History Of The Zeppelin Essay

1436 words - 6 pages

It was human kind ultimate dream to defy gravity and to be able to fly freely in the skies like a bird. Because of that dream, as early as 400 BC, humans had been experimenting with the idea of flying when a Greek scholar built a wooden pigeon that flew through the air. many after him had tried to fulfill that dream but failed , some of them succeeded but failed to sustain the flight , some even succeeded in sustaining the flight but failed due to unforeseen circumstances as their flying machines failed to live up to its expectation . One of the prime example was the zeppelin which was also known as a dirigible airship , The first zeppelin was invented , designed and constructed by Count Ferdinand Adolph Heinrich Von Zeppelin during the early 20th century (“THE ZEPPELIN” , ND)

The Zeppelin is a lighter than air aircraft which floats in the sky with engines providing forward thrust and its directional controls is provided by rudders and control surfaces. The main body of the Zeppelin is built with a rigid skeleton of metal alloy which was then covered by a fabric skin, within the structure, there were individual cells filled with lighter than air gases. The engines were installed under the main body in the gondolas; the cockpit was also located under the main body (“ZEPPELIN L32/33”, ND). The Zeppelin was originally used as a passenger and cargo transport purposes but during the World War One (WWI), it was used as a military offensive weapon, regularly conducting air raids (“AIRSHIPS”, ND). Although the Zeppelin was an engineering marvel in the early 20th century , the development of the heavier-than-air aircraft along with the lack of success in WWI and its technological deficiencies which causes frequent crashes quickly lead to its demise in 1940 , ending the Zeppelin era as an aeronautical dead end .

Zeppelin airships first made its mark in aviation history on 2 July 1900 when it made its first flight in Germany, however the flight was short lived as engine problems had forced it to land just after 18 minutes (Stephenson, 2004, pg 5). After this aviation milestone , Count Ferdinand Adolph Heinrich Von Zeppelin continued to improve on his design for his Zeppelin airship but there were two major flaws in his design , namely the usage of hydrogen gases as the lifting element and the required light airship structure (The GREAT AIRSHIP,ND) . The usage of hydrogen gases was a bad decision as hydrogen gases were extremely flammable. If hydrogen manages to leak out and mixes with atmospheric air, any spark would have cause a catastrophic accident. The light airship structure also cause some concern but it is necessary in order for the lifting gases to produce lift more effienciently thus the Zeppelin was very vulnerable to harsh weathers . Those flaws were exposed during his development of Zeppelin LZ4 during a intermediate stop, when LZ4 encountered a storm which tore it off its anchorage and exploding about a kilometer away (Grossman , 2008)...

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