Mystery death of the airship "Hindenburg"
History decreed that the death of the best German, American and British airship came in time their most popular series of the Holocaust have followed, and the supporters of the "heavier-than-air" took advantage of this. Specifically, manufacturers and aircraft designers for many years inspired the idea to people that explosive hydrogen and extremely large size of the airship, making them a toy elements and all kinds of accidents, they say that they are dangerous for the passenger and must be replaced by air as a more reliable, high-speed less whimsical and more cost-effective. Not fit for airships of war in the air because of its vulnerability to enemy fire ... Last "deficiency" and finally buried airships.
From airships abandoned, but not forgotten!
People are especially shocked the death of the "reliable" and expensive passenger airship "Hindenburg", built by engineers at the shipyard in Germany in 1936
It was really an engineering marvel, a giant flying ship, capable of taking on board and 72 passengers at a speed of 140 kilometers per hour and move them to the US Its length was 245 meters, with the largest diameter of 30 meters of its total volume was 200 000 m³
The passengers were a cafe with a small stage and a white piano, promenade deck and comfortable cabins. Each cabin on the wall hung a portrait of Field Marshal Hindenburg in dress uniform. After the airship visited Adolf Hitler, who shortly before the Hindenburg handed over power, and hung portraits of the Fuhrer.
Preserved unique footage from an American cameraman, captured the stunning picture of the death of "Hindenburg". Their hitherto examined by experts and criminologists, trying to find the cause of ignition of hydrogen and to answer the question, what was the cause of death of the airship - lightning or bomb.
"Hindenburg" was doing his regular 18-th in a row, the flight across the Atlantic to New York. May 6 at Lakehurst it expected to meet, reporters, cameramen and mooring team. But "Gindenburr" because of the strong wind and stormy weather was late by 10 hours.
However, 36 passengers did not complain of boredom. Engineer ship Ernst Lehmann, climbed on to the stage, to the accompaniment of a piano virtuoso played harmonica folk German and Tyrolean music. The chef and confectioner Shteffler Meyer along with three cooks labored delicacies seven stewards and stewardess maneuvered between tables, serving passengers.
Among the passengers of the last voyage of the "Hindenburg" was a "butcher" millionaire industrialist from Vienna, a student from the Sorbonne, three officers of the German Air Force, a ballet dancer with Shepherd, a newspaperman from Bonn, a photographer from Hamburg and others.
"Hindenburg" The team was unusually high, consisted of 36 people. The firm "Zeppelin" was preparing the crew for the new airship IZ-130. The commander of the ship was a terse "Airwolf" 45-year-old Mark Prusm.
It is noteworthy that the company prior to departure "Hindenburg" received an anonymous threatening letter sent the dirigible "to the light" and sabotage his flights across the Atlantic. The management of the company was not a little alarmed, then he went into the flight director of economic engineer Ernest Lehman, the same one who was an excellent musician and a favorite of the passengers.
"In this situation, I have to be with my boys", - he announced his decision and remained adamant.
6 May, the day of the Ascension, New York seemed. To make the passengers a pleasant, spaceship commander Mark Preuss an hour circling over the roofs of skyscrapers, which led to the delight of passengers spilled out onto the promenade deck of the air giant.
About 16 hours "Hindenburg" finally appeared on Leyherstom. Stewards do the cleaning of beds and luggage arrangement in falrepa. Many passengers armed with binoculars, hoping to see relatives and friends who came to meet them.
However, quickly impending storm front from the West forced the crew decided to approach the mast and not approach close to the ground. When this wind would require a berthing team of 200 people to keep Zeppelin and enable small shunting locomotive, nicknamed "rail parrot", drag it into the hangar.
At 18:00 navigator received a telegram from the ground and the recommendation to approach the mast due to the strong wind.
On the ground, more than 1,000 people saw the "Hindenburg" to the sounds of vigorous march at an altitude of 200 meters describing the arc to put your nose to the wind, and then the engine worked 4 reverse and a silver-gray cigar slowly approached the mooring mast.
At a height of 60 meters of mooring lines were thrown, and the ground crew has got to the ends of the auxiliary anchor masts. After 4 minutes after a complete mooring in the back ballonet seemed bright flash and after her giant mushroom of fire shot up skyward. Beauty devouring flames engulfed the airship.
Passenger named Leonhard Adelt, who after 30 years of separation on the ground waiting for the brother, described the last dramatic seconds:
"My wife and I were on the promenade deck and a few excitedly looked down at the ground. Suddenly, everything around us has become a sinister and silent, it seemed as if the whole world held its breath - could not hear any commands, no cheers. I saw that at the bottom of people suddenly numb, but did not know why. Then I heard of a lightweight cotton, no louder than when you open a bottle of beer. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw a pale pink glow. It became clear that the ship is burning. "
Helmsman Helmut Lau at this point was, along with other members of the crew in the rear compartment and watched the mooring. Looking up, he found in the gas ballonet number 5 bright flame. His neighbor techniques Zaw ter involuntarily looked there too and turned pale as chalk, - a fierce fire devoured the airship. He managed to squeeze out: "The End, Helmut, the ship is burning."
However, they and the passengers who were in the hallway, lucky. Thirty seconds later the airship lifted his nose and hit the ground. Lau and two others managed to jump out. Leonhard Adelt and bailed out with his wife. They saved determination. Before the land was 12 meters, and the ship is already writhing in hellfire. Plucked from the beds and chairs tables barricaded their way. Leonhard saw around naked flames became red-hot metal parts of the airship and burst like strings, numerous braces. He had to shout to his wife: "Through the window ..." - and dragged her across the deck. Slightly lower food allowed them to jump from a height of five meters and thus escaped with only bruises. Behind them managed to jump another 12 people ...
The commander of the "Hindenburg" Mark Preuss, engineer Ernest Lehman and other crew members who were in the fore cabin, have been in their jobs until they are engulfed flames. Eight people died from suffocation because of the high combustion temperature of hydrogen oxygen was consumed. Officer Radioman Speck died of burns. 12 crew members and 13 passengers were recovered from the mangled stringers and frames dead.
And yet, by some miracle, 61 people were rescued. American ministry responsible for civil air traffic, immediately set up a commission to investigate the circumstances of the accident, which included Dr. Eckener and General Designer "Hindenburg" Dr. Duerr, as well as Professor Dickman as a leading expert on atmospheric electricity.
There were several versions of the death of "Hindenburg". The plants in Friedrichshafen and Zeppelin research station wireless telefafa and atmospheric electricity in Gräfelfing were recreated the physical conditions at the time of berthing "Hindenburg" as accurately as possible. Investigations were carried out in parallel, and then the results were compared.
First of all, I studied the possibility of ignition of hydrogen in ballonets corona ( "fires of St. Elmo"), which is approaching storm front. And I must say, the experimenters of Greyfelfinga did it!
The Commission published the conclusions, in particular:
"After the release of the anchor rope surface of the outer shell of the airship due to the low electrical conductivity of the coating was less grounded than the frame. With rapid changes in the ambient field, which is just observed in the case described, it creates a potential difference between the points on the outer surface of the airship shell and a metal frame. "
In the air, there may be local field of static electricity with a voltage many thousands of volts, which could cause a spark followed by ignition of the hydrogen-air mixture.
The last surviving member of the committee today, a senior staff engineer Friedrich Hoffmann Force expressed quite clearly:
"On the death of the" Hindenburg "I have no doubt that if there was an accident. This airship was the first with an outer coating, colored nitrocellulose lacquer, and the previous 118 zeppelins coating composition based on an oil varnish, which absorb water and become conductive while the nitrocellulose lacquer (enamel) - a thousand times better insulator - can accumulate on the surface static electricity , which in turn can give rise to spark discharge. "
This version is supported by physical experiments, however, had many opponents, among whom was the best connoisseur of the facts published and eaten in secret accidents and disasters in the air, the most "damaged" commander Zeppelin IZ-127 Dr. Hugo Eckener. Together with the surviving members of the crew, he held the view that it could only be sabotage. He repeatedly appeared in print with his statements about the causes of death "Hindenburg" and stayed with his point of view, until his death on 86 th year of life in 1954.
The fact that the composition of the crew on board the "Hindenburg" was antifascist Erich Shpel, who hated Hitler. It was he who, in his opinion (and police reasons), and sabotage ...
Commission investigating the causes of the accident "Hindenburg", found that hitting the beach itself was carried out in full compliance with the applicable regulations at the time. The most likely cause of the fire could actually be an electric spark, the more so that during the flight the watch engineers hydrogen leak was noticed. This has created a positive trim, which is to eliminate a team of six men teams go in the bow compartment was given over the intercom.
When the abrupt reversal could burst brace, lash much damage to the body and ballonet (such cases have already been). The resultant gas mixture becomes explosive, and it is not difficult to ignite not only the electric discharge, but also the exhaust gases from the engine, even shot a gun. Interestingly, some American newspapers claimed that the "Hindenburg" arson farmer from surroundings Lakehurst, which because of the roar of aircraft engines no longer carried chickens. Embittered farmer allegedly loaded his "byuksflint" and right from the yard of his farm plunged in an airship flying several charges. The Board reviewed this version, and it turned out that the experience of the First World War, testified that a hunting rifle zeppelin can punch, but not burn. Make it could flammable tracer charge, but none of the shots have not seen ... In addition, the farmer, as it turned out, only threatened, but did not shoot.
German Criminal Police and the Gestapo on the orders of the Fuhrer, also made an investigation, giving it a political color. They argued that "Gindenburr" was destroyed by the explosion of mines with a clockwork mechanism, mounted on the bottom of baloney number 4 member crew of a flying character of the German nation, a peculiar technical miracle.
Mina was to explode after berthing and after the passengers leave the airship. But the "Hindenburg" made "extra" lap and clockwork load. Sam Shpel jumped from a burning airship, but soon received from numerous burns has died in an American hospital.
Heinrich Himmler hastened to accuse the Communists of deliberate sabotage, but to support the application how ever strong evidence could not.
Donated and Americans. They were accused of that they did not give Germans for the "Hindenburg" non-flammable helium, which German experts intended to replace the hydrogen and which has been promised to the American industrialists. However, the Americans did not hide the fact that due to the imminent threat of war in Europe helium became a strategic commodity and fill them German zeppelins would be very frivolous step ...
The death of "Hindenburg" vLeykherste American congressmen reminded about the recent death of the beautiful military helium airship "Akron" and "monofilament" that have proved to be very short life. The first was killed during a hurricane in April 1933, the second - in February 1935. Double US President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress to continue funding new projects airships capable of carrying up to 9 bombers!
With these airships Americans wanted to put an end to the supremacy of the Germans in this area. Subsequent events, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor allowed military experts cast reproach denomination: airships Coast Guard, in their opinion, would not let go unnoticed by ships. The reaction was immediate. The money was released, and the company "Goodyear" started to produce up to 20 airships a month, though small in size, which for many years were on patrol duty at the US coasts.