The Zeppelin Organization and Facilities Today
THE Zeppelin organization today is prepared to build, deliver and operate rigid airships for any purpose. It has under contract virtually all the competent airship personnel in Germany. Practically all the engineering staffs and workmen employed in developing Zeppelins have been retained, one way or another, that they may be prepared to guarantee satisfactory performance of any Zeppelin turned out.
Actual construction work was discontinued early in 1920. The Allied Powers so interpreted the Treaty of Versailles that the German aircraft industry was not able to produce ships or planes having the least possible military value. Further restrictions were defined in the London Ultimatum. They have been enforced by the Allied Control Commission.
Research and Development Work Continues
Notwithstanding this severe handicap, the Zeppelin organizations have been kept intact. There has been sufficient work on motor cars, motor boats, motors, gears, aluminum foundry work, etc. to keep the workmen occupied. Where some of the plants have been closed, the entire personnel has been transferred into the other active organizations . In each branch of the Zeppelin organization design and research work on airships and aerial navigation have continued and progressed.
Zeppelin Able to Produce All Types
Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin has been particularly active in developing as far as possible the many ideas and inventions originating before and during the war. Many of their new airship designs have
been completed, others partly finished. It is now possible to produce quickly any type of commercial airship from of 700,000 to 7,000,000 cubic feet (20,000 to 2,000,000 cubic meters) capacity.
Some of the principal types for which specifications have been completed and the performance of which are guaranteed and further, backed by more than twenty-five years of experience, include: Plate 51 1—A 20,000 to 30,000 cubic meter fast passenger Zepelin, based on the Bodensee performance.
Airships for national defense are available, such as scouting, long distance patrol ships and others for mine spotting and short radius patrol.
Guaranteed Performance Based on Actual Experience
From actual experience during the war Luffschiffbau-Zeppelin is able to build and guarantee the performance of airplane carrying airships which permit large or small planes being launched or taken aboard while in flight.
Bombing and raiding airships have been developed; but on the other hand the military development is considered of secondary importance to the vast amount of knowledge and experience acquired for commercial airship operations.
Complete Airship Navigation Data Now Available
The Zeppelin Operating Company ("DELAG") have collaborated in assembling all possible data relative to the operation and navigation of the great rigids, with a view toward having it available for immediate use and the instruction of other personnel when and wherever circumstances permit or require.
Aerial transport requirements of the future have been the subject of exhaustive study and research. Many new inventions have resulted from this knowledge of what is necessary to realize even part of the almost limitless possibilities in airship communication. Innumerable ideas have been created and passed upon by experts who have decided finally as to their practicability and financial worth. The "DELAG," which it will be noted, is the navigating company of the Zeppelin organization, has retained all of its 1919 personnel and has added to it such forces as the outlook for the future seems to warrant. The "DELAG" has about all of the qualified airship personnel in Central Europe.
Zeppelin Organization Equipped for New Conditions
The parent company, Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, has so arranged its organization that it can handle any development arising from the new situation both politically and economically. Heretofore the management was under Director-General Alfred Colsman alone. Today it is divided into three divisions, operating, constructing and financial. Mr. Colsman handles the financial divisions and various subsidiary companies. Dr. Ludwig Duerr the construction, and Dr. Hugo Eckener the operating division which includes also the technical phases and all outside relations, domestic and foreign. Dr. Eckener, meanwhile, retains his position as managing Director of the "DELAG" and as one of the Directors of the Zeppelin endowment.
Considered from all angles, due to the present development and knowledge of the science of lighter-than-air, it is possible today to provide satisfactory airship service for any route contemplated or which may be planned for the future.
Two and a Half Days Trans-Atlantic Service Possible
Carefully prepared calculations on some 600 flights made up and carried out from daily weather maps of the north Atlantic on methodically selected periods, have convinced the Zeppelin officials that a two and a half day Zeppelin service could be maintained between Europe and America.
Zeppelin engineers worked incessantly making the North Atlantic flights across the weather maps. When they had completed their 600 theoretical trips they knew as much about what actually could be done, as if they had flown such a service for two or three years. With the exception of a few details, easily worked out in a brief experimental period, the Zeppelin organization could put such a service in operation at once, if permitted.
New York-Chicago Route Difficult but Practicable
There has been considerable speculation relative to the New York-Chicago route. Several announcements have been made that either an airplane or airship service was about to be started. The Zeppelin engineers came to the United States not long ago and made a preliminary survey of that route. They based their report on a thorough examination of daily weather maps and reports for the last thirty years and stated that a New York-Chicago route could be operated successfully. It was pointed out that the New York-Chicago line would assume more responsibility for the fair name of commercial airship transport than anywhere on earth, more so, even than the trans-atlantic route which, technically, is far less difficult.
When asked to cooperate in a New York-Chicago airship line, the Zeppelin organization has consistently pointed out the many problems to be met. Their preliminary survey shows that they can maintain a twelve hour schedule, with almost 100% regularity in summer, from 80 to 90% in winter, or an average yearly performance of from 93 to 96%,.
Many Engineering Problems Solved
In addition, the Zeppelin organization supports its conclusion with a fund of engineering data. Considerable research work has resulted in solving many problems including passenger accommodations and the structure of larger airships, improvement of the gasoline engine, the steam turbine and the Diesel engine. They have provided for the safety of gas containers, eliminating fire and lightning risk, even producing a nitrogen mantle.
Gearings, reversible propellers and modern methods of ballast recovery have been perfected or improved.
Various devices for launching ships, rotary sheds accommodating two giant Zeppelins yet revolving under light power from electric motors, and many other docking facilities are primarily of Zeppelin origin.
Zeppelin has also improved methods for fabricating all-metal commercial planes.
Zeppelin Now Aims to Increase Efficiency
Many of the problems in commercial airship operations or design will be solved shortly after actual operations are started. The aim of Zeppelin engineers has been to increase the efficiency of the airship as it has been proven that the financial returns from airship transport are, or should be, proportionately increased by the use of larger ships. The Zeppelin efforts, therefore, is to secure greater efficiency
which will allow better financial returns with smaller units and less expense.
Commercial Operations Data Compiled
While this has been one of the principal objectives of the engineering branch,' the operating staffs have developed new methods of handling the big ships commercially; improved organizations, and methods and apparatus for making coast and geodetic surveys by airship, forest fire patrol, and scientific explorations. Their investigations of weather and technical conditions have extended throughout the world; one of the principal surveys of proposed routes being between Spain and Buenos Aires, in which it was learned that a normal schedule can be maintained regularly with ninety-six hours allotted for non-stop flights between the two terminals.
The Public will Accept Airship Transportation Here as Abroad Of course, the public must be converted to the use of the airship, just as the people of Germany were converted—by actual operations. There probably exists no other field of human endeavor so essential to our civilization as that of transportation. The traveling public has accepted other mediums of conveyance after they had demonstrated inherent qualities of safety and reliability. So it is with aircraft. Heavier-than-air machines have gradually popularized flying. Persons are riding by the air route in constantly increasing numbers, here and abroad. Their faith in commercial aviation is due solely to the BRAVE pioneering efforts of a few men of vision these last twenty years. Popularity and general use depends on the efficiency of the organizations which now carry on the work so well begun.