8th August 1929:-Zeppelin Starts Around the World Flight (Video)

The growing popularity of the “giant of the air” made it easy for Zeppelin company chief Dr. Hugo Eckener to find sponsors for a “Round-the-World” flight. One of these was the American press tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who requested the tour to officially start at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ. As with the October, 1928, flight to New York, Hearst had placed a reporter, Grace Marguerite Hay Drummond-Hay, on board, who thereby became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air. The other passengers were also journalists, except one who paid for his ticket himself and two US naval officers.

   
Click all pictures for larger view

 On 8 August 1929, Graf Zeppelin flew back across the Atlantic to Friedrichshafen to refuel before continuing on 15 August across the vastness of Siberia to Tokyo (Kasumigaura Naval Air Station), a nonstop leg of 6,988 miles (11,246 km), arriving three days later on 18 August. Dr. Eckener believed that some of the lands they crossed in Siberia had never before been seen by modern explorers.

         
Route round the world flight            Round the world ticket

After staying in Tokyo for five days, on 23 August, the Graf Zeppelin continued across the Pacific to California flying first over San Francisco before heading south to stop at Mines Field in Los Angeles for the first ever nonstop flight of any kind across the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific leg was 5,998 miles (9,653 km) and took three days. The airship’s final leg across the United States took it over Chicago before landing back at Lakehurst NAS on 29 August, taking two days and covering 2,996 miles (4,822 km).

                       
Passenger lapel pins                    Silver coin 1930

The flying time for the Lakehurst to Lakehurst legs was 12 days and 11 minutes. The entire voyage took 21 days, 5 hours and 31 minutes including the initial and final trips between Friedrichshafen and NAS Lakehurst during which time the airship travelled 49,618 km (30,831 miles) whereas the distance covered on the designated “Round the World” portion from Lakehurst to Lakehurst was 31,400 km (19,500 miles).

Internal components and gas cell locations shown schematically, excluding passenger and engine gondolas. Key:
ACP = Auxiliary control post
red = AC = axial corridor running from main ring −2 to the front mooring hub
blue = LC = lower corridor running from main ring 20 to ring 211 ending at ladder to axial corridor
orange = WC = crew’s toilet
beige = CQ = crew’s quarters with tables, chairs and berths
beige = B = berths or cargo space
blue stripes = A = ventilation shaft
green stripes = CS = climbing shaft
brown stripes GE = exhaust gas shaft
brown box = O = oil tanks
yellow box = P = petrol tanks
light blue box = W = water tank
OP = Observation post on top of hull
pink cell = H2 = hydrogen gas cell
magenta cell = BG = Blaugas cell
Of course there is a lot more about this ship, and the things that was achieved, for a lot more information have a look in Wikiepedia.

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15 Responses to 8th August 1929:-Zeppelin Starts Around the World Flight (Video)

  1. travelrat says:

    I think airships such as this could be viable air transport of the future, especially if you’re not in a hurry to get where you’re going. If you ever read ‘Seize the Reckless Wind’ By John Gordon Davis, that gives an excellent account of what I’m talking about.

    (Our Army held trials of an airship not long ago … it ended in a crash … fortunately without injury … which caused great hilarity in the Air Force, who reckoned only the Army could prang a lighter-than-air aircraft!)

    I can get quite enthusiastic about airships, and still wait for a chance to fly in one.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      I haven’t read the book, but I will check it out, it sounds like a good read. Had to laugh about the crash, I can see the Air Force saying that. 🙂
      I would love to have a chance to go up in something like the Zeppelin, it would certainly be a trip to remember.

  2. Rebekah says:

    What a journey! I didn’t know anything … that the Zeppelin flew that far. I would not mind at all, taking a trip in one.. The only thing I remember about this air craft, is seeing pictures of one burning.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      It was in every newspaper about the Zeppelin explosion, and I remember reading about it in history books as well, it is a shame that they didn’t also print what great achievements were made as well. The Wikipedia entry on this is really great, it goes into not only the problems of the Zeppelin, but also the trips, it even explains about the other Zeppelins that were built.

      • travelrat says:

        It wasn’t the ‘Graf Zeppelin’ that came to grief, but the ‘Hindenburg’ and the British R-101 that spelled the end for this form of transport. ‘Zeppelin’ was on exhibition in Germany for many years, before being broken up.

        • magsx2 says:

          Hi travelrat,
          Thank You, you are correct, it was the Hindenburg and not the Graf Zeppelin, there is so much information on these ships, thank you for going through it all and finding that one out.

  3. Val says:

    Not sure I’d want to go up in one, but I’ve been below one – not a Zeppelin but a large airship – that flew (if ‘flew’ is quite the right word for the movement these things make in the air – lumber is more like it) over the street where I used to live. It was very creepy hearing the drone of it and then realising it was just over my head!

  4. Selma says:

    Quite amazing. I always worry about the flammable aspect, although I am sure the modern airships have lots of systems in place to safeguard against that. It would be quite an experience to fly in one!

  5. gregoryno6 says:

    Three days to cross the Pacific in a Zeppelin. That’s, let me see… well, it’s quite a few G&Ts, anyhow. You’d still be flying when you landed in California.

  6. Barbara Rodgers says:

    What a thrilling adventure that must have been for those on board! I think that was about the year my grandparents got married… it’s astonishing how far technology has taken us in such a relatively short period of time.

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