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Hindenburg disaster


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Jason Vorhees
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« on: November 23, 2009, 02:23:39 pm »

Hindenburg disaster



LZ 129 Hindenburg The rear third of a large zeppelin burns violently in midair next to a skeletal tower, with a fireball larger than the zeppelin itself.
Hindenburg a few seconds after catching fire.
Occurrence summary
Date    6 May 1937
Type    Airship fire
Site    Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester, New Jersey
Coordinates: 4001′49″N 7419′33″W / 40.030392N 74.325745W / 40.030392; -74.325745
Passengers    36
Crew    61
Injuries    N/A
Fatalities    36 (13 passengers, 22 crew, 1 ground crew)
Survivors    61
Aircraft type    Hindenburg-class airship
Aircraft name    Hindenburg
Operator    Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei
Tail number    D-LZ129
Flight origin    Frankfurt, Germany
Destination    Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2009, 02:24:35 pm »

The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday 6 May 1937 as the LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within one minute while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, 35 people died in addition to one fatality on the ground. The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of theories have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire.

The accident served to shatter public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship, and marked the end of the airship era.[1]
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 02:25:18 pm »

The first of 10 scheduled round trips between Europe and the United States to be made by the Hindenburg in the 1937 season departed Frankfurt for Lakehurst on the evening of 3 May and except for strong headwinds which slowed the passage the crossing was otherwise uneventful. The airship was only half full with 36 passengers (capacity 70) and 61 crew members (including 21 training crew members), but the return flight was fully booked by people planning to attend the festivities for the coronation of King George VI in London the following week.

The airship was hours behind schedule when it passed over Boston on the morning of 6 May, and its landing at Lakehurst was expected to be further delayed because of afternoon thunderstorms. After passing over the field at 4 p.m., Captain Max Pruss thus took passengers on a tour over the seasides of New Jersey while waiting for the weather to clear. After finally being notified at 6:22 p.m. that the storms had passed, the airship headed back to Lakehurst to make its landing almost half a day late. However, as this would leave much less time than anticipated to service and prepare the airship for its scheduled departure back to Europe, the public was informed that they could not be permitted at the mooring location or be able to visit aboard the "Hindenburg" during its stay in port.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2009, 02:26:00 pm »

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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 02:27:06 pm »

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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 02:28:08 pm »

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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 02:28:21 pm »

Landing timeline

Around 7:00 p.m. local daylight saving time, at an altitude of 650 feet (200 m), the Hindenburg approached the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. This was to be a high landing, known as a flying moor, because the airship would be moored to a high mooring point, and then winched down to ground level. This type of landing maneuver would reduce the number of ground crew, but would require more time.

7:09: The airship made a sharp full speed left turn to the west around the landing field because the ground crew was not ready.

7:11: The airship turned back toward the landing field and valved gas. All engines idled ahead and the airship began to slow.

7:14: At altitude 394 feet (120 m), Captain Pruss ordered all engines full astern to try to brake the airship.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 02:28:43 pm »

7:17: The wind shifted direction to southwest, and Captain Pruss was forced to make a second, sweeping sharp turn, this time towards starboard.

7:19: The airship made the fifteen thousandth sharp turn and dropped 4000, 300 and 500 kg of water ballast in successive drops because the airship was stern heavy. Six men (four were killed in the accident[2]) were also sent to the bow to trim the airship. These methods worked and the airship was on even keel as it stopped.

7:21: At altitude 295 feet (90 m), the mooring lines were dropped from the bow, the starboard line being dropped first, followed by the port line. The port line was overtightened as it was connected to the post of the ground winch; the starboard line had still not been connected.
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2009, 02:29:31 pm »

First hints of disaster

At 7:25, a few witnesses saw the fabric ahead of the upper fin flutter as if gas were leaking.[3] Witnesses also reported seeing blue discharges, possibly static electricity, moments before the fire on top and in the back of the ship near the point where the flames first appeared.[4] Several other eyewitness testimonies suggest that the first flame appeared on the port side just ahead of the port fin, and was followed by flames which burned on top. Commander Rosendahl testified to the flames being "mushroom-shaped" and knew at once that the airship was doomed. One witness on the starboard side reported a fire beginning lower and behind the rudder on that side. On board, people heard a muffled explosion and those in the front of the ship felt a shock as the port trail rope overtightened; the officers in the control car initially thought the shock was due to a broken rope.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2009, 02:30:25 pm »

Disaster

At 7:25 p.m. local time, the Hindenburg caught fire and quickly became engulfed in flames.[3] Where the fire started is controversial; several witnesses on the port side saw yellow-red flames first just forward of the top fin, around the vent of cell 4.[3] Other witnesses on the port side noted the fire actually began just ahead of the horizontal port fin, only then followed by flames in front of the upper fin. One, with views of the starboard side, saw flames beginning lower and farther aft, near cell 1. No. 2 Helmsman Helmut Lau also testified seeing the flames spreading from cell 4 into starboard. Although there were four newsreel cameramen and at least one spectator known to be filming the landing, they were all recording the actions of the ground crew when the fire started and therefore there is no motion picture record of where it first broke out at the instant of ignition.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 02:30:58 pm »

Wherever it started, the flames quickly spread forward. Almost instantly, a water tank and a fuel tank burst out of the hull due to the shock of the blast. This shock also caused a crack behind the passenger decks, and the rear of the structure imploded. The buoyancy was lost on the stern of the ship, and the bow lurched upwards as the falling stern stayed in trim.

As the Hindenburg's tail crashed into the ground, a burst of flame came out of the nose, killing nine of the 12 crew members in the bow. As the airship kept falling with the bow facing upwards (because there was more lifting gas still in the nose), part of the port side directly behind the passenger deck collapsed inward (where a crack formed during the initial blast), and the gas cell there exploded, erasing the scarlet lettering "Hindenburg" while the airship's bow lowered. The airship's gondola wheel touched the ground, causing the airship to bounce up once more. At this point, most of the fabric had burned away. At last, the airship went crashing on the ground, bow first. The ship was completely destroyed. Although the hydrogen had finished burning, the Hindenburg's diesel fuel burned for a few more hours.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2009, 02:31:16 pm »

The time it took for the airship to be completely destroyed has been disputed. Some observers believe it took 34 seconds, others say it took 32 or 37 seconds. Since none of the newsreel cameras were filming the airship when the fire started, the time of the start of the fire can only be estimated from various eyewitness accounts, and will never be known accurately. One careful analysis of the flame spread, by Addison Bain of NASA, gives the flame front spread rate across the fabric skin as about 49 ft/s (15 m/s), which would have resulted in a total destruction time of about 16 seconds (245 m / 15 m/s = 16.3 s).
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2009, 02:32:05 pm »



A rare surviving fire damaged 9" cross brace made of duralumin from a structural "ring" of the frame of the German built and operated Zeppelin airship "Hindenburg" (DLZ-129) salvaged from the crash site at NAS Lakehurst, NJ, shortly after the airship was destroyed by fire while landing on a flight from Frankfurt, Germany, on May 6, 1937.

This artifact is a part of The Cooper Collection of Zeppelin Postal History
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2009, 02:32:30 pm »

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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2009, 02:33:12 pm »

Historic newsreel coverage

The disaster is well recorded because of the significant extent of newsreel coverage and photographs, as well as Herbert Morrison's recorded, on-the-scene, eyewitness radio report being made from the landing field for station WLS in Chicago which was broadcast the next day. Heavy publicity about the first transatlantic passenger flight of the year by Zeppelin to the U.S. attracted a large number of journalists to the landing. (The airship had already made one round trip from Germany to Brazil that year.) Parts of the Morrison report were later dubbed onto the newsreel footage and this gave the impression to many modern viewers, more accustomed to live television reporting, that the words and film were recorded together intentionally. Morrison's broadcast remains one of the most famous in history. His plaintive words, "Oh, the humanity!" resonate with the impact of the disaster, and have been widely used in culture. Part of the poignancy of Morrison's commentary is due to its being recorded at a slightly slower speed to the disk, so when played back at normal speed seeming to be at a faster delivery and higher pitch; when corrected, his account is less frantic sounding, though still impassioned.
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