Facts about Ferdinand von Zeppelin - Charter Flight Group

Facts about Ferdinand von Zeppelin


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Facts about Ferdinand von Zeppelin

Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a German general. He was the acknowledged inventor and designer of the rigid dirigible or airship balloon. He was born on July 8, 1838 in Konstanz, Baden, Germany. He attended a military school at Ludwigsburg and became a cadet in 1855. At the age of 20, he became an officer in the army of Wurttemberg. In 1858, Zeppelin was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In that same year, he took leave to study Science, Engineering, and Chemistry at the University of Tubingen. He was called up to join the Prussian Army in 1859. Four years after, he went to the United States and took leave to be a military observer during the American Civil War. While in Minnesota, he explored the headwaters of the Mississippi River, abled Zeppelin to make his first balloon flight.

At the end of American Civil War, he returned to Germany with a keen interest in balloon flight and concentrated on designing and constructing airships. In 1869, he married Isabella Freiin von Wolff from Livonia. They had a daughter named Hella. She was born in Ulm in 1879. Zeppelin published a comprehensive plan for a civil air transportation system based on large lighter-than-air ships in 1887. He had his resignation from the army in 1891 reaching the position of brigadier general and founded an airship factory at Friedrichshafen using his funds. Zeppelin devoted his full attention to the design and construction of engine-powered dirigibles.

In 1900, he completed his first rigid dirigible. The ship had a rigid frame which served as the prototype of many subsequent models. The first Zeppelin airship consisted of a row of 17 Hydrogen gas cells, each individually covered in a rubberized cloth; the assembly was confined in a cylindrical framework covered with a smooth-surfaced cotton cloth. It was about 420 ft long and 38 ft in diameter; the hydrogen gas capacity totaled 399,000 cu ft. The ship was steered by forward and aft rudders and was driven by two 15-hp Daimler internal-combustion engines, each rotating two propellers. Passengers, crew, and engine were carried in two aluminum gondolas suspended forward and aft. On July 2, 1900, the airship had its first trial, it carried five persons; attaining an altitude of 13000 feet and flew a distance of 3.75 miles in 17 miles. Despite many setbacks, Zeppelin conducted further research and in 1908, he established the Zeppelin Foundation for the development of aerial navigation and the manufacture of airships at Friedrichshafen. That same year, one of his airships was given the provision of making the first commercial air service for passengers. Zeppelins had commercial mail and passenger flights over Germany, with an impressive safety record despite the risks in using highly flammable hydrogen gas to inflate the airships. Up until 1914, the German Aviation Association (Deutsche Luftschifffahrtsgesellschaft or DELAG) transported nearly 35,000 people on over 1500 flights without an incident.

Zeppelin airships were used in German air raids over Britain and France during World War 1 but were found to be vulnerable to antiaircraft fire. The airships were effectively removed from front line service at Verdun in 1916, as improved Allied aircraft succeeded in achieving a higher destruction rate.

The Hindenburg disaster marked the beginning of the end for the Zeppelins era, which is tragic to know. But with Charter Flight Group, there is absolutely nothing for you to be anxious about. We are committed to providing the safest chartered flights for every client.  We want to ensure that your chartered flights are comfortable and worry-free. Avail our chartered flights now!