Graf Zeppelin’s Interior: The Gondola

The control room and passenger areas on the Graf Zeppelin were both located within the airship’s 98′ long gondola.

Gondola of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

Gondola of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin.  (click all photos to enlarge)

As seen in the deckplan included in this 1934 brochure, the ship’s control room was located at the very bow of the gondola, just ahead of the chart room, radio room, and kitchen.

Deckplan of Graf Zeppelin's Gondola

Deckplan of Graf Zeppelin’s Gondola.  (click all photos to enlarge)

The Control Room, Chart Room, and Radio Room

The control room contained rudder and elevator control wheels, gas and water ballast release controls, engine telegraphs, and flight and navigation instruments.

Graf Zeppelin Control Room

Graf Zeppelin Control Room

Graf Zeppelin Control Room

Graf Zeppelin Control Room

Chart Room of Graf Zeppelin

Chart Room of Graf Zeppelin

Radio Room of Graf Zeppelin

Radio Room of Graf Zeppelin

The Kitchen

Across from the radio room was a small kitchen containing electric burners and ovens, an electric water heater, a refrigeration unit, and compact storage and preparation areas.  Obviously, no open flames were allowed on the hydrogen-filled airship.

Kitchen of Graf Zeppelin

Kitchen of Graf Zeppelin

The Passenger Lounge and Dining Room

Aft of the kitchen was a combination lounge/dining room, approximately 16′ square, which was the only public passenger space aboard the ship.

Lounge and Dining Area on Graf Zeppelin

Lounge and Dining Area on Graf Zeppelin

But while the surroundings were luxurious, they were also unheated, and during the winter months, or when the ship flew over the North Atlantic, or during the flight over Siberia as part of the 1929 Round-the-World flight, passengers often spent much of their time wrapped in heavy winter coats or covered by layers of blankets while ice crystals formed on the windows.

As frequent passenger Lady Grace Drummond Hay described it:

We have a million cubic feet of gas but no heat. . . . Merciless cold driving through the canvas walls of this flying tent. … I have visualized myself gracefully draped over a saloon window ledge romantically viewing the moonlit sky. The men . . . have reminded each other not to forget evening jackets and boiled shirts in their baggage. We have drawn ourselves lovely pictures of dining elegantly in mid-air with Commodore Eckener at the head of a flower-decked table . . . but . . . leather coats, woollies and furs will be our evening dress.  Hot soup and steaming stew more welcome than cold caviar and chicken salad.

Lounge and Dining Area on Graf Zeppelin

Lounge and Dining Area on Graf Zeppelin

Dinner on the Graf Zeppelin

Dinner on the Graf Zeppelin

Graf Zeppelin China

Graf Zeppelin China

The Passenger Cabins

Accommodation for the ship’s twenty passengers was provided in ten small cabins, containing upper and lower berths similar to those aboard a railroad sleeping car, and which could be arranged for daytime or nighttime use.  Like the rest of the ship, the cabins were unheated. The cabins were located on a narrow corridor, at the end of which were separate washrooms for men and women.

Steward making up berth

Steward making up berth

Passenger Cabin of Graf Zeppelin

Passenger Cabin of Graf Zeppelin

Passenger Cabin aboard LZ-127

Passenger Cabin aboard LZ-127 during the Day

Passenger berths aboard LZ-127

Passenger Cabin aboard LZ-127 at Night

Passenger Corridor on Graf Zeppelin

Passenger Corridor on Graf Zeppelin

Women's Washroom on Graf Zeppelin

Women’s Washroom on Graf Zeppelin

Deckplan of Graf Zeppelin's Gondola

Deckplan of Graf Zeppelin’s Gondola. (click all photos to enlarge)

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Yama
Yama

That deckplan looks different to others I have seen, it has room for 24 passengers in stead of usually mentioned 20. Was that an unrealized plan, or was the gondola modified at some point? edit. Ah I see, my question was answered already below by Jurek. Mea culpa!

Lois Race
Lois Race

I have a great fascination with the Graf Zepplin. It lasted and was safe unlike all the other airships. It would of been such fun to fly in one. Too bad they can’t make them now adays.

George Adamo
George Adamo

My great uncle, Hans Ladwig, was navigator on the Graf Zeppelin on its’ circumnavigation in 1929. I have a pewter cup that was used on board the airship. He went on to captain status and flew many round trips from Germany to Lakehurst.

Chris
Chris

I’ve been trying to figure out from these diagrams and info whether it was possible to go between the engine pods and the main cabin. It looks like there’s only some aluminum beams holding them in place. Were the engineers trapped in the engine pods for the entire duration of… Read more »

Matthias
Matthias

Can someone explain to me why some sources state that the Graf could carry 20 passengers, while others say it carried 24 passengers? Also, there is an inconsistency in the number of cabins on different deckplans. The one used in this article shows us 8 cabins for 2 passengers each… Read more »

Jurek from Poland
Jurek from Poland

Yes I can. In 1933, the gondola of the airship was enlarged. Previously, there were 20 places, then 24. Added two small cabins at the end of the corridor, behind the toilets.

John Mclaren
John Mclaren

The biggest surprise for Zeppelin fans is the entire ship was unheated! And for that matter, not air conditioned. That’s going to be a problem.

Joe
Joe

I love everything about old rigid airships
I wish i couldve experienced the luxury and adventure of this old ship

A Johnson
A Johnson

And the lack of heat! It would be cozy and great for snuggling; I’ll give you that!

Bruce G Bohl
Bruce G Bohl

Was wondering about the passenger cabins, Graf or Hindy….did they have locks and keys? Have never seen ANYTHING referencing that detail.

Ken Castile
Ken Castile

The Graf Zeppelin’s design required the development of light weight structure much of which, the principles, were used in the following aircraft designs. I have been thru Zeppelin’s plant in Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee (Germany) and they have an impressive display of some of the early aircraft structural elements they… Read more »

Dina Doering
Dina Doering

I had no idea at the extent of this airship. Thanks for informing us so throughly.