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Zeppelin No.1 / LZ-1

The construction of Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s aluminium framework LZ 1 began in June, 1898, in a floating wooden hangar on Bodensee (Lake Constance) at Manzell (Friedrichshafen).
The hydrogen was contained in 16 cells supporting an all up weight of just under 12 tons. The parallel-sided, conical-ended craft had two gondolas fixed under the hull, each containing a four-cylinder Daimler petrol motor with an output of 16 hp. Lateral control was effected by two small rudders at the stern, whilst attitude and vertical control relied on a 500 lb sliding weight suspended on a cable beneath the ship.
Completed in the winter of 1899, the Graf decided to wait however until the summer of 1900 before attempting an ascension. The airship was inflated with hydrogen in June, and was towed out of its floating hanger by the steamboat Buchorn and, once clear of obstructions, vaned into the wind where the tow rope was released. On a near perfect day the LZ-1 rose to about 1300 ft, from where it flew 18 minutes above the calm waters of the lake on 2 July 1900at 20:03. With a crew of four, including the Count himself, the airship covered some 4 miles against a headwind of 16 mph. The LZ-1 successfully achieved a degree of control despite the relatively low power of the engines, but problems with the sliding weight necessitated a descent on to the lake from where the ship was towed back to the hanger.
A second flight, of 30 minutes, took place on 17 October 1900. Experiments in control were undertaken, but again these tests were cut short due to engine trouble and there was some degree of structual failure of girders in the framework requiring another descent on to the water.
After some repairs and strengthening of the fractured girders the LZ-1 made its third and final flight of some 20 minutes, achieving a speed of 17 mph during which it again exhibited its ability to answer to the helm. This time the flight was terminated because of water in the petrol, but the ship again returned safely to its shed.

The following year Zepplin disbanded the joint stock company while personally assming its liabilities. The Count had the LZ-1 dismantled and the shed beached and closed up. He dismissed all the workers apart from Kober, whom he retained to work on a more advancd desighn he had conceived.


Length: 419 ft
Diameter: 38 ft 6 in
Height: 48 ft 6 in
Envelope capacity: 400,000 cu.ft
Gross lift: 12.5 ton
Useful lift: 2.75 ton
Engines: 2 x Daimler 16 hp
Max speed: 17 mph
Range at cruise est.: 180 mi
Ceiling: 2000 ft
Crew: 4



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