Photo of the day: USS Macon airship over New York

122 years ago, on June 2, 1900, on Lake Constance on the border of Germany and Switzerland, Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s first “air train” took off – Zeppelin LZ 1.

The experimental airship, created by engineer Theodor Kober, had a length of 128 m, a diameter of almost 12 m, and could lift 12.5 tons of payload into the air. Zeppelin LZ 1 had two engines with a power of only 14.2 hp. each of which allowed the airship to accelerate to a speed of 27 km/hour. During the first test, LZ 1 lifted five people to a height of 410 m and covered a distance of 6 km in 17 minutes.

The first Zeppelin was followed by others, then they became bombers that terrorized Londoners. After the war, Zeppelins tried to take over the role of long-distance passenger aviation. They flew across the Atlantic, to South America, to the Middle East, even to the pole and around the world (a ticket for such a trip in 1929 cost $3,000 (about $51,000 in 2022). And then there was the infamous LZ 129 Hindenburg disaster and the era of airships ended.

A total of 131 airships were built under the Zeppelin brand. The last one was never completed.

Since September 1997, new “Zeppelins” – Zeppelin NT (Neue Technologie – new technology) have appeared in the skies of Germany. These are the largest modern serial airships. Unlike the classic models of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, this is a semi-rigid airship. These 75-meter ships are primarily for pleasure. They have a cabin for 12 passengers and, if necessary, can accelerate to a speed of 125 km/h. A total of 7 Zeppelin NT units were built.

Photo: USS Macon airship over New York, 1933. USS Macon is a US Navy airship built after studying Zeppelin technology. Zeppelin L 49, captured almost intact in 1917 in France, acted as a sample.

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