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Around the world on a Dream Machine

Around the world on a Dream Machine — 77 years ago, the giant German airship LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin left Lakehurst, NJ on an aerial world tour sponsored by American media mogul William Randolph Hearst. The airship's gondola carried 20 passengers in high-tech style, including: U.S. Navy observer Charles Rosendahl; English pilot, Zeppelin frequent flyer, and Hearst reporter Lady Grace Drummond-Hay; and Japanese naval aviator Ryunosuke Kusaka. The 41 crewmen were captained by Dr. Hugo Eckener, Zeppelin champion and the world's best airship pilot. The hydrogen-filled LZ-127 flew over the Atlantic to Germany, Siberia, Japan, over the Pacific to California, across the United States, and back to Lakehurst. The 20,500 mile, 21-day flight—with 12 flying days at ~80 mph top speed—defined airship travel's golden age. [More inside]
posted by cenoxo on Aug 8, 2006 - 24 comments

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