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Zeppelin LZ 4 / Type C
The LZ-3 sailed along the Rhine valley and onto Switzerland covering 200 miles. The performance galvanised the authorities in to action: firstly by an award of 500,000 Marks from the Government Airship Commission to aid research, and secondly the placing of an order for two Zeppelins for the Army.
The stringent conditions laid down for the purchase contract included a twenty-four hour endurance flight to cover a distance of no less than 500 miles with a crew of 20, and to include a landing on return.
Zeppelin realised the LZ-3 did not possess the endurance necessary to comply with these conditions and proposed the construction of a larger ship, the LZ-4.
The LZ-4 had an increased capacity of 528,000 cu.ft and it was powered by two engines delivering a total of 210 hp. Provision was made for a keel cabin and more efficient multiple bow and stern elevators were fitted, which, in conjunction with larger rudders, improved the lateral and vertical stability.
In July 1908 the LZ-4 made a twelve-hour flight along the Rhine and on into Switzerland, the whole trip proving to be completely trouble free. The following month the twenty-four hour army trial rook place. Initially all went well, with the airship sailing placidly along the valley of the Rhine. However, just short of Mainz the forward engine failed, causing the LZ-4 to make an emergency landing on the River Rhine.
Here the airship was secured to the bank and repairs were carried out on a sheltered reach of the river, from where after a few hours the flight was able to continue. By now darkness was coming on, and Count Zeppelin undertook the first night flight by a rigid airship, cruising confidently over the villages and towns of southern Germany.
Towards dawn, further engine trouble occurred necessitating a diversion to Stuttgart for repairs to be effected at the Daimler works. The airship landed at the village of Echterdingen where a landing party of soldiers was assembled to take the handling lines and make the ship secure. During the afternoon while waiting for the engines from Daimler to arrive, the wind freshened to such an extent that the ground crew were unable to hold the ship. The airship was wrenched from them and smashed to the ground where it instantly caught fire and in the space of minutes it had become a mass of twisted molten metal.
The 70-year-old Count Zeppelin vowed to carry on. Within hours of the news of the loss of the LZ-4 appearing in the papers a spontaneous outpouring of popular support in what he was trying to achieve was demonstrated by the German people. From all over the nation money and promises of donations came flooding in to Friedrichshafen, and within a short time more than 6 million Marks (£5 million) had been subscribed.
Engines; 2 x Daimler, 105 hp
Capacity: 428,000 cu.ft
Length: 446 ft
Width: 41 ft
Height: 50 ft
Gross lift: 15.5 tons
Useful lift: 3.75 tons
Max speed: 34 mph
Range at cruise: 180 miles
Ceiling: 2000 ft
Crew: 25





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