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Still Waters

Hindenburg mystery solved after 76 years?

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The dream was a fleet of hydrogen-filled airships criss-crossing the globe, silvered hulls shining in the sunlight. And for a while the fantasy became reality, For the Hindenburg was the Concorde of its day – able to cross the Atlantic in about three days, twice as fast as going by sea.

With nearly 100 on board, the 245m airship was preparing to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937, when the age of airship travel ended. In front of horrified onlookers, the Hindenburg exploded and plunged to the ground in flames. Thirty-five of those on board died.

http://www.independe...rs-8517996.html

http://www.dailymail...ip-explode.html

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Thanks for the link its interesting read

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Static electricity makes sense. Given that the crew had been circling the airfield and the electrical storm that had abated not long before, it is a much more sensible conclusion than saboutage.

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I would love to see a return of Hydrogen rigid airships. They could be built today to be as safe as flying in a modern airliner. They are far less polluting and could be used for a variety of tasks including lifting heavy loads.

Just a shame this accident wiped out the chance of any future development.

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I would love to see a return of Hydrogen rigid airships. They could be built today to be as safe as flying in a modern airliner. They are far less polluting and could be used for a variety of tasks including lifting heavy loads.

Just a shame this accident wiped out the chance of any future development.

Helium would be a completely safe (if expensive) non-flamable alternative to Hydrogen. I wonder if the two gases could be mixed at a ratio that would render the hydrogen less explosive, they might have different specific gravity (if that is the correct term for the weight of gases); one might "float" above the other and therefore you could still have a pocket of highly flammable gas, but they could be keep homogenized with blowers inside the envelope.

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I don't know about the return of "air-ships"

Seems like a large, low flying target for those wishing to do harm.

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Helium would be safer, but like you said much, much, MUCH more expensive, and in fact running in short supply these days. There have been helium shortages as of late, and only about 6 or 7 sites worldwide produce all of the worlds helium.

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Hydrogen is as safe as Helium and much cheaper. The major problem with the dirigibles is they are under powered. They need to be powered by more powerful engines to deal with the air winds and currents but it would be wonderful to bring them back to transportation service.

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Posted (edited)

I would love to see a return of Hydrogen rigid airships. They could be built today to be as safe as flying in a modern airliner. They are far less polluting and could be used for a variety of tasks including lifting heavy loads.

Just a shame this accident wiped out the chance of any future development.

Have you ever read Jasper Fforde's books? One of his series is set in an alternate universe in 1985 and there the only mode of air transportation is rigid airships. :D Each town/village has a station like a train station.

re: the article... I thought it was determined a long time ago that static electricity was the culprit.

Edited by Lady Kasey

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Hydrogen is as safe as Helium and much cheaper. The major problem with the dirigibles is they are under powered. They need to be powered by more powerful engines to deal with the air winds and currents but it would be wonderful to bring them back to transportation service.

Hydrogen is not at all as safe as Helium! It is extremely flammable! Helium is not flammable at all :)

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But I thought that the mythbusters did that a few years ago.

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This has been mentioned before in regards to the Hindenburg.And Hydrogen is not safe.If I remember correctly;there is a reserve of helium out in west Texas.I think it's out near San Angelo and you may have to google it.

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This has been mentioned before in regards to the Hindenburg.And Hydrogen is not safe.If I remember correctly;there is a reserve of helium out in west Texas.I think it's out near San Angelo and you may have to google it.

Yes you are right there is a helium reserve out in West Texas. Here is more information about that reserve and the global helium shortage: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/med-tech/why-is-there-a-helium-shortage-10031229

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Posted (edited)

Helium would be a lot funnier

*

Edited by lightly
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if we could breathe this much hot air into their balloon, they might have something......

;-)

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Ah yes good old uncle Hans he did like to sneak of for a cigarette. :whistle:

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yeah it sounds about right or aleast a possible explanation anyway.it could also be something else as well.anyway I am saying that its one of many possible reasons not that it its the only one.but why don't we make them as much like before.airships and etc.another cool and amazing feature to add is the following:replace the fuel sources with like solar power and wind power lol.and make them bigger and safer of course and faster.

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Bring back air ships. Helium of course. It might be expensive but surely they only need to be filled once with a small reserve for emergencies, and jets instead of props.

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Posted (edited)

A documentary a few years ago was the supposed explanation.It was stated that the chemicals used in that day on the outer shell,were meant to be fire retardants.But the discovery from the research crew led to the discovery that the very same supposed retardants,caused the fuelling of the fire that brought the Hindenburg down.The static might have been another factor in the ignition,but the requirement of the continual combustion was from the outer treatment of the materials & the volatile gases that had the combined effects that contributed sadly to the disaster.

.

Edited by GirlfromOz

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Hydrogen is extremely flammable, but so is aviation fuel. Lets remember the Hindenburg was a product of 1920/1930's engineering. Today rigid airships would be built from composites which would make them far lighter and require less Hydrogen to lift, you also eliminate static. Super strength, lightweight tanks made out of maybe titanium or something could be used for the hydrogen.

I bet a well designed rigid airship would be no more dangerous today than a Boeing 747 carrying many tonnes of aviation fuel.

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Posted (edited)

Hydrogen is extremely flammable, but so is aviation fuel. Lets remember the Hindenburg was a product of 1920/1930's engineering. Today rigid airships would be built from composites which would make them far lighter and require less Hydrogen to lift, you also eliminate static. Super strength, lightweight tanks made out of maybe titanium or something could be used for the hydrogen.

I bet a well designed rigid airship would be no more dangerous today than a Boeing 747 carrying many tonnes of aviation fuel.

This is incorrect. No sane company would ever consider using hydrogen as the lifting gas ever since the 1930's, even with composite materials the risk is too great. Hydrogen is just too reactive. Here is a site with more information: http://www.airships....drogen-airships. The bad thing about helium is that it has about 88% of the lifting power of hydrogen, and is WAY more expensive, and becoming rarer and rarer and more expensive with each passing year.

Edited by Einsteinium

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This is incorrect. No sane company would ever consider using hydrogen as the lifting gas ever since the 1930's, even with composite materials the risk is too great. Hydrogen is just too reactive. Here is a site with more information: http://www.airships....drogen-airships. The bad thing about helium is that it has about 88% of the lifting power of hydrogen, and is WAY more expensive, and becoming rarer and rarer and more expensive with each passing year.

In an ideal world of infinite resources I would totally agree.

However the world is far from ideal with dwindling resources. We may be forced to explore hydrogen alternatives to avoid returning to the dark ages when oil gradually runs out. Many car manufacturers already are developing hydrogen cell cars.

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In an ideal world of infinite resources I would totally agree.

However the world is far from ideal with dwindling resources. We may be forced to explore hydrogen alternatives to avoid returning to the dark ages when oil gradually runs out. Many car manufacturers already are developing hydrogen cell cars.

I agree. Hydrogen is great for use as a FUEL, but as a lifting agent for airships-not so much. Hydrogen is simply too reactive, too explosive, and too hard to totally contain without any leaks in such a large volume. Airships are not necessary for transportation or otherwise in this age of airplanes, jets, etc. Hydrogen might find its way into a jet fuel or airplane fuel of some kind. But it is extremely unlikely to ever be used again as a lifting gas for airships. You are comparing apples to potatoes here.

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Look at it this way then. We call it a lethal gas which is too explosive to work with. The Hindenburg carried 36 passengers and 61 crew. We all agree it crashed during landing procedure. 13 passengers died and 22 crew, which means more than 50% survived this. How many usually die in an airline crash? Complete the opposite I think we will find, in fact a major airline crash classed as a disaster like the Hindenburg rarely sees any survivors. Yet we deem airships far more dangerous.

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Look at it this way then. We call it a lethal gas which is too explosive to work with. The Hindenburg carried 36 passengers and 61 crew. We all agree it crashed during landing procedure. 13 passengers died and 22 crew, which means more than 50% survived this. How many usually die in an airline crash? Complete the opposite I think we will find, in fact a major airline crash classed as a disaster like the Hindenburg rarely sees any survivors. Yet we deem airships far more dangerous.

Okay I will give you that. However, there have never been NEARLY the number of airships flying around as we have planes now. The fact that more than 50% survived the Hindenburg does not mean this would be the normal case. Consider the fact that the disaster luckily happened during landing procedure when it was close to the ground. If it had been in flight it would have been much higher up, and the death toll would have been vastly higher than it was. Helium airships are extremely safe, but hydrogen-no. Just No. Just NO. A jetliner is much safer and has been proven to be much safer than any hydrogen airship. That is fact.

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