At about this time in the Summer of 1929 the German Airship Graf Zeppelin started on a voyage around the world.
In case you’re wondering what’s the difference between a Zeppelin, a Dirigible and a Blimp, I will tell you that only one of them is an easy word for Americans to say and to spell. Other differences are explained here, at a very thorough website called airships.net.
As you read about them, it becomes clear how Zeppelins are like Windex and Jello. The name is proprietary – only lighter-than-air ships made by a certain manufacturer can be called Zeppelins.
Another surprising fact – the German aristocrat who developed them, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, had his first flight and received his inspiration for creating his namesake airship as a young man traveling far from home in … where else?.
St. Paul Minnesota, naturally.
I know the Hindenburg disaster gave zeppelins a bad name with the floating-in-midair public, but I’m entranced by the details of the Graf Zeppelin’s planetary circumnavigation.
It took three weeks. THREE WEEKS! Who gets three weeks off for a vacation? And of those 21 days from Lakehurst, New Jersey to Lakehurst, New Jersey, 12 days were spent airborne.
With all the rushing about that we do from day to day, imagine going around the globe at roughly 72 miles per hour, seeing everything pass about 650 feet below you. That’s low enough and slow enough to actually see things. What a luxurious way to spend your late summer!
Sure, there might have been some slight concerns about suddenly plummeting out of the sky, but this was 1929 and the Roaring 20′s were at full throttle. A profound drop was coming, but not until October. In New York. On Wall Street. In the meantime, why not live it up? About 65 stories up!
What’s the most interesting sight you’ve seen from the air?