Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Exactly 90 years ago to the day the famous LZ 126, a Zeppelin better known as ZR-3 USS “Los Angeles” landed in Lakehurst, USA, after 81 hours of a first ever non-stop flight from Europe to North America.
The then biggest airship in the world and the first one to be covered with aluminium to prevent overheating of helium, gas used as fuel, was built by Germany for the US as part of the war reparations after WW1. Also, the USA, who was not a signatory to the Versaille Treaty banning Germany from building any air navy equipment as part of their expiation, had its own reasons to invest into German aero-technology.
Although officially built as a passenger ship, LZ 126 was in fact intended to become part of an experimental, parasite fighter programme.
Its start planned for October 11th had to be postponed due to the poor weather conditions and the discovery of two blind passengers in the body of the ship (both were US newspaper reporters).
The airship, which gained additional fame by surviving the so called lofting – when the tethered zeppelin´s tail gets lifted by a strong gust of wind and due to the temperature difference between its bottom (nose) and top (tail) takes an almost vertical position – was decommissioned in 1932.
Below, a photo of LZ 126 passing over Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag during its test flight over Germany (the man waiving his hand stood on the roof of the old Hotel Adlon) and of the same airship held tails-up by the powers of nature.