Structural Engineering Mishaps and Disasters

Topics: Hindenburg disaster, Rigid airship, Hydrogen Pages: 2 (684 words) Published: April 25, 2005
Structural Engineering Mishaps and Disasters
Hindenburg: An Unnecessary Disaster

In the 1930s airships, better known today as "blimps", were the main source of air travel. During this time, the airships were used for various different reasons such as: bombing enemy targets, patrolling coastal areas, escorting naval ships during the night or through unsafe bodies of water, or used to make luxury flights across the Atlantic. The Hindenburg was believed to be the biggest and most sophisticated aircraft ever built.

The Hindenburg was built with metal framework and balloon like covering. It was as long as three football fields and weighed more than 240 tons. This airship looked ravishing, however, it possessed a significant flaw that eventually caused it to ruin. The outer skin of the Hindenburg was filled with hydrogen, which is extremely flammable. Passengers preparing to board the aircraft had to remove all lighters, matches, and/or any other objects that would cause it to catch fire.

Traveling all the way from Europe, the Hindenburg was expected to arrive in the United States and land in New Jersey on May 6, 1937. Max Pruss was commander, there were thirteen passengers, and twenty-two crew members on board . Hundreds of people waited for the Hindenburg, including: relatives of the passengers, news reporters, photographers, New Jersey citizens, and ninety-two ground crew members.

The flight's landing was slightly delayed due to thunderstorms and aggressive winds. Finally, the weather calmed and the Hindenburg airship began to land in Jersey.

One of the spectators noticed a pale pink glow in the lower center of the ship. Everyone began to become intense because they had a feeling that the glow was not suppose to be there. A few seconds later that section of the airship exploded! All the onlookers, of course, backed away rapidly, but were still close as the entire Hindenburg airship, and mostly all of its passengers caught fire.

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