LZ129 Hindenburg Zeppelin "Last Flight" Postcard 1937
LZ129 Hindenburg Zeppelin "Last Flight" Postcard 1937 - This postcard was stamped and held in Germany before the Hindenburg left for the United States on its last, ill-fated voyage. Plain postcard, stamped "LUFTSCHIFF HINDENBURG, DEUTSCHLANDFAHRT, AM 1. MAI 1937" with graphics of the Hindenburg in flight and a Third Reich eagle, stamped "Begen Unsfalls ber Deutschlandfahrt Lastabwurf bei Nordamerikafahrt" (North America), postmarked May 1, 1937 at Frankfurt and May 3, 1937 at Cologne, two Third Reich stamps, addressed to "Herrn Ludwig Kunth, Berlin-Siemensstadt, Rieppelstr.23", on card stock, 103 mm x 147 mm, stained on the reverse, very fine. Footnote: LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume. It was designed and built by the Zeppelin Company on the shores of Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen and was operated by the German Zeppelin Airline Company. The airship flew from March 1936 until destroyed by fire fourteen months later on May 6, 1937, at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of its second season of service. Thirty-six people died in the accident, which occurred while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. After making the first South American flight of the 1937 season in late March, Hindenburg left Frankfurt for Lakehurst on the evening of May 3, on its first scheduled round trip between Europe and North America that season. Although strong headwinds slowed the crossing, the flight had otherwise proceeded routinely as it approached for a landing three days later. The Hindenburg's arrival on May 6 was delayed for several hours to avoid a line of thunderstorms passing over Lakehurst, but around 7:00 pm the airship was cleared for its final approach to the Naval Air Station, which it made at an altitude of 650 ft (200 m) with Captain Max Pruss at the helm. Four minutes after ground handlers grabbed hold of a pair of landing lines dropped from the nose of the ship at 7:21 pm, the Hindenburg suddenly burst into flames and dropped to the ground in just 37 seconds. Of the 36 passengers and 61 crew on board, 13 passengers and 22 crew died, as well as one member of the ground crew, making a total of 36 lives lost in the disaster. The exact location of the initial fire, its source of ignition, and the initial source of fuel remain subjects of debate. The cause of the accident has never been determined conclusively, although many hypotheses have been proposed. Escaping hydrogen gas will burn after mixing with air and will explode when mixed with air in the right proportions. The covering also contained material (such as cellulose nitrate and aluminium flakes) which Addison Bain and other experts claim are highly flammable when combined in the right proportions. This theory is highly controversial and has been rejected by other researchers because the outer skin burns too slowly to account for the rapid flame propagation and hydrogen fires had previously destroyed many other airships. The duralumin framework of Hindenburg was salvaged and shipped back to Germany. There the scrap was recycled and used in the construction of military aircraft for the Luftwaffe, as were the frames of LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II when they were scrapped in 1940.