The control room and passenger areas on the Graf Zeppelin were both located within the airship’s 98′ long gondola.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It wasn’t safe, it was lucky. 🙂
But I wish I could fly in one also!
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.
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 »
I believe they had collapsible ladders up into the main body. A precarious journey at the start and end if your shift!
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 »
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.
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.
I love everything about old rigid airships
I wish i couldve experienced the luxury and adventure of this old ship
And the lack of heat! It would be cozy and great for snuggling; I’ll give you that!
I suspect Grace Drummond Hay and her “companion” Karl von Wiegand would agree. 🙂
Karl with his mentally ill wife waiting back at the hotel…Lady Drummond was probably one of the highlights of that trip as she was the first woman to fly around the world on such an airship..almost 100 years ago
Was wondering about the passenger cabins, Graf or Hindy….did they have locks and keys? Have never seen ANYTHING referencing that detail.
They only had heavy curtains (not door) to keep weight down. So no key.
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 »
I had no idea at the extent of this airship. Thanks for informing us so throughly.