In the first third of the twentieth century were aeronautics enthusiasts all-nation heroes in the years they have conquered with equal ease air spaces and women's hearts. His success proved to be fearless pilots are required the German officer, to visit America during the American Civil War. It is extremely interested in balloons, which the enemy used for aerial reconnaissance. For the first time in his life he took to the air and fly over the Mississippi River is so subdued the man, that he forever linked his life to the aeronautics. Called a German officer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (July 8, 1838 - March 8 1917). And since then, the word "airship" and "Zeppelin" have become synonymous.
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, Colonel Zeppelin had participated in the siege of Paris and saw the city rise sixty balloons, which take out the mail, military units and politicians.
Von Zeppelin believed that the huge airships would contribute to the military might of Germany. However, the project of the military use lighter-than-air, directed in 1887 by the Kaiser, was found frivolous.
Increasingly, in his diaries, drawings appeared unseen devices generated by his imagination. Increasingly in Berlin frown, getting more and more as it seemed ridiculous armada controlled searchlights creation of airships.
It came to a conflict with the Emperor Wilhelm II. Irritating Command Count-dreamer was given the rank of Lieutenant General and in 1890 was dismissed from the army.
Zeppelin returned to the places of his childhood. On their own money on the shore of Lake Constance, he opened a small shop and hired a talented young engineers. It took eight years to prepare for the construction of the first dirizhablin. Over the years, the District clung to him the nickname fool graph - few people understand what does this madcap spending family money kind of Zeppelins.
Airships can be of three types: soft - with a body made of rubberized fabric, semi - with metal farm along the bottom, and hard - with a metal frame, which stretched fabric.
Count of built hard type. As the lifting gas bags used with hydrogen, which fills the frame dirizhablin. The bottom was attached to the bottom of the housing and the control gondola gondola with motors. The frame was made of newfangled and incredibly expensive aluminum.
He was not the first Zeppelin airship builder. In 1899, the Frenchman Santos Dumont on his machine circled the Eiffel Tower.
However, Zeppelin was the first who reacted to his passion as a business. In addition, he had considerable capital, and his childhood friend was the King of Württemberg, allowed to build a hangar on Lake Constance for the first apparatus. In 1898 the corporation was created, one third of the capital contributed graph.
His first "Zeppelin" took to the skies over Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen in July 1900. A lot of people with a sinking behold as within 18 minutes of a 127-meter blimp was flying. They ran the count himself. The device turned out to be slow and clunky. In its motion are two weak Daimler engine.
After 20 minutes of the flight had to sit on the water of Lake Constance. Disappointed shareholders demanded their money back, and Zeppelin bought out their shares. The second airship LZ-2 was built only in 1906 - but the take-off had fallen off the engines and uncontrollable body barely dipped into the water of the lake.
In 1908, seventy-year graph managed to stay in the air for eight hours aboard the LZ-4, and even fly into neighboring Switzerland. But in the same year, the Zeppelin was forced to urgently put another unit due to faulty engines. The same night, the storm completely destroyed flown attached to land the airship. It was a disaster! Count own money ran out, the newspapers mocked and strategists from Berlin stopped even responding to his proposals.
After the death of LZ-4 at the Zeppelin was no more money for the construction of the new unit.
But then a miracle happened. The residents, who learned from the newspapers about another catastrophe "mad Count" began to send him money. A few days Zeppelin received the amount, which was enough for the production of next dirizhablin. Berlin finally noticed the incredible diligence graph, and the emperor personally allocated half a million marks to maintain its projects.
Then the company was founded on the construction of airships (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH) and the light there were other "Zeppelin". Count no longer considered eccentric - he gained fame. "The greatest German of the XX century" began to call him the Kaiser.
In 1909, Ferdinand von Zeppelin founded the world's first airline transport "German airships» (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts - Aktien - Gesellschaft). A year later, began scheduled flights four airships in Germany.
To do this, in the largest cities built special hangars and huge mooring mast. Particular attention is paid propaganda Count of flights on its korablinh. However, almost immediately became a symbol of airships of the new century and the omnipotence of technology.
This was aided by the incredible beauty of these cigar-shaped devices and amaze sizes. Each was accompanied by the appearance of dirizhablin pandemonium. Thus from 1909 to 1914, there was not a single accident. Airships "Graf Zeppelin" and "Hindenburg" is flying from Germany via Rio de Janeiro and back to Lakehurst.
Zeppelin "is a tremendous size and shape of a cigar. The metal frame was covered with a cloth on the outside. Dirizhablin inside or underneath the gondola was with the crew, the passengers were located here. To lift the balloon into the sky using hydrogen is stored in the body dirizhablin, numerous compartments, or cylinders.
Earl continued to improve its technically zeppelins. In 1909, he hired an engineer Wilhelm Meybaha, who had worked at the plant of Daimler. Mabe led the Zeppelin company subsidiary, which was engaged in the production of engines for airships.
After World War I it became a division into a separate company Maybach Motornbau, it created the legendary machines.
However, the main impetus to the development of business Zeppelin gave, of course, the orders for the army. By 1914, the military received from Zeppelin 12 vehicles. Airships attracted them as an opportunity to finally get to England.
During the First World War, Germany was the only power that has used great airships of the rigid structure. By the end of the war it was built over cta of zeppelins.
At the beginning of the First World War the German armed forces used "Zeppelins" for reconnaissance in enemy territory and bombing, but soon they installed the machine guns.
In May 1915 the first time in the history of mankind there was air attack - armada zeppelins bombed London's East End. From a military point of view, the result was insignificant - killed seven dockworkers. However, the psychologically important victory was won - now no one could feel safe, even in the rear.
However, the flip side of this was national hatred in England everything German. Sami airships while English was referred to as the babykillers - killer of children.
Zeppelins became a perfect symbol of excellence, but in battle they were very vulnerable. By 1917, Germany lost almost his entire air armada - 106 ships were shot down.
In 1917, he died Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. His business was headed by Hugo Ekkner, former spokesman of the company. However, under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles had lost the war, Germany was forbidden to use airships.
The winners shared any remaining post-war zeppelins, and brought them out of the country as trophies. Angara and mooring masts were destroyed (although, for example, a hangar near Berlin, the Germans used as a practical kinopavilonov famous studio UFA).
It is the end. Plants Zeppelin idle. However, Hugo Ekkner found a way out - to order the United States in 1920, he built the airship LZ-126. And Americans would fill this ship is not dangerous hydrogen and helium recently discovered that even though he was ten times more expensive, but it has an important advantage - not ignited.
Overseas money saved the company from bankruptcy. And in 1923 Ekkner created a joint venture with the American company Goodyear, which received patents Zeppelin and German experts. These measures managed to survive the tough times and wait for the abolition of the post-war restrictions in 1925. It began the golden age of the German airship.
The era of "Zeppelin" reached a peak in 1929, when the "Graf Zeppelin" toured the world. Having started in Lakehurst, the airship flew over the globe from west to east for 21 days, making stops in Friedrichshafen, Tokyo, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In the book "Hindenburg" - An Illustrated History "says:
"At that time the popularity of" Graf Zeppelin "has an almost mystical. Wherever he went, he made a sensation everywhere. It would not be wrong to say that it was the most famous of all that ever existed airships, including a modern "Concord».
Journey to the airship different from flying in a modern aircraft. Imagine yourself on board the "Hindenburg", which is the length of three times the modern Airbus and the height was equal to the 13-storey building. You do not assign a chair, and the whole cabin with a bed and toilet. At take-off is not necessary to wear a seat. You can stand in the cabin, walk around the cabin or deck, watching the windows. All these rooms were huge "belly" dirizhablin, which seats 50 passengers. The restaurant tables under starched white tablecloths were are served silverware and crockery. And in the cabin there was even a small piano.
Moving at a speed of 130 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 200 meters above sea level, "Hindenburg" in 1936 has made the fastest flight across the North Atlantic for 43 hours.
One of the biggest enemies of "Zeppelin" was the bad weather. Of the 24 airships built by Count Zeppelin, 8 out of order due to bad weather. In 1925, the American dirigible "Shenandoah" strong winds ripped to shreds. The death of the other two airships due to severe weather conditions, put an end to the era of airships in the United States.
However, in Germany still believed in the reliability "Zeppelin" and their continued production. But in May 1937 there was an accident that shook the entire world.
The death of "Hindenburg" concluded the era of giant airships that lasted more than 30 years.