Hugo Eckener in 1924
|Died||14 August 1954 86) (aged|
|Monuments||Hugo-Eckener-Schule, Hugo-Eckener-Saal (both Friedrichshafen)|
|Known for||Airship designer, pilot, company manager|
|Spouse(s)||Johanna Maaß (1871–1956)|
|Relatives||Alexander Eckener (brother)|
|Full name||Hugo Eckener|
|First flight||16 May 1911|
LZ 8, Deutschland II
|Famous flights||1928 first intercontinental passenger airship flight, 1929 flight around the world (the only such flight by an airship, and the second by an aircraft of any type) and 1931 Arctic flight|
Hugo Eckener (10 August 1868 –14 August 1954) was the manager of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin during the inter-war years, and also the commander of the famous Graf Zeppelin for most of its record-setting flights, including the first airship flight around the world, making him the most successful airship commander in history. He was also responsible for the construction of the most successful type of airships of all time. An anti-Nazi who was invited to campaign as a moderate in the German presidential elections, he was blacklisted by that regime and eventually sidelined.
Eckener was born in Flensburg as the first child of Johann Christoph Eckener from Bremen and Anna Lange, daughter of a shoemaker.As a youth he was judged an "indifferent student", and he spent summers sailing and winters ice skating.
Nevertheless, by 1892 under Professor Wilhelm Wundt, Eckener had earned a doctorate "magna cum laude"in what today might be deemed experimental psychology. at the University of Leipzig.
Eckener then began his military service in the Infantry Regiment 86 in Flensburg.
Eckener's early career was as a journalist and editor; by August 1893 he was working for the Flensburger Nachrichten;in October 1897 he married Johanna, daughter of the publisher family Maaß. He later became a correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung in 1905 and 1906, whilst writing a book on the social effects of capitalism.
Asked to cover the first flights of the Zeppelins LZ 1 and LZ 2, Eckener was critical of both airships' marginal performances, but praised Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's dedication to his cause. Because several scientists and engineers had criticized his airship plans, the Count sought to speak to Eckener. Eckener was so impressed by him that during October 1908 he agreed to be a part-time publicist for the Zeppelin Company.He became extremely interested in airships, and joined the company on a full-time basis.
His aptitude at flying was noticed early on in his career, and he became an airship captain, obtaining his airship license in 1911.However, when Eckener attempted his first flight on 16 May 1911 in the LZ 8, christened Deutschland II, he decided to launch it in a strong wind which pushed the craft into the hangar wall, damaging it seriously. Nonetheless, he became a very successful airshipman.
Eckener was responsible for training most of Germany's airship pilots both duringand after World War I. Despite his protestations, he was not allowed on operational missions due to his value as an instructor.
After the War, Eckener succeeded Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who had died on 8 March 1917. After considerable conflict with Zeppelin's business manager, Alfred Colsman, who wanted to replace the production of airships with production of other (and likely more profitable) products, Eckener was able to keep the Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen on Bodensee (Lake Constance) in Württemberg, southern Germany, from being retooled. Colsman left the company soon afterwards.
The Treaty of Versailles had forbidden Germans to construct airships of the size neededto operate the profitable trans-Atlantic service that was Eckener's goal. However, after much skilful lobbying, he persuaded the US and German governments to allow the company to build LZ 126, later rechristened the USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), for the US Navy as part of Germany's war reparations. Eckener himself captained the airship on its delivery flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. The Los Angeles became the longest-serving rigid airship ever operated by the US Navy.
Refused funds by the penniless Weimar government, Eckener and his colleagues began a nationwide fund-raising lecture tour in order to commence construction of Graf Zeppelin , which became the most successful rigid airship ever built.
The first flight to America was fraught with drama. Near Bermuda on the outbound flight the airship was nearly lost after becoming caught in a severe storm during which fabric was ripped off the left fin. The ship was saved only by Eckener's skilled piloting and the courage of his son, Knut Eckener, and other crew members who climbed out onto the fin to repair the damage.Upon arrival in America, a country which Eckener grew to love, he and the crew were subject to the first of two New York ticker tape parades.
Eckener captained Graf Zeppelin during most of its record-setting flights, including the 1928 first intercontinental passenger airship flight, the 1929 flight around the world (the only such flight by an airship, and the second by an aircraft of any type) and the 1931 Arctic flight.
A master of publicity as well as a master airship captain, Eckener used the Graf Zeppelin to establish the Zeppelin as a symbol of German pride and engineering.
After these flights the public treated Eckener as a national hero.During the early 1930s, Eckener was one of the most well-known and respected figures in Weimar Republic Germany. In the 1932 presidential election Eckener was a potential unity candidate against Adolf Hitler, encouraged to campaign by leaders of both the SPD and the Zentrum, but he bowed out when Paul von Hindenburg decided to run for a second term. However, his potential candidacy had already angered the Nazi party. In supposed anger and fear of Eckener, Hitler's de facto deputy, Hermann Esser, once called him the "director of the flying weisswurst", a greyish-white Bavarian sausage.
The Nazis came to power in January 1933. A planned arrest of Eckener in 1933 was blocked by Hindenburg. Hitler met Eckener only once, in July 1933, but the two barely spoke.Eckener did not make any secret of his dislike of the Nazis and the disastrous events he foresaw. He criticised the regime frequently, and refused to allow the Nazis to use the large hangars at Frankfurt for a rally. Eventually the Nazis declared Eckener to be persona non grata and his name was no longer allowed to appear in print.
During the 1930s, the Nazi government nationalized the Zeppelin operation under the name Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH (DZR). The Nazis sidelined Eckener in favour of men who were more compliant with their wishes. In their haste to please the Nazi regime, these newly promoted airshipmen did not always obey Eckener's safety procedures. For example, the maiden voyage of the Hindenburg nearly resulted in disaster when Captain Ernst Lehmann brought the ship out in strong winds in order to undertake a Nazi propaganda flight. The ship was damaged, and there was an argument between Eckener, Lehmann and the Nazi propaganda ministry.
Hugo Eckener had always made safety his absolute priority during his many years managing airship operations. With Eckener's management, the Zeppelin company had a perfect safety record with no passenger ever sustaining a serious injury on any of the more than 1 million air miles that the rigid airships flew, until the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. [ citation needed ]. Eckener was in Graz, Austria when he heard news of the Hindenburg disaster on 6 May 1937. In the official inquiry he concluded that a static spark ignited leaking hydrogen in the aft section of the ship. The leak would have been caused by a sharp turn, which he believed overstrained a bracing wire, causing it to snap and rip open an adjacent gas cell.
After the destruction of the Hindenburg, the nearly-completed LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin was redesigned as a helium-filled ship, although, owing to geo-political considerations, the American helium was not available.[ citation needed ]. Thus the ship never began commercial service. However, under the command of Captain Albert Sammt, who had previously survived the fiery destruction of the Hindenburg, albeit with severe burns, the ship performed an espionage mission off the coast Great Britain, intended to investigate the radar defences. Eckener, however, had by this time little influence on the Zeppelin Company.
Eckener survived World War II despite his disagreements with the Nazis. Post war, he was involved in a plan by the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation to build large rigid airships. However, nothing came to pass of this project.
In 1945, Johannes Weyl and Eckener co-founded the Südkurier regional newspaper and Eckener started writing for German-French co-operation.In November 1945 Eckener was confronted with the charge of collaboration with Nazi Germany. In 1947 the French occupying powers fined him 100,000 German Reichsmarks. Many personalities lobbied for Eckener's rehabilitation. The judgement was rejected in July 1948 and Eckener was rehabilitated.
Eckener's home town of Flensburg had a Danish-oriented majority in its council since 1945, with the goal of unification with Denmark. Eckener remained active in local politics campaigning for a German majority in Flensburg, while at the same time, during a "thundering" one-hour speech in 1951, warning against small-mindedness in border concerns.
Eckener died in Friedrichshafen on 14 August 1954 just after his 86th birthday.
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Eckener was responsible for many innovative aviation developments, notably the trans-Atlantic passenger services offered by the airships Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg.
Since his death his achievements have been remembered by airship enthusiasts and historians. Additionally, the town of Friedrichshafen, scene of his many triumphant homecomings in Graf Zeppelin, has recognised his memory by naming a large new conference centre after him.
Eckener wrote or contributed to 24 publications,including two books in English:
Eckener features as a character in the 2012 novel Flight from Berlin by David John and in the novels Vango: Between Sky and Earth (2010) and "A Prince Without Kingdom" (2011) by Timothée de Fombelle.
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the beginning of the 20th century. Zeppelin's notions were first formulated in 1874 and developed in detail in 1893. They were patented in Germany in 1895 and in the United States in 1899. After the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the word zeppelin came to be commonly used to refer to all rigid airships. Zeppelins were first flown commercially in 1910 by Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), the world's first airline in revenue service. By mid-1914, DELAG had carried over 10,000 fare-paying passengers on over 1,500 flights. During World War I, the German military made extensive use of Zeppelins as bombers and as scouts, killing over 500 people in bombing raids in Britain.
LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume. She was designed and built by the Zeppelin Company on the shores of Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and was operated by the German Zeppelin Airline Company. The airship flew from March 1936 until she was destroyed by fire 14 months later on May 6, 1937 while attempting to land at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of her second season of service with the loss of 36 lives. This was the last of the great airship disasters; it was preceded by the crashes of the British R38 in 1921, the US airship Roma in 1922, the French Dixmude in 1923, the British R101 in 1930, and the USS Akron in 1933.
Friedrichshafen is a city on the northern shoreline of Lake Constance in Southern Germany, near the borders of both Switzerland and Austria. It is the district capital (Kreisstadt) of the Bodensee district in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Friedrichshafen has a population of about 58,000.
Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin was a German general and later inventor of the Zeppelin rigid airships; he founded the company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled rigid airship which flew from 1928 to 1937. It offered the first commercial transatlantic passenger flight service. Named after the German airship pioneer Ferdinand von Zeppelin, a count (Graf) in the German nobility, it was conceived and operated by Dr Hugo Eckener, the chairman of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.
The Hindenburg is a 1975 American Technicolor film based on the disaster of the German airship Hindenburg. The film stars George C. Scott. It was produced and directed by Robert Wise, and was written by Nelson Gidding, Richard Levinson and William Link, based on the 1972 book of the same title by Michael M. Mooney.
Max Pruss was the commanding Captain of the zeppelin, LZ 129 Hindenburg, on its last voyage and a surviving crew member of the disaster.
The Graf Zeppelin was the last of the German rigid airships built by Zeppelin Luftschiffbau during the period between the World Wars, the second and final ship of the Hindenburg class, and the second zeppelin to carry the name "Graf Zeppelin" and thus often referred to as Graf Zeppelin II. Due to the United States refusal to export helium to Germany, the Graf Zeppelin II was filled with hydrogen and therefore never carried commercial passengers. It made 30 flights over 11 months in 1938–39, many being propaganda publicity flights; but staff of the Reich Air Ministry were aboard to conduct radio surveillance and measurements. The airship was scrapped in 1940, for its aluminum.
Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH is a German aircraft manufacturing company. It is perhaps best known for its leading role in the design and manufacture of rigid airships, commonly referred to as Zeppelins due to the company's prominence. The name 'Luftschiffbau' is a German word meaning building of airships.
A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope is supported by an internal framework rather than by being kept in shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope, as in blimps and semi-rigid airships. Rigid airships are often commonly called Zeppelins, though this technically refers only to airships built by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin company.
The Hindenburg disaster occurred on May 6, 1937, in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst. There were 35 fatalities from the 97 people on board, and an additional fatality on the ground.
DELAG, acronym for Deutsche Luftschifffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, was the world's first airline to use an aircraft in revenue service. It was founded on 16 November 1909 and operated Zeppelin rigid airships manufactured by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Corporation. Its headquarters were located in Frankfurt, Germany.
Grace Marguerite, Lady Hay Drummond-Hay was a British journalist, who was the first woman to travel around the world by air. Although she was not an aviator herself at first, she contributed to the glamour of aviation and general knowledge of it, by writing articles about her aerial adventures for US newspapers in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen is a museum in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Germany, the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship. The museum houses the world's largest aviation collection and chronicles the history of the Zeppelin airships. In addition, it is the only museum in Germany that combines technology and art. The museum has been in its current location at the Hafenbahnhof since it was reopened in 1996. The exhibition was designed by HG Merz.
Captain Ernst August Lehmann was a German Zeppelin captain. He was one of the most famous and experienced figures in German airship travel. The Pittsburgh Press called Lehmann the best airship pilot in the world, although he was criticized by Hugo Eckener for often making dangerous maneuvers that compromised the airships. He was a victim of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.
Albert Sammt was a German commander of Zeppelin-airships.
The two Hindenburg-class airships were hydrogen-filled, passenger-carrying rigid airships built in Germany in the 1930s and named in honor of Paul von Hindenburg. They were the last such aircraft ever built, and in terms of their length and volume, the largest Zeppelins ever to fly. During the 1930s, airships like the Hindenburg class were widely considered the future of air travel, and the lead ship of the class, LZ 129 Hindenburg, established a regular transatlantic service. The destruction of this ship in a highly publicized accident was to prove the death knell for these expectations. The second ship, LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin, was never operated on a regular passenger service, and was scrapped in 1940 by order of Hermann Göring.
The Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, abbreviated DZR, is a German limited-liability company that operates commercial passenger zeppelin flights. The current incarnation of the DZR was founded in 2001 and is based in Friedrichshafen. It is a subsidiary of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik and operates Zeppelin NT "Next Generation" airships. By 2009 the DZR had transported over 55,000 passengers. As of 2012 the DZR flies a schedule of 12 tour routes between March and November in Southern Germany. The company also operates flights to other selected cities as well as charter flights.
LZ 17 Sachsen was the fourth Type H improved Schwaben-class Zeppelin that first flew on 3 May 1913 and operated as a passenger airship with DELAG until WWI, when it was commandeered for service with the Imperial German Army. After being transferred to the Imperial German Navy, LZ17 was dismantled in 1916.
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled rigid airship which flew from 1928 to 1937. It was designed and built to show that intercontinental airship travel was practicable. Its operational history included several long flights, such as a polar exploration mission, a round-the-world trip, trips to the Middle East and the Americas, and latterly being used as a propaganda vehicle for the ruling Nazi Party. The airship was withdrawn from service following the Hindenburg disaster.
zusammengestellt und kommentiert vom Städtischen Archivdirektor Broder Schwensen, Flensburg August 1996
Esser sorgt vor. Der Nazimann Esser hat einen Zorn auf Dr. Eckener gefasst, weil er für Hindenburg eingetreten ist. Esser fürchtet Eckener auch noch, weil er einmal als Kandidat gegen Hitler genannt wurde. Kann man wissen, was noch kommt? Also gedachte Esser, Herrn Eckener vorsorglich durch einen fürchterlichen Schlag zu erledigen. Da nannte er ihn in einer Münchener Versammlung den "Direktor der fliegenden Weisswurst".- scans of original Social Democratic Party of Germany press publication, translation: Esser makes provisions. The Nazi Esser vented his anger on Dr. Eckener because Eckener has stood up for Hindenburg. Esser also fears Eckener because he was once named as a candidate against Hitler. Who knows what is still to come? Therefore, Esser providently intended to smash Herr Eckener with a dreadful blow. In a Munich meeting he called him the "Director of the Flying White Sausage".
Knut Eckener and the zeppelin mascot, "Vee-Dol" a chow puppy who was carried on the German zeppelins to ward off bad luck.- photograph
A portrait of Knut Eckener.- photograph