It was March 4, 1936, when a colossal aircraft entered in space of Germany for the very first time. It was 804 ft in length and was 3 times bigger than today’s aircraft Boeing 707 only 80 ft smaller than the Titanic ship. When it used to fly, it looked amazing and everyone used to be surprised because it was the biggest airship to date. Germany’s famous aircraft company “Zeppelin Company” created this giant aircraft. Unfortunately, after one year of its first flight, on May 6, 1937, it burnt to ashes, suddenly. This incident, famously known as the Hindenburg crash, took place in only 32 seconds.
What were the reasons behind this crash? What hypotheses were made to create the reasons for its crash? We’ll discuss this in this article.
The Construction of Aircraft – Hindenburg
LZ 129 Hindenburg aircraft was the largest airship constructed till today. In the world of technology, it was a huge invention. Its length was 804 ft (245m) and its diameter was 135 ft ( 41.2m) according to airships.net. It consisted of 52 passengers bed in different cabins, one writing room, one smoking room, and one dining room. The furniture was prepared with lightweight aluminum. In order to prevent any mishap in the smoking room, it was designed carefully. A double-door airlock was constructed so that no gas could not enter this room.
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It was wider than any aircraft. Moreover, it used to get power from 4 engines. Everyone considered it the safest airship ever. There were 16 gas cells by which it could fly at high altitudes. They were filled with Helium gas because helium gas was considered safer than hydrogen gas. Helium gas was considered non-toxic and non-flammable. Moreover, at that time Germany had not helium gas, that’s why hydrogen gas was filled.
Hindenburg and Nazi Party
This giant airship was constructed in Germany during the Hitler times. It was named after Field Marshal Paul Von Hindenburg who ruled Germany as a president from 1925 to 1934. The Propaganda Minister of the Nazi party, Joseph Goebbels, used this aircraft as Germany’s power. It was also used for propaganda many times which can be gauged by the fact that this aircraft was used to drop pamphlets all over Germany before World War II. One of the propaganda tours did this to ask for support from the German army.
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It was Monday, May 6, 1937, when Hindenburg started its flight from Frankfurt to the USA. It had 97 individuals, out of which 36 were passengers and 61 were crew members. Everyone had the desire to have a flight on this giant airship. Its crew members took all lighters and matches because they were very dangerous for the journey. Smoking had a separate room. It was a long flight. When the airship entered New York, everyone was so excited.
Due to weather conditions, the flight took more time. Suddenly, at 7:25 pm, a spark of fire appeared on the tail of the Hindenburg. This spark moved the tail side downwards and the front side upwards. However, it was a game of only seconds when the whole airship caught the fire, and the Nazi’s pride was taken away from them. A little spark took only 32 seconds to catch fire to the whole airship.
The Hindenburg crash ended gas-filled aircraft and now no aircraft has gas fillings of hydrogen. Everyone was scared of it. No airship after Hindenburg was prepared on its framework. In this disaster, 35 individuals were killed and many of them were injured. Many people used to jump from windows to protect their lives. Fortunately, 62 survived the crash despite some injuries.
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Causes behind the Crash
Almost after 80 years of research and scientific examinations support the same conclusion described by the original German and American accident investigations in 1937. It seems obvious that an electrostatic charge or spark was caused to ignite the leaking hydrogen gas. However, the reason behind the leakage of hydrogen is still an enigma which was never been solved till today.
On the other side, it is also confusing that constructors of airships carefully constructed it then how did this short circuit happen? Many investigators also called this accident a pre-planned conspiracy. Moreover, some called it the incident of enemies of the Nazis. So, we can say that the hatred of the Hitlersim caused the Hindenburg disaster.
There is another hypothesis about this accident that, a time bomb crashed this largest airship. They blamed one of the crew members, Eric Scale. They said that Eric had a relationship with the girl of the enemies of the Nazi party who ordered her to fix the time bomb. Moreover, he set the time when all people would have landed but due to weather conditions, the landing got delayed and this all people became the victim of this time bomb. Eric also lost his life in this incident.
There is another hypothesis about this crash that the USA was directly or indirectly involved in this. Two gases, helium, and hydrogen could be only used in airships that are lighter than air. In those times, only the Soviet Union and the USA had helium gas. Everyone knew that Hydrogen gas was somewhat dangerous. Due to the USA policies, exports of helium gas were banned at that time. So, Germany couldn’t import helium gas from either there USA or the Soviet Union. Therefore, it used hydrogen gas in aircraft.