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The Age of the Zeppelins

In the background, the huge Alps; in front of them, the glittering surface of Lake Constance, over which a cigar-shaped object is circling majestically ... a Zeppelin!

Perhaps Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin imagined an idyllic postcard of this sort when he was drawing his plans for the construction of an airship at the end of the 19th century. The nobleman, born in Constance in 1838, became obsessed with developing an aircraft that could be steered once his military career was over. On July 2, 1900, it was ready: at Manzell Bay on Lake Constance, the first Zeppelin rose into the air for a test flight. After just 18 minutes, however, the LZ1 had to make an emergency landing on the water.

Donations were made to build more airships, and foundations and companies were set up to build and operate Zeppelins.  The successor company is still in existence today in Friedrichshafen and many other companies date back to that time. Gradually, Zeppelins were used increasingly as a means of transportation, especially on transatlantic flights. Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin died on March 8, 1917 in Berlin at the age of 79. The crash of the largest airship of the age, the legendary "Hindenburg / LZ-129" on May 6, 1937 at the Lakehurst Naval Airstation (USA) brought an end to the age of the Zeppelins in civil aviation.

In 1993, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH was founded as a subsidiary of the Zeppelin group, with the purpose of re-entering the airship business. Just four years later, the maiden flight of the Zeppelin NT marked the beginning of a new era in airship construction. The "Zeppelins based on new technology" are significantly smaller than their gigantic predecessors and have excellent handling in the air. Four ships have been built to date and are in use in Japan, the USA and Germany for tours, research flights and advertising. Today, Zeppelins in the sky over Lake Constance are a favorite sight for locals and tourists alike.

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88212 Ravensburg
Tel.: 0751 3699-0
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