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The Hindenburg Disaster

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1 The Hindenburg Disaster
Jessica Torres World Event PowerPoint CUED 4850

2 Tennessee Social Studies Standards
1.02 Discuss cultures and human patterns of places and regions of the world. 3.02 Recognize the interaction between human and physical systems around the world. 5.06 Understand the changing role of the United States in World affairs.

3 Hindenburg Occurrence Summary
Date May 6, 1937 Type Airship fire Site Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, NJ Passengers 36 Crew 61 Injuries Unknown Fatalities 36 (13 passengers, 22 crew, 1 ground crew) Survivors 62 Aircraft type Hindenburg-class airship Aircraft name Hindenburg Operator Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei Tail number D-LZ129 Flight origin Frankfurt am Main, Germany Destination Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, NJ

4 Summary Continued….. The Hindenburg was the first airliner to provide regularly scheduled service between Europe and North America. The Hindenburg was the first airliner to provide regularly scheduled service between Europe and North America. While the airship is better remembered for the fiery Hindenburg disaster of 1937 than for its many technological achievements, it was the fastest and most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic in its day.

5 Hindenburg Brochure

6 The Hindenburg Disaster
The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937 brought an abrupt end to the age of the rigid airship. After more than 30 years of passenger travel on German commercial zeppelins (during which tens of thousands of passengers flew over a million miles on more than 2,000 flights without a single injury) the era of the passenger zeppelin came to an end in a few fiery minutes. The exact cause of the accident has not been determined, but one thing is clear; the disaster had nothing to do with the zeppelin’s fabric covering. In fact, the Hindenburg was only the last in a long line of hydrogen airships destroyed by fire as a result of their highly flammable lifting gas.

7 The Hindenburg’s Last Flight
Hindenburg began its last flight on May 3, 1937 carrying 36 passengers and 61 officers, crew members, and trainees. The ship left the Frankfurt airfield at 7:16 PM and flew over Cologne, and then crossed the Netherlands before following the English Channel past the chalky cliffs of Beachy Head in southern England, and then heading out over the Atlantic shortly after 2:00 AM the next day. Headwinds delayed the airship’s passage across the Atlantic, and the Lakehurst arrival, which had been scheduled for 6:00 AM on May 6th, was postponed to 6:00 PM. By noon on May 6th the ship had reached Boston, and by 3:00 PM Hindenburg was over the skyscrapers of Manhattan in New York City.

8 The Hindenburg’s Last Flight
The ship flew south from New York and arrived at the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey at around 4:15 PM, but the poor weather conditions at the field concerned the Hindenburg’s commander, Captain Max Pruss, and the commanding officer, who sent a message to the ship recommending a delay in landing until conditions improved. By 6:00 PM conditions had improved; at 6:12 Rosendahl sent Pruss a message relaying temperature, pressure, visibility, and winds which Rosendahl considered “suitable for landing.”  At 6:22 Rosendahl radioed Pruss “Recommend landing now,” and at 7:08 Rosendahl sent a message to the ship strongly recommending the “earliest possible landing.”

9 The Landing Approach Hindenburg approached the field at Lakehurst from the southwest shortly after 7:00 PM at an altitude of approximately 600 feet.  Since the wind was from the east, after passing over the field to observe conditions on the ground, Captain Pruss initiated a wide left turn to fly a descending oval pattern around the north and west of the field, to line up for a landing into the wind to the east. A few minutes after the landing lines were dropped, R.H. Ward, in charge of the port bow landing party, noticed what he described as a wave-like fluttering of the outer cover on the port side, between frames 62 and 77, which contained gas cell number 5 . 

10 The Landing Approach He testified at the Commerce Department inquiry that it appeared to him as if gas were pushing against the cover, having escaped from a gas cell. Ground crew member R.W. Antrim, who was at the top of the mooring mast, also testified that he saw that the covering behind the rear port engine fluttering. At 7:25 PM, the first visible external flames appeared. Reports vary, but most witnesses saw the first flames either at the top of the hull just forward of the vertical fin (near the ventilation shaft between cells 4 and 5) or between the rear port engine and the port fin (in the area of gas cells 4 and 5, where Ward and Antrim had seen the fluttering). The fire quickly spread and soon engulfed the tail of the ship.

11 Survival and Death The fire spread quicly-consuming the ship in less than a minute-that survival was largely a matter of where one happened to be located when the fire broke out. Passengers and crew members began jumping out the promenade windows to escape the burning ship, and most of the passengers and all of the crew who were in the public rooms on A Deck at the time of the fire — close to the promenade windows — did survive.  Those who were deeper inside the ship, in the passenger cabins at the center of the decks or the crew spaces along the keel, generally died in the fire. Given the speed with which Hindenburg burned, survival for the crew was also largely a matter of luck. Hindenburg left Frankfurt with 97 souls onboard; 62 survived the crash at Lakehurst, although many suffered serious injuries.  Thirteen of the 36 passengers, and twenty-two of the 61 crew, died as a result of the crash, along with one member of the civilian landing party (Allen Hagaman).

12 Historic Coverage The disaster is well recorded because of the significant extent of newsreel coverage and photographs, as well as Herbert Morrison’s live converage on-the-scene. 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 popular culture. There is still not an exact cause of this disaster. There are many hypothesis and this is one of the many reasons why this is such an historical event. After this disaster, air ships became non-existent. The people could not forget what had happened.

13 Hindenburg Timeline The Hindenburg is constructed from 1931 to 1936.
Over the winter of 1936–37, several changes were made including adding 10 passenger cabins, nine with two beds and one with four beds, and increasing the total passenger capacity to 72. The Hindenburg is constructed from 1931 to 1936. Around 7:00 p.m. on May 6,1937 at an altitude of 650 feet the Hindenburg approached Lakehurst Naval Station in New Jersey. Twenty-five minutes later, the airship caught fire and crashed, completely burning in only 37 seconds. Of the 97 people on board, 13 passengers and 22 crew members died. One member of the ground crew was also killed, making a total of 36 lives lost in the disaster. The Hindenburg's first flight is on March 4, 1936 Hindenburg made 17 round trips across the Atlantic Ocean in 1936, with 10 trips to the U.S. and 7 to Brazil.

14 Work Cited "Hindenburg Disaster." 20th Century History. Web. 11 Dec <http://history1900s.about.com/cs/disasters/a/hindenburgcrash.htm>. "Vidicom : The Hindenburg Disaster - Titanic of the Sky." Vidicom Media Productions : Prime Time TV Documentaries. Web. 11 Dec <http://www.vidicom-tv.com/tohiburg.htm>. "The UnMuseum - Hindenburg." The Museum of UnNatural Mystery. Web. 11 Dec <http://www.unmuseum.org/hindenburg.htm>.


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