Hindenburg Disaster 780

europe germany frankfurt may 3rd 1937 the LZ 129 Hindenburg the largest flying machine ever built emerges from its Hannah its destination Lakers New Jersey this is no ordinary crossing it's the launch of the world's first scheduled flight service across the Atlantic since rolling out of a hangar in March 1936 the airship has made a series of 62 successful trial and publicity flights built by the zeppelin company the Hindenburg is 245 metres long as big as an ocean liner and stands as tall as a 30-story building the 36 passengers boarding tonight will spend the fight on a passenger deck towards the airships knows most a high-profile businessman but also on the passenger list is one of the first families ever to fly in the Hindenburg Herman and Matilda Turner and their three children arena volta and burner the wealthy family live 11,000 kilometers away in Mexico and a returning from a vacation in their German homeland 48 year old burner flying in an airship is a once-in-a-lifetime experience the opponent's in general was the word of the day and it was the fancy way to go a ship's are considered the cruise liners of the future but for now they are the sole preserve of the seriously wealthy a one-way ticket costs four hundred dollars that's over five thousand dollars in today's money it buys the ultimate luxury travel experience a restaurant serving cordon bleu cuisine and the finest wines fashionably designed lounge areas and of course spectacular views from the promenade deck Venice just arena is 14 for her the voyage is a chance to leave childhood behind and mix in sophisticated adult circles for the first time it was sort of special for her somehow during this trip she grew up enough so that she asked her place to be cut and she had a new hairdo and she was none young lady down on the ground a crowd gathers to watch the launch for many just seeing this massive flying machine up close is a thrilling experience as passengers board all their lighters and matches are confiscated and they are expressly forbidden from straying outside the designated passenger areas with good reason the airships outer skin is made of strong cotton and linen waterproofed and tightened with a chemical paint called taupe inside the skin a 16 gas bags over 30 meters tall holding nearly 200,000 cubic meters of hydrogen a highly flammable lighter than air gas that gives the airship its lift forward of the passenger deck slung beneath the airship is its nerve center the control car in command his mac spruce he's one of the company's most experienced captains with over 20 years flying experience and he's captain the Hindenburg on 22 flights 815 p.m. right on schedule captain puse orders the ground crew to release the landing ropes the flight crew duns 590 kilograms of water ballast and the airship begins to rise when it reaches 60 meters the crew starts up the for 1,100 horsepower diesel fuel propeller engines on the passenger deck the donors wave goodbye to friends and family below for Matilda donor leaving a homeland once again it's a poignant moment I remember my mother had tears in her eyes when when the ship lifted that was so seldom for her I can hardly remember her she tears in her eyes anytime within minutes the Hindenburg reaches its top speed of 125 km/h the 6,500 kilometer voyage should take just two and a half days just over half the time taken by a ship its flight path will take it over Holland down the English Channel and across the Atlantic to America's East Coast the zeppelin company is sending its head of operations and sleiman to oversee this critical flight lehman as an enthusiastic supporter of germany's ruling nazi party he's on board to ensure the Hindenburg stays on schedule any delays would be deeply embarrassing but as layman knows the Hindenburg has an Achilles heel bad weather strong winds can blow the airship of course they also make its complex landing maneuvers more difficult a bad storm could even put the airship in danger in 1930 the pride of the British Empire the r101 airship was enroute to India it hit a storm over France a went down nose first the resulting crash killed 48 of the 50 for people on board the tragedy ended the British airship program between 1925 and 1935 the US Navy lost three of its airships in severe weather by 1937 only one the Los Angeles is still in service assistant cabin steward banner France isn't worried the zeppelin company has a one hundred percent safety record in 27 years of flying passenger airships and 14 year old vana knows that in hard times like this he's lucky to have a job it's ravi kishan sat after I was very proud to be part of the crew and to go on all those journeys to see all those countries man father Thomas far allied slowest my father was out of work at the time and we had very little money I sure miss you out nish planned to be part of this it was incredible rush on calm hast but there's a new threat facing passengers and crew on the Hindenburg today and a German is dictator Adolf Hitler the Nazis re arming for war they are also brutally suppressing all opposition at home the Hindenburg's construction was part-funded by hitler and it's become a powerful nazi propaganda tool but the airships iconic status also makes it a target for opponents of the nazi regime in 1933 the reichstag the Nazi controlled German parliament was burned to the ground the authorities blamed saboteurs and now just days ago German authorities warned Ernst layman that they'd received a specific threat to this crucial flight could saboteurs posing as innocent passengers or even crew members be on board with a deadly mission to destroy the Hindenburg Wednesday May 5th day three and sleiman Zeppelin head of operations and Captain prus a worried the Hindenburg should be making a hundred and twenty-five kilometers per hour but strong head winds mean the schedule is slipping at this rate there'll be 12 hours late joseph spa a german living in Long Island New York is just a day away from a reunion with his family he's been touring Germany with his musical act of acrobatics and slapstick comedy his next performance will be at Radio City Music Hall in New York he's taking a dark home as a surprise for his children it's spending the flight in the freight area on a lower deck spa needs to feed the dog regularly but it's in a restricted area so he's been warned that he has to be escorted by a crew member dan Sleiman captain preuss at a zeppelin company observer are the only three on board aware of the sabotage threat to the Hindenburg it's not the first time the airship has been threatened so they treat it as a false alarm and reassuringly there are plain clothes intelligence officers on board on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously but captain Bruce has another problem they're still battling against strong headwinds so there's still 12 hours behind schedule arriving late is bad enough but the return flight to Frankfurt the following night is an important one and it's fully booked the airship will be packed with high society passengers flying to attend the coronation of King George the 6th in London it's the event of the year if the Hindenburg doesn't get the guests to Europe in time lehmann faces a PR disaster the passengers finish their after-dinner drinks some retire to their cabins it's their last night on the Hindenburg in a few hours they'll be in New Jersey Venna France grabs a few hours sleep tomorrow he's going to be busy preparing the airship for its return trip thursday may 66 am the Hindenburg should be landing at Lakehurst Naval based but it's still 1130 kilometres away the estimated arrival time is 6pm 12 hours behind schedule layman and proofs should have 16 hours the land the airship disembark the passengers and freight and complete refueling and reprovision before heading back to Europe at 10pm today they'll only have four hours it's going to be tight 2 p.m. mrs. Turner packs the family's bags on the passenger deck Joseph spar can't wait to see his wife and children he knows how thrilled they'll be when they see the dog he's bought for them the Hindenburg approaches New York just 80 kilometres northeast of their destination captain prust treats the passengers to a bird's-eye view of the manhattan skyline from a crew lookout area at the top of the airship 14 year old cabin boy Venna France marvels at his first glimpse of the new world best in test yaya han japan we approach New York he's this fear of buildings the Statue of Liberty the skyscrapers well that was something had never seen before Saturday 3pm the Hindenburg appears out of the clouds over the airfield at Lakehurst base commander Charles Rosen doll watches the giant airship pass over the hangar he's a veteran airship commander with 13 years flying experience and he's worried a thunderstorm is developing and winds are picking up landing an airship is a delicate operation requiring accurate maneuvering attempting it in bad weather could end in disaster rosendahl radios captain proofs he recommends delaying the landing until the conditions improved radio distant enemy Jerry Preuss has no choice but to turn the airship away he head Southwest to a way to break in the weather preussen laymen know that any chance of making the 10pm departure is rapidly disappearing to click on but first crews must focus on landing the Asha 512 p.m. at Lakehurst the wind eases commander rosendale radios the Hindenburg he tells perusal conditions now suitable for landing ground crew is ready captain preuss turns the airship back towards latest but it encounters increasingly heavy rain which slows its progress the passengers make for the promenade areas for the final moments of the flight 611 p.m. captain proofs swings the airship round to land into the wind the safest way of landing 613 p.m. suddenly the wind veers to the southeast Prust has to think fast he can abort and go round the airfield to line up with the wind but this will lose precious time captain proofs decides to land straight away but this means you must turn the airship into the wind fast he orders the crew to make a sharp left turn 617 p.m. now captain Bruce notices the ship is heavy of the rear he must balance the airship before landing or he risks damaging the tail he orders over 1,000 kilograms of ballast from the ship's water tanks to be jettisoned 619 p.m. proost orders a final sharp right turn to line up with the mast the airship is still sloping to the rear Bruce orders six crew members from their mess hall in the rear to come to the nose of the ship to add more weight at the front 620 p.m. the airship finally arrives at the landing area they slow and hover over the airfield a crowd gathers to witness the Hindenburg's first landing in America this year newsreel team's record the arrival hoping to get some exciting pictures of the airships landing procedure now all that remains is for the crew to lower a cable from the nose to the mooring mast the ground crew will then winch the hindenburg down to the mask before lowering the more in cable crustmas first drop to anchor ropes these are held by the ground crew to stop the airship drifting 621 p.m. the first anchor drops to the ground closely followed by the second 625 p.m. suddenly the crowds on the ground see flames appear around the pin then the airships knows rears are tables and chairs like backwards passengers tumble down Van eterna deals the air turned to a furnace like meat suddenly the air was on fire in an instant the whole thing was on fire the world's largest flying machine is now a blazing Inferno 97 people including the preternatural dhryn a trapped inside the Hindenburg 60 meters above the ground 36 passengers are just moments from disembarking from the Hindenburg when disaster strikes in the control car the crew feel a massive jolt an officer shouts the ship's on fire the nose rears up over a hundred meters above the ground the fire roars through the airship within seconds the Hindenburg is engulfed in flames Venna France is trapped on the walkway on the lower deck he must find a way out before the flames reach him sir cuts right away this bang told you that a major catastrophe had happened you knew right away the airship was lost the airship was burning and couldn't be saved his fellow verna stumbles along the gangway looking for a way out but he trips and falls he grabs the rope handrail and holds on conditioned inside in that thing hi as I was hanging on to these ropes everything I had experienced in my life came back as if it were a film Venice sits on the gangway and kicks through the canvas he jumps out of the blazing airship and onto the ground five meters below gripped with fear he runs away into the arms of a fellow crew member pissing d Navin fellow and abdomen I lost control and started screaming and he put me right again saying what's the matter you're all right out to control yourself on this height of idea and see if you can help someone him answer elfen don know but Vanner is too terrified to return into the flaming wreckage these half-burned creatures came running past me as in ship house nothing could persuade me to go back into the airship punished answer taking the the does Ishtar nevermind s the fire rushes up the airship the burners are still in the passenger lounge if they don't get out now they'll burn but they're still nine meters up Matilda Turner shouts to her 14 year old daughter arena to jump out of the window but the girl is too frightened mrs. Turner picks up a rate year old son burner she tries to throw him out of the window but he falls back somehow she finds the strength to lift him again this time she succeeds and Verna falls to the ground with his brother she turns for her daughter again pleading with her to jump but Irina is paralyzed with fear and instead turns away towards the flames looking for her father in desperation mrs. Donna jumps out after her son's Acrobat Joseph spa also jumps from the passenger lounge he rolls onto the grass picked himself up and limps away but he's unable to rescue his dog which perishes in the fire 34 seconds after the first flame appears the Hindenburg is consumed by the infernos the wreckage crashes to the ground it's totally destroyed ambulances rushed the fibers the hospital then add owner and his mother are severely injured his brother Volta suffers minor burns but his father dies inside the airship a crewman rescues vanished history Reina from the burning wreckage but she's close to death my sister's condition was so bad that they had taken to her to a different place inside the Hoffman probably an intensive care my mother very much complained about being separated from her daughter in the morning doctors bring Matilda Durnin used her daughter Irina died in the night from her burns she was just 14 years old my mother was very much upset with the authorities in the hospital that she never got to see her again but that was totally the best thing because she must have been in very bad shape captain crews survives but his badly burned and sleiman is fatally injured of the 97 people on board 29 are dead one ground crewmen parishes and other six people died in hospital but what caused this tragedy the Germans have a one hundred percent safety record operating passenger airships and the Hindenburg was a state-of-the-art aircraft the pride of the Third Reich the United States and Germany open a joint inquiry they interview the surviving crew members and passengers they take testimonies from over 90 eyewitnesses but in 1937 there is very little cockpit technology to conduct a conclusive crash investigation and in the 68 years since the disaster many different theories some highly controversial have emerged debate still rages today over what really down the celebrated airship now seconds from disaster three examines the investigation into the loss of the Hindenburg using modern day forensics and scientific experiments we will finally solve the mystery what was it that started the fire abort the Hindenburg could it have been an act of sabotage and what really fueled the blaze sort of it consumed the whole ship in 34 seconds advanced computer simulation will take us where no camera can go into the heart of the disaster zone Greg Fife is one of the United States most experienced crash detectives he has 20 years of service with the National Transportation Safety Board for eight of those he was the investigator in charge of the team that attends every major crash site in America known as the go team he's worked on some of the world's most complex and baffling air crashes and so far he solved every one of them but there's one disaster he's always wanted to explore hindenburg mystery has intrigued me just because you had this magnificent flying machine that fell into a major disaster a very cataclysmic disaster and nobody really had an idea of what caused it but faith brings a modern crash investigators expertise and forensic skills to the disaster he must keep an open mind as he investigates every possible reason for the crash in any major explosion in a modern aircraft all eyes immediately turn to terrorism anytime you have an in-flight fire you have to think the worst you have to try and determine what led to that in-flight fire you go to the extreme and the extreme is sabotage fight learns that the Hindenburg received many sabotage threats in its one year of operations but who would want to destroy it rigsy DeRosa is vice president of the latest Historical Society and a specialist in the Hindenburg era as the Nazi regime became increasingly unpopular throughout the world it was also going to face a new set of security concerns and there were heightened of fears that perhaps an act of sabotage could be carried out against the airship Greg Fife examines the original report for evidence of sabotage warnings he finds the pants laymen received intelligence from the German authorities warning of a specific threat but who had a motive Hitler and his Nazi Party had many enemies in Germany they carried out a brutal policy of repression against Jewish people socialists communists and outspoken writers any one of these people might have been happy to see the Hindenburg destroyed faith checks the official reports and finds the one passenger who could have had the opportunity to destroy the Hindenburg Joseph spa after the crash spa comes under intense scrutiny he lived in America with his wife and family but he is German and for the last few months he's been traveling all over Europe this is just the sort of background that rings alarm bells with German intelligence according to the FBI report Joseph spa did act suspiciously in fact spa access high-security areas where no passengers were allowed apparently to visit his dog the fact that spar is an acrobat with great agility means he could easily climb in and around the Hindenburg's narrow passageways could spa have used his dog as a cover to plant a bomb was this music hall clown really a ruthless terrorist responsible for the destruction of the Hindenburg and the deaths of 36 people air crash investigator Greg fight is trying to get to the bottom of one of Aviation's great mysteries why did the Hindenburg airship burst into flames and crash at Lakehurst Naval Base in 1937 many of the crew and officers of the Hindenburg were convinced the cause was sabotage fight wants to see if the theory stands up he finds an intriguing statement in the report about one of the passengers Acrobat Joseph spar did disappear into unauthorized areas where the fuel tanks were kept on several occasions on his own he told the crew he was going to check on his dog could he actually have been looking for somewhere to plant a bomb fife knows that the FBI investigated spa and was unable to find any motive but he wants to put sparse actions aboard the airship under the microscope himself he studies the film footage he reads eyewitness reports they stayed that the fire started at the top of the airship near the vertical fin first far to reach this area he would have to climb up a 30 meter shark even with his acrobatic agility this would take several minutes and he would have to somehow avoid being challenged by the many crewmen patrolling this area and if you were caught he could hardly claim to be feeding his dog when it was stored in the freight area at the foot of the action why would he have taken so many risks when he had ample opportunity to plant a bomb here which would have had just as deadly and effect fright decides it's too far-fetched a rule spa out as the potential saboteur so if it's not a terrorist act what else could set the airship on fire the joint report state that a spark ignites leaking hydrogen that consumes the airship in 34 seconds hydrogen suddenly seems the obvious culprit it's highly flammable when mixed with air and the Hindenburg had 16 gas cells with a total of two hundred thousand cubic meters of hydrogen but in nearly 70 years since the accident many experts have cast doubt on the idea that hydrogen was the fatal accelerant in the fire the Germans were aware of the dangers of hydrogen so they took every possible precaution all passenger cigarette lighters and matches are confiscated at the start of the voyage as a fire proportion and hydrogen can only ignite when mixed with air tripe chips his attention to some recent theories some experts claim that leaking diesel fuel caught fire first and only then hydrogen once the fire had spread five studies the Hindenburg blueprints there are 88 thousand litres of diesel stored in tanks at the bottom of the airship the fuel lines run from the tanks to the for exterior mounted engines could there have been a fuel leak in one of these lines looking back through the Hindenburg's flying history he comes across a statement made by an American observer Harold dick an engineer working for the u.s. airship company good cheer was invited by the Germans to attend the trial flights in 1936 on one of these he noticed the strong smell of diesel in the keel or bottom of the Asian Greg fight finds that on a later flight dick notes that the main fuel lines do not seem to be particularly tight this fuel leak theory now look subtracted to fight but he needs to know if there was a fuel leak what ignited it the most likely cause would be a short circuit and the electrical cables creating a spark but faith isn't convinced that a spark would ignite diesel he knows the diesel has a high flash point it must reach nearly 65 degrees Celsius before it'll catch fire if there were a diesel league it would have to be heated up to that point before a spark could ignite it try studies the airship plans to see if there is any point where diesel comes into contact with a heat source he finds just one the engine runs this is the hottest point the fuel passes through before feeding the 1,100 horsepower engines but there's a problem the engines are all externally mounted suspended below the airship if a fire had started here then I witnesses on the ground would have clearly seen instead they all report that the fire started at the top of the ship to have a fire ignite on the bottom of the airship propagate through the entire diameter of the airship and then exit out the top in a very short period of time without anyone noticing is very remote Greg fight rules out a diesel leak is the cause of the blaze that engulfed the Hindenburg now he turns to the other prominent theory for the blaze not something inside the ship but its outer skin the outer covering is a cotton linen material painted with a chemical known as joke that waterproofs the airship and protects the gas bags from the heat of the sun's rays the dope used on the Hindenburg was a new type of paint called cellulose acetate butyrate this dope is more pliable than previous text the paint theory states that somehow the skin of the ashen caught fire the Hindenburg burned fast the footage reveals that the fire swept through the entire airship in just 34 seconds would the dopes how to cover really be so flammable when you look at the fabric that was used to cover the Hindenburg it's a cotton linen material so on its own of course it's flammable but it was impregnated with this doping material and while it too has some flammable capability or characteristics to it can it burn that fast is the big question fight decides to conduct an experiment to test the paint theory he prepares a sample of the outer cover it's made from exactly the same type of linen cotton material the cloth is doped with a mixture of iron oxide powder an aluminium powder just like the skin of the Hindenburg if the material is the accelerant this experiment will prove it for safety the test is done outside if there's any wind it's likely to push the flame in one direction faster than the other so to compensate for this he uses to stopwatches to time the burn as soon as the flame reaches the edge of the inner circle he starts the clocks when the flames reach the outer edge he stops the clocks one minute for the wind assisted side and one minute and eight seconds for the flame to travel against the wind both much too slow the Hindenburg all 245 meters burns in 34 seconds at the burn rate fights tiny the Hindenburg would have taken 40 hours to be destroyed Greg fight concludes the outer skin cannot be the fatal accelerant so what did burn the Hindenburg was the original report right after all was it the hydrogen from the investigative standpoint you have to wonder what can burn that quickly and literally take an 800-foot tube and and destroy it in a matter of seconds five Commission's professor Nick siren a mechanical engineer with 30 years experience specializing in combustion rates to calculate if it was hydrogen that burned the Hindenburg the airship was 245 meters long professor siren knows from scientific study that hydrogen can burn at a rate of 9 meters per second and make calculations of the claim speed of hydrogen and it's perfectly consistent then within about 30 seconds or so that flame can engulf the whole of the Hindenburg there is nothing else on the airship which can burn that quickly and cause the Hindenburg to be destroyed in the same period of time Greg fight concludes that hydrogen is the fatal accelerant for the fire that tore through the Hindenburg consuming it in 34 seconds but the hydrogen would have had to escape to mix with air before it could become flammable trolling through the witness testimonies he finds something that could suggest a hydrogen leak eyewitnesses on the ground notice a fluttering at the top of the airship near the vertical fin just before the fire starts could they be seeing escaped hydrogen pushing against the outer envelope the original report concluded this may have been the case but fight wants to find out how the hydrogen could leak out he studies the composition of the gas cells they're made of a special plastic film sandwiched between two layers of thick cotton it would take considerable force to rupture these cells is there anything on the airship capable of causing such damage next fight focus is on the Hindenburg's bracing wires thousands of cables that are vital to the overall strength of the machine there are over 200 kilometres of wire bracing the airframe they're each about three millimeters thick made of steel similar to piano wire with a breaking stress of 450 kilograms is it possible for one of these wires to snap he checks the maintenance records and finds out the bracing wires have snapped on airships in the past five examines the Hindenburg's final journey to find out if anything could have put the airship under structural stress he first checks the weather conditions p.s had battled strong head winds all the way across the Atlantic but according to the flying logs it had flown through worst conditions in the past but examining the last moments of the flight Fife finds a critical clue shortly before the fire the Hindenburg makes its final approach then suddenly the wind changes direction and captain preuss orders the crew to make a sharp left turn finally Prust orders another sharp turn this time to the right to line up with the mooring mast but would these tight turns snap at racing wire faith checks the design plans and finds that the Hindenburg wasn't designed to make sharp turns as the airship turns it generates sideways pressure on the tail fin the Hindenburg is 245 meters long if it turns too sharply it could put too much stress on the airframe a bracing wire could snap under this kind of tension in a tight turn the greatest stress on the airship is just forward of the tail fin and fight knows from eyewitness reports that this is where the fire probably started if a wire did Steph the whiplash effect would be so violent it could slash through the gasbags protective covering and fight also realizes that the ash it may have been leaning to the rear as a result of hydrogen leaking from a cell they did have some support tension wires that had broken in the past and because that the captain was making very hard turns left and right it could have caused one of those tension straps to break sliced a hole in that gas bag to allow the hydrogen to leak out Greg fight concludes that a snaps bracing wire caused the fatal league of hydrogen but this doesn't explain what could have ignited the escaping hydrogen he studies the weather conditions at the time of the accident the report states there was light rain over the airfield a thunderstorm had recently passed by there was lightning still visible to the south of Lake coast although no one saw a lightning strike the ashen these conditions create a highly charged electrical atmosphere could this have some had caused the critical spark it was well understood at the time but as an airship passes through the air it gathers tens of thousands of volts of static electricity just like a party balloon being rubbed on a sweater the effect is increased in thundery conditions while it remains a lot the ship is in no danger since the entire machine the aluminium skeleton and the outer skin are all at the same level of charge but all that changes when one part of the ship touches the ground and faith can see from the film footage exactly how that happened in the final stages of landing the crew dropped the first mooring ropes the rain makes the roads wet and once they're wet the charge from the airships metal frame now rapidly flows through the ropes to the ground instantly the airframe voltage falls to zero but the airships outer cover is made of a linen cotton mixture that does not conduct electricity so easily and it remains at high voltage the perfect conditions for generating a spark between the skin and the frame Greg fight now knows how the spark that ignited the hydrogen was generated he can now unravel what happened before the Hindenburg in those final fateful seconds from disaster 14 minutes before the fire the Hindenburg begins its final approach static electricity builds up on the ship spread evenly throughout the structure 11 minutes to go without warning the wind changes direction instead of going around the airfield in a wide sweep captain Prust anxious the land the airship as soon as possible makes a sharp left turn stressed by this sudden maneuver somewhere near gasps cell for a bracing wire snaps the gas no ruptures and hydrogen begins to leak out eight minutes before the catastrophe captain proof notices that the ship is tail-heavy he orders the crew to dump water to balance the ship then crews orders another sharp turn this time to the right to line up with the mooring mast the ship is still tail-heavy captain proofs ordered six crew members to walk to the nose to try to counterbalance the sloping tail but Bruce is too concerned with landing to realize that the airship may be leaning as a result of hydrogen leaking form in its left the Hindenburg comes to a stop and the crew dropped the mooring ropes eyewitnesses on the ground notice a fluttering effect never tailfin they don't know it but what they're seeing is leaking hydrogen pouring out of the doomed of machine by 625 p.m. due to falling rain the ropes are now wet the electrical charge flows from the metal part of the airship to the ground the aircraft skin less conductive than the metal is still highly charged from a combination of the journey and the atmospheric conditions it's now at a dangerously high voltage seeking the quickest way to the ground a spark jump from the outer skin to the metal igniting the leaking hydrogen the fire roars through the airship there's 200,000 cubic meters of hydrogen in the 16 cells catch fire 34 seconds later the mighty Hindenburg is destroyed 36 people are killed but Greg fight still has one piece of the puzzle to solve how could the Hindenburg fire have been bright orange when hydrogen burns with an invisible flame Greg Fife is concluded that the Hindenburg was destroyed after a spark caused by the thunderstorm conditions in the atmosphere ignited leaking hydrogen but he still has one question he knows that hydrogen burns with an invisible flame and yet I witnesses stated that the Hindenburg burned with a bright orange glow how could hydrogen burn this way five sets up another experiment he sets light to a stream of hydrogen there's no visible flame but as soon as he places some cloth in the hydrogen flame the fire is visible hydrogen burns clear that's not what the folks saw when they were observing the actual fire the fire that they saw was the material that covering material that finally ignited and burned going through the papers Greg fight realizes the tragedy could have been averted he finds that the zeppelin company had strict regulations governing landing procedures in fact in their training crews were warned against landing in thunderstorm condition he learns that dr. Eckener the chairman of the company blames captain preuss and Ernst layman for the accident dr. Eckener felt very much that it was pilot earth when he learned of the landing conditions he was appalled and he was infuriated he unequivocally held that the landing never should have been carried out as it was under those conditions but Bruce is under pressure to land as fast as possible to try and make up time on the schedule he also has an Sleiman Zeppelin's director of operations in the control car with him he too is anxious to keep to the schedule instead of aborting the landing and waiting for better weather they try to land in dangerous atmospheric conditions Lehmann most definitely did influence preuss in his decisions regarding the flight which of course was increasingly held up by headwinds and then the delayed landing the Hindenburg disaster spells the end of the commercial airship age Germany grounds her other passenger airship the Graf Zeppelin until they can use the non flammable helium as a lifting gas but with Europe on the brink of war the United States the only country with helium supplies refuses to sell the gas the journey and when war does break out the Nazis cancel the airship program completely but valuable lessons are learned from the disaster hydrogen has never been used again to let passenger airships today all airships are filled with helium directly after the Hindenburg crash the zeppelin company designed a thunder car this machine located at their frankfurt airfield measures the electrical activity in the atmosphere it's a breakthrough in collecting accurate data on thunder storm conditions and today understanding of whether is at the forefront of all aviation safety nearly 70 years later there are just two known remaining survivors from the tragedy cabin boy Verna france is now 83 years old after the crash he trained as an engineer but the memories of that day stayed with him he switched and read it so it took quite some time to calm down again I did those impressions stayed with me for a long time Lana I did suffer from it for a long time that's a like to have been confronted with this con funghi advantage then add owner returned to Mexico with his family now aged 75 he lives in the United States although he lost his father and sister he believes the crash had a positive effect on him I wonder what my life would have been without it I was a spoiled brat it made me totally a bad person in what I would have been without it the Hindenburg is still the largest flying machine ever built today's air travelers may fly across the Atlantic in a few hours but the luxury and style the Hindenburg passengers experienced will probably never be surpassed