Sunday, March 28, 2010

Airships after World War I



Stamps issued by Togo showing the LZ 4, at bottom left is the Henri Giffard airship also Charles's balloon


Stamps were issued in 1964 to commemorate first flight of the national air carrier AIR TOGO




A plaque, located at 61 Farringdon Road, London, commemorating a World War I Zeppelin raid on London.

Post World War I, the Allies demanded that the zeppelins built in 1920/21 be delivered to them as war reparations.  This temporarily brought to a halt further zeppelin manufacture.  However, Dr Hugo Eckener & his team kept looking for ways to circumvent Allied restrictions,  Their opportunity came in 1924 

The United States had started to experiment with rigid airships, constructing one of their own, the ZR-1 USS Shenandoah. They ordered another from the UK when the British R38 (ZR-2). However, the R38 (based on the Zeppelin L70, ordered as ZR-2) broke apart and exploded during a test flight above the Humber on 23 August 1921, killing 44 crewmen.

Dr. Eckener managed to acquire an order for the next American dirigible. Germany had to pay the costs for this airship itself, as they were set off against the war reparation accounts. But this was secondary for the Zeppelin company which looked at the potential for future orders. Engineer Dr. Dürr designed LZ 126 using all the expertise accumulated over the years. The company achieved its best Zeppelin so far, which took off for a first test flight on 27 August 1924.

LZ 126 was renamed ZR-3 USS Los Angeles and took off on its Transatlantic delivery flight from  Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst, New Jersey on 12th October, 1924.  The airship flew 8,050 kilometres  without any difficulties in 81 hours and two minutes. American crowds enthusiastically celebrated its arrival, and President Calvin Coolidge invited Dr. Eckener and his crew to the White House, calling the new Zeppelin an "angel of peace".

 USS Los Angeles flying over southern Manhattan

ZR 3 USS Los Angeles depicted on a Bermuda stamp commemorating 50th anniversary of airmail by Airship Los Angeles

The airship was commissioned into the US Navy on November 25, 1924 and became the most successful American airship,  She operated reliably for 8 years and was finally dismantled in 1940
Stamp issued by Dominica in 1978 showing LZ 1



Stamp issued by Dominica in 1978 showing LZ 2


1 comment:

Chip Raz said...

Wow, this is amazing. I've always believe that spacecraft only appears in the movie.Nice work.