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Forssman Lenkballon
First ascent of the Forssman dirigible balloon, on January 13, 1911 at Gerstenhofen, north of Augsburg.
In 1910, Villehad Henrik Forssman (1884–1944) had graduated from the Riga Polytechnic Institute as a mechanical engineer and then moved to Germany that same year. Thereabouts, the Swede had been contracted by the Russian army to deliver a dirigible and was there to be used for intelligence services, which was constructed at “August Riedinger Ballonfabrik” in Augsburg. It is not known whether or not the Russian military ever took delivery of the airship. The dirigible was only 35 meters long with a maximum diameter of 6 meters, and held 800 cubic meters of hydrogen gas. It could be dismantled very quickly and just as fast, later be ready to fly. Because of lift-force limitations a gondola was not available, only a single bench seat with the engine, where the pilot and a mechanic had a place to sit. The 28 hp motor, which was also built by Forssman, weighed only 38 kg, and the cooling 4 1/2 kg. Reportedly the entire craft weighed 450 kg and capable of attaining a maximum speed of 43 km/h.
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