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The Hindenburg and Humanity

Article #83 • Written by Alan Bellows

On May 6, 1937, just minutes before 7:30pm, a German zeppelin called Hindenburg was approaching a mooring mast at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, completing its three-day expedition from Frankfurt, Germany with 97 souls aboard. This rare event-- the first trans-Atlantic Zeppelin flight to the U.S. that year-- had been heavily publicized in advance, so numerous reporters and journalists were present to record the grand occasion.

What followed was a disaster of dramatic proportions, which largely condemned zeppelins to the scrapheap of history. Herbert Morrison, a radio reporter present to record the event, uttered the anguished words which have become part of our culture's lexicon-- Oh, the humanity!-- as the German airship was rapidly consumed by flames, plunging into the crowd of people below.

There are still a number of unknowns in the story of the Hindenburg disaster, including the source of the spark which set the dirigible alight. But it is certain that the accident could have been avoided had the Hindenburg's builders not been forced to make some design changes during its construction.

Hindenburg was (and remains) the largest air-going craft ever built. It was 804 feet long-- more than twice the length of an American football field-- and held over seven million cubic feet of hydrogen gas. Its original design called for non-flammable helium, but only the United States possessed the rare gas in usable quantities, and an embargo was in place against Germany because of the American government's disapproval of the new Nazi party. Consequently, the design was modified to use hydrogen instead. That change proved to be the fatal flaw which brought the Hindenburg down, and with it, the entire zeppelin industry.

Before the Hindenburg, hydrogen-filled zeppelins had been in use for many years, with an outstanding record for safety. Germany's earlier Graf Zeppelin had successfully circumnavigated the globe, and the Hindenburg's immediate predecessor, the Graf Zeppelin II, had logged almost one million miles of safe travel including many Atlantic crossings and flights through thunderstorms. The engineers had taken a number of safety precautions to prevent hydrogen fire, including a special coating to prevent electric sparks.

On May 6th, as the Hindenburg arrived in the United States, the weather at the mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey was restless and did not allow for a safe landing. In the meantime the airship's commander Max Pruss decided to slow down over New York City, affording his passengers spectacular views of downtown New York City, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty. He commenced a pattern of flying in large circles over the area until he got word from from the commanding officer at Lakehurst: "Conditions now considered suitable for landing." Eleven minutes later, the first message was followed with another: "Recommend landing now."

It was dusk as Hindenburg began its descent into Lakehurst at about 7:00pm. Radio reporter Herbert Morrison describes the aircraft as it moves towards the mooring mast:

"Now the field, as we thought active when we first arrived, has turned into a moving mass of cooperative action. The landing crews...their posts...and orders are being passed along, and last-minute preparations are being completed for the moment we have waited for so long.""The ship is riding majestically toward us like some great feather, riding as though it was mighty good...mighty proud of the place it's playing in the world's aviation. The ship is no doubt bustling with activity as we can see; orders are shouted to the crew, the passengers probably lining the windows looking down at the field ahead of them, getting their glimpse of the mooring mast. And these giant flagships standing here, the American Airline flagships, waiting to direct them to all points in the United States when they get the ship moored."

"There are a number of important persons on board, and no doubt the new commander, Captain Max Pruss, is thrilled, too, for this is his great moment, the first time he's commanded the Hindenburg. On previous flights, he acted as Chief Officer under Captain Lehmann."

"It's practically standing still now. They've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship, and it's been taken a hold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; the rain had slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it, just enough to keep it from --"

"It burst into flames! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning, bursting into flames and is falling on the mooring mast, and all the folks agree that this is terrible. This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world! Oh, it's crashing...oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky, and it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. There's smoke, and there's flames, now, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast...Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers screaming around here!"

"I told you... I can't even talk to people...around there. It's -- I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage, and everybody can hardly breathe and talk... I, I'm sorry. Honest, I can hardly breathe. I'm going to step inside where I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. I -- Listen folks, I'm going to have to stop for a minute, because I've lost my voice... This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed..."

Once the flames appeared, the 231 men working on the field below scattered, running for cover. Passengers leaped out of the windows of the lurching, rapidly descending airship as its hydrogen gas fed flames that reached hundreds of feet into the air. The fire was estimated to reach 3,713 degrees Fahrenheit, well beyond the melting point of the aluminum girders.

Only thirty-seven seconds after the first sign of trouble, the mighty dirigible was a heap of flaming ruins on the ground. Amazingly, sixty-two of the ninety-seven passengers escaped with their lives, including the Hindenburg's captain. Thirty-five people on the aircraft were killed, as well as one member of the ground crew-- or the "mass of humanity" as Herbert Morrison had described them before the accident, hence his famous cry of distress.

The cause of the fire has never been established with any certainty, though there are numerous theories. The official investigation concluded that a hydrogen leak was ignited by a spark of static electricity, but many people did not accept that explanation. Most notably, a theory of sabotage was put forward by Hugo Eckener, the former head of the Zeppelin company, a theory which was also backed by the Hindenburg's commander Max Pruss. But no evidence was ever found to support this hypothesis. Some also suspect that a bracing wire may have snapped and punctured one of the hydrogen bags, allowing the gas to be released and easily ignited. But doubt is thrown on the likelihood of a slow leak since the naturally odorless hydrogen gas had been odorized with garlic so that any leaks could be detected, yet no survivors reported detecting this odor at any time.

Another more recent theory put forward by Addison Bain-- former manager of NASA's hydrogen program-- suggests that the compound used to waterproof the outer surface of the Hindenburg was chemically reactive, and that it was the fabric which burned rather than the hydrogen. Its coating contained iron oxide and aluminium, which are sometimes used as components of solid rocket fuel. Bain went so far as to say that "The Hindenburg was literally painted with rocket fuel." But the two compounds were separated by a layer of material which should have prevented any reaction, and experiments to test the theory found that it would have taken about forty hours for the Hindenburg to burn if the fire had been driven by a fabric fire, much longer than the thirty-seven seconds it actually took.

Some retellings of the disaster claim that it occurred on the Hindenburg's maiden voyage, but that isn't so. The giant zeppelin had been in use for over a year before the it burned, sometimes on trans-Atlantic voyages, and other times flying low over Germany, emblazoned with giant Nazi swastikas and spewing propaganda through a loudspeaker. Before the disaster, the giant airships were often used by the Nazi party as symbols of German power and technical prowess, including a flight over the stadium at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, just moments before the arrival of Adolf Hitler.

Despite the excellent safety record of zeppelins, the horror of the Hindenburg scene destroyed any chance of a future for rigid airships, and less than four years later the last of the zeppelins was dismantled so its valuable aluminum could be used for the German war machine.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 01 January 2006. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design by Alan Bellows.
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37 Comments
RubberBand
Posted 01 January 2006 at 07:37 pm

Hmm, I would really like to see a video of the crash.


Alan Bellows
Posted 01 January 2006 at 08:42 pm

RubberBand said: "Hmm, I would really like to see a video of the crash."

See the link at the bottom of the article labelled "Original newsreel video of the explosion."


JustAnotherName
Posted 02 January 2006 at 05:32 am

I saw the documentary where the theory was put forth about the flammable paints. They went back to the original designs and notes and said that it was made with so much flammable material it was no wonder this occurred. However, I read above where this is dismissed.

I never knew the hydrogen had a garlic odor added to it.


Bryan Lowder
Posted 02 January 2006 at 02:50 pm

Static isn't such an unlikely explanation. We've all gotten zapped when stepping out of our car. Any airplane hitting the ground was to equilibrate its electric charge with Earth.

I have heard that the United States was indirectly responsible for this tragedy. Helium was available, but rare and expensive, and only the US had significant amounts of it. German requests to buy the gas were turned down because of fears that the Nazi party could use it for military purposes. Sorry, I have no references.


Alan Bellows
Posted 02 January 2006 at 03:06 pm

Bryan Lowder said: "Helium was available, but rare and expensive, and only the US had significant amounts of it. German requests to buy the gas were turned down because of fears that the Nazi party could use it for military purposes."

One step ahead of you, man...

From the article: "Its original design called for non-flammable helium, but only the United States possessed the rare gas in usable quantities, and an embargo was in place against Germany because of the American government's disapproval of the new Nazi party."


thermopile
Posted 02 January 2006 at 03:19 pm

I've heard it reported that a large part of the reason there were so many survivors is *because* it was hydrogen burning. While it gets exceedingly hot (3713F per the article), it also burns quickly. The fall from the mooring mast was most injurious to them. Thanks for an informative article -- including the mp3!


Bryan Lowder
Posted 02 January 2006 at 06:52 pm

Urk.. Urrrr...

Boy is my face purple. Guess I'd better retake that Kaplan course on reading comprehension.

Excellent article. I really think zepplins should come back in style-- sort of like flying luxury cruiseliners. Perhaps they would have suited the '80's better, tho.


Secret Ninja
Posted 03 January 2006 at 07:33 pm

Zeppelins would not make it today, what with all the easy availability of bb guns.


JustAnotherName
Posted 05 January 2006 at 07:03 am

Zeps? I LOVE Zeps. But for the most part only people who live in the Philly area know about them. What? Zeps are great!


Dave
Posted 05 January 2006 at 04:26 pm

Don't forget that powdered Iron Oxide and Aluminum is usually known as Thermite:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite

Thermite can produce molten Iron (at about 2500C/4500F!).

Dave


Alan Bellows
Posted 05 January 2006 at 04:43 pm

Dave said: "Don't forget that powdered Iron Oxide and Aluminum is usually known as Thermite"

True, but on the Hindenburg, those two components were seperated by a buffer layer. Also, it takes an extreme temperature to ignite Thermite... it's usually ignited with a piece of burning magnesium. I don't know if static electricity can generate that much heat.

(By the way Dave, I moved your comment here from the Modern Movements in Toilet Technology article. It was funny there, but didn't make any sense).


superfart
Posted 06 January 2006 at 12:54 pm

I'm sick of you bullshit science Dave. Why don't you shove a beaker up your ass. You've caused enough harm already, take your Iron Oxide and Aluminum and stop selling it to terrorists. Arrest yourself and get humped in the shower by burly prison guards. I hoped you've learned a valuable lesson.


Scrappy
Posted 06 January 2006 at 08:40 pm

It was static electricity transfered into a gas bag that arced and ignited the hydrogen. That's why we ground vehicles before feuling any aircraft. No mystery


lonelybunny1049
Posted 18 April 2006 at 10:06 pm

there actually isnt a mystery! The hindenburg was hit by a rocket, that a famous criminal in 1937 named Winn Farrow, Winn Farrow had built. Maximilian Rose actually was a criminal also that had million dollar paintings, he had diamonds, and lots of other expensive stuff on there. then when he found out that Winn Farrow (his ex partner, they were partners when they baned boose then broke up when the law was let go. Max had tons of cash that he saved from his savings, and Winn wanted to get back at him.) was going to blow up the hindenburg. Max rose was working with a nazi called Ludwig Zell. Maximilian sent the nazi tons of things that they needed but couldn't get their hands on, so They partnered up with Maximilian Rose, and after he got the stuff for them, he was in debt with alot of people(people that were VERY bad.) Maximilian Died in a car accident on his way to get his stuff from "hindenburg" Will Farrow went and blew up the back end of hindenburg. So the Hindenburg was blown up by Winn Farrow. The nazi wanted the information to be the first ones to build a nuclear bomb that they were going to use to blow up New York. and lots of other places! but they didnt get the last peice of the puzzle to finish the atomic bomb because when Max died, his spies did.


monorail
Posted 28 April 2006 at 06:00 am

i would like to point out that some of the information here is false. for info go here: http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s1052864.htm


ChickenHead
Posted 12 July 2006 at 05:34 pm

Bryan Lowder said: "I have heard that the United States was indirectly responsible for this tragedy. Helium was available, but rare and expensive, and only the US had significant amounts of it. German requests to buy the gas were turned down because of fears that the Nazi party could use it for military purposes. Sorry, I have no references."

Party A chooses not to sell Item X to Party B.
Then Party B decides to use Item Y instead.
The use of Item Y by Party B results in a serious accident.

Is Party A responsible (in any way)?

No.

It was an entirely concious decision by Party B to use Item Y. Nothing Party A did forced Party B to use it. Just because there is a safe product in existence, one's inability to acquire it does not remove any responsibility from one's choice to use an alternate product with such obvious potential danger.


Patrick R.
Posted 15 August 2006 at 10:14 am

Actually, the Germans never formally asked the US for helium for the Hindenburg until after the Lakehurst disaster.

The problem wasn't merely that the US government was reluctant to sell helium to Germany. It was a good deal more complex than that. Bear in mind that the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei was still trying to solidify their business, and as of 1937 they were still doing so with only two ships (one of which, the Graf Zeppelin, was older and really too small to carry the amount of freight and passengers that it needed to) covering the entire company's overhead. Helium was expensive, though not as much so in 1937 as it had previously been. Helium also didn't lift as much as hydrogen, which would have reduced the amount of freight that the ships could carry (and honestly, the smaller Graf Zeppelin would not likely have been able to continue her South American overseas route using helium.)

Perhaps most importantly, though, Germany had no helium purification facilities as of 1937, which would have been necessary in order to use helium to inflate airships. The costs associated with the construction of such facilities would have been prohibitive to the DZR without additional financial backing, and as of May 1937 no such backing had emerged. Deals were in the works with American financiers to create a joint venture between the DZR and an American Zeppelin Transport Company (and possibly other foreign investors such as the Dutch), and had the Hindenburg disaster not put the kibosh on the whole thing, helium would likely have been the standard for Zeppelins within a year or two.

But the bottom line is, the Germans never formally asked the US government for helium until after the Hindenburg fire. Barring the formation of a larger international passenger airship venture (including American partners) the DZR simply could not afford to fly their airships on helium on their own. And before we condemn the Germans for using hydrogen for passenger airships, let's remember that they had been flying passenger airships for almost 30 years using hydrogen, and in all that time not a single passenger was injured of the hundreds of thousands who had flown on German passenger airships. The Germans were very confident in their ability to safely use hydrogen for their airships, and justifiably so.

Indeed, the ultimate cause of the Hindenburg fire can probably be traced to the fact that they were making an American-style landing at the time, in which they dropped their landing lines from a much higher altitude than normal, with the intent of connecting the mooring cable to the mooring mast and cranking the ship directly down to the mast from the sky, as opposed to the standard German style of landing which involved bringing the ship right down to the ground, then dropping landing lines and having the ground crew walk the ship up to the mast.

With the so-called "high landing" (or "flying moor") that was being attempted the night of the fire, there was a far greater electrical potential between the ship and the ground, and a far greater chance for static discharge once the ship grounded. The Germans were not used to this style of landing, having tried it once or twice the previous year with the Hindenburg, and to my knowledge never with any of their other ships. The electrostatic issue very likely didn't occur to them, nor did it occur to those in charge of the American ground crew, since they had always done their high landings with helium ships. Had the Hindenburg not been trying to land in between two thunderstorms, the high landing would not likely have been the problem that it seems to have been.

And as the article here points out, the work of Alex Dessler, Don Overs and William Appleby in testing and debunking Addison Bain's cover fire theory has pretty well put that particular theory to bed. Hydrogen was, in fact, a key factor (perhaps THE key factor) in the Hindenburg fire. Some may still want to claim otherwise out of an understandable desire to advance the cause of things like hydrogen fuel cells, but speaking as a proponent of alternate fuel technology myself, I have to say that it is simply inaccurate to assert that hydrogen had nothing to do with the Hindenburg fire. Like it or not, all reputable evidence points to the fact that the Hindenburg fire was hydrogen-driven. For the first time in the history of German passenger airship travel, passengers lost their lives on a hydrogen airship.


Gemfyre
Posted 25 November 2006 at 02:37 am

Interesting how everyone remembers the Hindenberg but no-one remembers the R101 that crashed spectacularly in France.


campo
Posted 10 December 2006 at 03:15 am

Oh the humanity.


tidd32
Posted 20 December 2006 at 06:15 pm

if the hidenburg got here then the peices of the bomb would be delivered to Max Rose and the world would have blown up so those 36 people used ther lives wisely.


tidd32
Posted 20 December 2006 at 06:17 pm

if the hidenburg got here then the peices of the bomb would be delivered to Max Rose and the world would have blown up so those 36 people used ther lives wisely


pendragon
Posted 02 May 2007 at 09:01 pm

The hindenburgs truth, the hindenburg was blown up by a very notorious man his name was winn farrow, he was partners with Maximillion Rose a gangster of the time, during a time prohibition took place(the ban of alcohol) Mr.Rose and Mr.Farrow were partners at the time selling alcohol and other shady businesses but Mr.Rose walked out of the business and left with his money.That event left Mr. Farrow in the gutters.He wanted revenge and he wanted it bad. so when the hindenburg was being sent in it was loaded with million dollar paintings,diamonds, and 40million dollars in american cash all to pay Mr.Rose for helping the Nazis with thier "project" by sending in scrap metal and other items, well Mr.Farrow saw the oppertunity to take dwn Mr.Rose just like Mr.Rose had taken down Mr.Farrow he was going to blow up the ship with a firework to be exact a miniature rocket. well at 6:45 Mr.Rose was on his way to lakehurst airfield to collect his money, but was hit by a cop motorcyclyist thus killing Mr.Rose which left Farrow wide open for his assult but the thing is Mr.Rose had never died he was thrown from his car and knocked unconcious while one of his goons was able to get up and take the cops bike but when he got to the airfield he was shot and killed by farrow himself but a certain person whom i may not mention charged after farrow but farrow had already ignited the rocket and the fuse was getting close and another person was on scene but was stopped by a person.what would have happened if farrow failed well lets just say bye bye america the germans "project" was a nuclear bomb actually several of them if Mr.Rose were to make it to the airfield and collect his money london new york and d.c would have been wiped out leaving radiation hanging in the air for months killing millions, so if you say that 36 deaths was bad think of millions


pendragon
Posted 02 May 2007 at 09:06 pm

lonelybunny1049 said: "there actually isnt a mystery! The hindenburg was hit by a rocket, that a famous criminal in 1937 named Winn Farrow, Winn Farrow had built. Maximilian Rose actually was a criminal also that had million dollar paintings, he had diamonds, and lots of other expensive stuff on there. then when he found out that Winn Farrow (his ex partner, they were partners when they baned boose then broke up when the law was let go. Max had tons of cash that he saved from his savings, and Winn wanted to get back at him.) was going to blow up the hindenburg. Max rose was working with a nazi called Ludwig Zell. Maximilian sent the nazi tons of things that they needed but couldn't get their hands on, so They partnered up with Maximilian Rose, and after he got the stuff for them, he was in debt with alot of people(people that were VERY bad.) Maximilian Died in a car accident on his way to get his stuff from "hindenburg" Will Farrow went and blew up the back end of hindenburg. So the Hindenburg was blown up by Winn Farrow. The nazi wanted the information to be the first ones to build a nuclear bomb that they were going to use to blow up New York. and lots of other places! but they didnt get the last peice of the puzzle to finish the atomic bomb because when Max died, his spies did."

um u may be right about tht but thts not the whole story number one max didn't die he was thrown from his car and knocked out cold number two those other places were London and Washington D.C if the bombs were to succeed it would make germany the most powerfull country on earth and the nazis were to take over so go read my bullitien it explains in better detail


sammy
Posted 02 June 2007 at 08:43 am

you both just got that story from pendragon #3


kyodan69
Posted 13 November 2007 at 01:08 pm

Facts and true accounts of things posted on this site are interesting. Stupid conspiracy theories and wild conjecture is not. don't muddy up the waters of DI with such crap. At least show some respect to the time and effort put into these articles by the authors. If you want spoof-laden material, go elsewhere. Pendragon #3 might be a good book, but it's FICTION...got it?!


VoSpader
Posted 08 January 2008 at 03:18 pm

The hindenburgs truth, the hindenburg was blown up by a very notorious man his name was winn farrow, he was partners with Maximillion Rose a gangster of the time, during a time prohibition took place(the ban of alcohol) Mr.Rose and Mr.Farrow were partners at the time selling alcohol and other shady businesses but Mr.Rose walked out of the business and left with his money.That event left Mr. Farrow in the gutters.He wanted revenge and he wanted it bad. so when the hindenburg was being sent in it was loaded with million dollar paintings,diamonds, and 40million dollars in american cash all to pay Mr.Rose for helping the Nazis with thier "project" by sending in scrap metal and other items, well Mr.Farrow saw the oppertunity to take dwn Mr.Rose just like Mr.Rose had taken down Mr.Farrow he was going to blow up the ship with a firework to be exact a miniature rocket. well at 6:45 Mr.Rose was on his way to lakehurst airfield to collect his money, but was hit by a cop motorcyclyist thus killing Mr.Rose which left Farrow wide open for his assult but the thing is Mr.Rose had never died he was thrown from his car and knocked unconcious while one of his goons was able to get up and take the cops bike but when he got to the airfield he was shot and killed by farrow himself but a certain person whom i may not mention charged after farrow but farrow had already ignited the rocket and the fuse was getting close and another person was on scene but was stopped by a person.what would have happened if farrow failed well lets just say bye bye america the germans "project" was a nuclear bomb actually several of them if Mr.Rose were to make it to the airfield and collect his money london new york and d.c would have been wiped out leaving radiation hanging in the air for months killing millions, so if you say that 36 deaths was bad think of millions"

I started reading the pendragon books its a good series to start
it has facts but is a fiction series


LesterDragon
Posted 23 January 2009 at 10:14 pm

I learned about this event in the Pendagon series also.....


Mad Fencer
Posted 03 March 2009 at 04:03 pm

Do you really have any proof that the "bomb"actually existed? Seriously, Pendragon is still Fiction.


BeachLvr947
Posted 09 May 2009 at 05:57 pm

Mad Fencer said: "Do you really have any proof that the "bomb"actually existed? Seriously, Pendragon is still Fiction."

of course it's fiction but you should read it before you knock it or try and insult it cause you just sound stupid. Farrow didn't hit the hindenburg with a bomb. He hit it with a fireworks rocket. The bomb pendragon fans are referring to is the atom bomb. and of course it's real and the germans were trying to discover how it worked. duh, there's plently of evidence the bomb existed.

Mythbusters proved that it wasn't thermite that caused the explosion. It was a really good episode. They built three scale models of the hindenburg and tested the three most popular theories of how it exploded. They found out which it was and all it needed was a little spark. If the static electricity was powerful enough that could have been the cause.


Mr Studworthy
Posted 09 May 2009 at 08:32 pm

When i was a kid, i saw newsreel of the incident, where you could see what looked like a flare shoot up and ignite the craft. Nowadays they don't show that part, but just before and then skips to just after. I have always thought that this is what started the blaze and could never understand why anyone would think it was something else. Seems that a little rewriting of history has gone on for the masses. Oh the humanity indeed

G


Neo Arnie
Posted 22 September 2009 at 06:34 pm

I aggree with you Mr Studworthy. I saw that too when watching it on the internet. I also read the Pendragon book The Never War by D.J. MacHale and his theory is very realistic considering the rocket looking flare thing. It could have been the misile that Winn Farrow set off from his book. How could people not question that rocket? It was so obvios. Or maybe it was like you said Mr Studworthy, a flare signaling Winn Farrow when to launch the rocket. But then again, who knows? Humanity probobly never will.


Neo Arnie
Posted 22 September 2009 at 06:38 pm

BeachLvr947 said: "Mad Fencer said: “Do you really have any proof that the “bomb”actually existed? Seriously, Pendragon is still Fiction.”

of course it’s fiction but you should read it before you knock it or try and insult it cause you just sound stupid. Farrow didn’t hit the hindenburg with a bomb. He hit it with a fireworks rocket. The bomb pendragon fans are referring to is the atom bomb. and of course it’s real and the germans were trying to discover how it worked. duh, there’s plently of evidence the bomb existed.
Mythbusters proved that it wasn’t thermite that caused the explosion. It was a really good episode. They built three scale models of the hindenburg and tested the three most popular theories of how it exploded. They found out which it was and all it needed was a little spark. If the static electricity was powerful enough that could have been the cause."

Yeah, BeachLvr947 it is fiction, but the rocket/flare thing Mr Studoworthy and I saw could have been Winn Farrow's flare or rocket. Maybe it wasn't exactly like in Pendragon, but it might be around the same idea.


anizev
Posted 20 October 2009 at 04:33 pm

Honestly, having read The Never War (and actually only looking this up because of that book), I am compelled to think there is no truth in it at all. Sure, Max Rose and Winn Farrow might have existed, but I don't believe that Winn Farrow set off any rocket. It's just too far fetched. Just a theory to me (and one that has to include crazy time travel and that sort of thing). In the book, Winn Farrow sets off the rocket, but though that may have happened, it's more likely there was lightning or another natural cause.


Nyarlathotep
Posted 07 June 2012 at 05:35 pm

As always I am posting what will amount to unread comments on a dying thread, since I am working my way through the archives, slowly but surely. >; [

Patrick R., I enjoyed your comments immensely, you are obviously very well acquainted with the history of the Hindenburg and dirigibles in general. Thank you for your revealing input.

There is one point everyone failed to mention: The extra-terrestrials were clearly angered by the success of homo-sapiens' new-fangled flyin' machines. In their rage they decided to show the world what fools we earthlings are. My point being simply that we should always assume that the source of an anomaly is the most unlikely of reasons; in this case "Winn Farrow" sabotaged the Hindenburg in some sort of fictional plot line that some apparently believe intersects with reality. ; )

I call this principle "Occam's Plastic Butter-knife."


Terry
Posted 27 July 2014 at 10:53 am

Looking at the footage of the crash on youtube, they dumped a huge amount of water ballast just before landing to try to stabilize the ship. Could this dumping of ballast have caused the ship to acquire a huge static electricity charge?
I've read about this effect happening with aerosol cans where the spray mist gets a static charge as the particles separate on leaving the nozzle. I'm not sure if this could happen with water though.


Peter
Posted 31 August 2014 at 11:37 am

Terry's observations are interesting. I am wondering if the stabilization problems and repeated dumping of ballast aft signalled that a gas bag had ruptured in the stern section. Eye-witness reports of fluttering of the canvas (and St Elmo's fire) just forward of the tail fin could be interpreted as escaping hydrogen. It also points to static electricity build-up as a likely cause of ignition.


William Lin
Posted 22 December 2014 at 05:34 am

lonelybunny1049 said: "there actually isnt a mystery! The hindenburg was hit by a rocket, that a famous criminal in 1937 named Winn Farrow, Winn Farrow had built. Maximilian Rose actually was a criminal also that had million dollar paintings, he had diamonds, and lots of other expensive stuff on there. then when he found out that Winn Farrow (his ex partner, they were partners when they baned boose then broke up when the law was let go. Max had tons of cash that he saved from his savings, and Winn wanted to get back at him.) was going to blow up the hindenburg. Max rose was working with a nazi called Ludwig Zell. Maximilian sent the nazi tons of things that they needed but couldn't get their hands on, so They partnered up with Maximilian Rose, and after he got the stuff for them, he was in debt with alot of people(people that were VERY bad.) Maximilian Died in a car accident on his way to get his stuff from "hindenburg" Will Farrow went and blew up the back end of hindenburg. So the Hindenburg was blown up by Winn Farrow. The nazi wanted the information to be the first ones to build a nuclear bomb that they were going to use to blow up New York. and lots of other places! but they didnt get the last peice of the puzzle to finish the atomic bomb because when Max died, his spies did."

That is just a story


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