fuel for the ship.
    Thanks.
    Francisco

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    Dan (Airships.net) August 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    According to Harold Dick, LZ-127 had a dead-weight of approx. 150,000 lbs and total lift of approx. 210,000 lbs, for a useful lift of approx. 60,000 lbs.

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    Francisco Carvallo August 1, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you Dan!!!
    Wikepedia was absolutely worthless in this matter. Thanks for all you do!
    Francisco

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    Bob Milner July 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    This site is wonderful! Zeppelins have always fascinated me, been trying to get a copy of the movie ‘Dirigible’ for a long time (Region2 – UK). Do you think that these wonderful machines will ever fly commercially again? I know there are some smaller ones flying around Friedrichafen.

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    Richard Paul November 25, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I just purchased the Graf Zeppelin by Hawk and would like to paint it as authentically as possible. Cant seem to find any reference other then black and white photos. Can you help…? Please don’t say “Silver”….

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    Hendrick Stoops November 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I’m pretty sure it used a zinc oxide combination doping solution (however that might have been the Hindenburg which used a different dope solution. I myself painted the same model kit a simple metallic silver. I hope this helps:)

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    Dean Ing November 23, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    As a small boy between 1934 & -6, I saw Graf Zeppelin in daylight almost directly overhead, low & enormous headed South over my home in Austin, TX. My impression was that it was very slow, maybe under 50 mph. My first word, age 1, was “airp’ane”, & one of my published works is “The Big Lifters” (q.v.) so no wonder the house-shaking drone of Maybachs drew me outside. When did I see it, & where was it headed? I’m pondering a mention of it in an upcoming book. Thanks Dean Ing

    Reply

    Dan (Airships.net) November 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

    If you saw a large rigid airship over Texas, it would have been the LZ-127 in 1929 (during the Round-the-World flight), or one of the U.S. Navy rigids. No large rigid airships could have flown over Texas in 1934-1936, so it must have been a few years earlier. Thanks for sharing your memory of the impact the ship had on you as a boy!

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    G W Elderkin February 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Point of order, if memory serves me correctly the USS Akron (ZRS-4) was flying until her death in 1933. There was a tragic event in which three ground crew members failed to let go of ground lines and were take aloft – one was pulled aboard her.

    The event did took place in Texas (I believe) and the ship was experiencing super heat along with gusty winds that triggered the need for quick release by the ground crew officer in charge/and Captain.

    Hope this helps – Wick – Naval Airship Association
    http://www.naval-airships.org

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    Mark May 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Well, My sister has claimed all her life that she saw the Graf Zeppelin fly over Fredericksburg while she was living at a certain house. Those years would have been 1933-1935. There was no doubt that it was the Graf Zeppelin. When I was in a museum along Lake Constance I saw the route traced by the Zeppelin to have travelled farther west in Texas than Fredericksburg. The year matched although you say that that acould not have been possible. She would have been only 1 in 1929 and was not living at that address at that time.

    Reply

    Rose L November 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Brilliant site. I have been reading every corner.

    What would have been changed on the Graf if they had no limits to the hangar? Would the shape have changed?

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    Dan (Airships.net) November 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    The ship would likely have been larger, and had more of a teardrop shape (similar to Bodensee/Nordstern).

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    Tom Roscoe October 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    People, I have been working on this for years. I have a book on Zeplins that shows the history of all of them. I think I got the Zeplin bug from my Dad, whom helped tie Navy Blimps down in Mass. My bug is this:
    Start thinking this way; imagine these ships as made out of styrofoam, plastics, mesh netting. Now imagine this – look at those Space ships in (whatever) science fiction movie as NOT being steel but plastics and styrofoam(s). That becomes a possible machine! Dreaming is fun! tom r

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    juha September 20, 2009 at 12:03 am

    hmmmmm……..passenger zeppelins in modern times could work….i envision a hollowed out Styrofoam structure……….foam inject a large cast(the entire dimension of the said ship in a single foam cast)…..then hollow it out according to specs…..fill sections with helium, for lift….and add a few propeller engines….stream lined, and outer layer is composite protected surface….

    Reply

    oracle August 18, 2009 at 6:43 am

    fantastic website you got here

    would be nice if you could add the metric equivalents in the statistics pages

    Reply

    Dan (Airships.net) August 18, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Yes, I agree completely, and it is on my list of things to do!

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    Adrian Hoogenbosch July 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I was born in the Netherlands on June 1928, until 1939 I spent many summers
    at my Dutch grandparents home in Cleve, Germany. There, one summer evening in 1936 I saw boths, the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg at the same time. It was a magnifcient sight and very clear in my memory. The huge airships flew low and slow,
    they were lit up like Christmas trees and there was loud music and the sound of bells. It was fantastic— but my granny, a lovely wise lady said it was all a show of propaganda for the regime.

    Reply

    Robert Prince June 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    GONDOLA…………SORRY!!!!!

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    Robert Prince June 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    What in fact were the propellers used on the Graf Zepplin. I have:
    # D305 #
    H230
    HEINE
    44751
    8 LAMINATION 120″ (10′) 3.2 M, WITH BRASS TIPS

    WOULD THIS WORK AS A PROP ON THE AFT GANDOLA ? tHX RP

    Reply

    Robert Prince June 22, 2009 at 6:20 am

    I have what is to be a prop form the Graf Zep. A Hiene Prop that is 10′ ft long.
    It was given to me in Buenos Aires, Agentina 10+ years ago. I have found Pix that match, but no other info. Can you help. Thx rp

    Reply

    Dan (Airships.net) June 22, 2009 at 8:20 am

    What type of help do you mean?

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    RICHARD A. GRIMES June 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Dan, I saw the Graf Zeppelin in 1933. I was four years old. It flew over my house in White Plains (Greene County), Georgia at a low altitude. Can you tell me where it came from and where it was going? Also, what was the date?

    Dick

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    Bryan McFarland August 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Dick,
    I just stumbled onto this terrific webpage a few days ago. Maybe Dan could concur, but I believe the Graf Zeppelin was heading north to Chicago for the 1933 World’s Fair after leaving Miami where it stopped to drop off passengers from Rio. British Pathe has a film of the ship landing at the stub mast at Opa Locka Naval Air Station, Miami.

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    Dan (Airships.net) August 18, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    One of the items on my “to do” list for the website is a listing of Graf Zeppelin’s major flights, but perhaps this will help in the meantime.

    After its last South American crossing of 1933, LZ-127 flew to Miami (Opa Locka, as Bryan correctly noted), where the ship landed on October 23, 1933. The ship left Miami/Opa Locka on October 24 and flew to Akron, Ohio, where it landed the next day, before flying to Chicago on October 26 for an appearance at the 1933 A Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago.

    Here is a photo of the ship at Opa Locka:

    LZ-127 at Opa Locka (Miami)

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    Bryan McFarland August 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Beautiful picture! In the early 1930s, Opa Locka was just a stone throws away from marshland. Now, it’s a sprawling suburb.

    Too bad the Graf didn’t make more Germany-Florida visits.

    Reply

    Charles Johnston May 2, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Hi

    Can you tell us the cost of a ticket across the Atlantic, and what would be the equivalent today. Compare with ocean liners of the time. Did the cost reduce or increase from 1928 to 1937.

    Thank you

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    Dan (Airships.net) May 3, 2009 at 9:23 am

    @ Charles Johnston:

    Thank you for your comment.

    You can find the cost of transatlantic passage via Hindenburg vs. ocean liner on this site at http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/lz-129.

    (I don’t convert to current values because that is actually a theoretically complicated exercise; different economists approach this topic with different assumptions, since different costs inflate at different rates, so there is no “one answer” to how much a 1936 US dollar is worth in 2009 US dollars, much less how much a 1936 Reichsmark is worth in 2009 Deutschemarks or 2009 US dollars. See, for example, http://eh.net/hmit or http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/.

    Reply

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