Seventy-five years ago today, a little after 7:00 p.m., eastern time, the luxury airliner, Hindenburg, exploded and burned while docking at Lakehurst, NJ. This was the first trip of its second season of fast Transatlantic travel, and the first aircraft to offer Transatlantic passenger service by air. The Hindenburg had spent some of the winter months offering fast air travel to South America. I've read just about everything I could regarding the Hindenburg accident, and as best as I can surmise, the most likely cause of the tragedy resulted from a series of unfortunate decisions made by the ship's captain, Max Pruss, while landing in post thunderstorm skies in a light rain. These decisions included: - A full-speed hard-turn on the final approach to the field, which may have snapped a bracing wire, which slashed a gas cell (several crew reported cell number 3, near the tail, had looked deflated before the crash). The ship's forward progress was then halted by throwing the engines aggressively into reverse—something announcer Herb Morrison commented on at the time. Airships were traditionally not handled with such panache. - The valving of hydrogen gas during the ship's slow, final approach to the mooring mast. The slow speed would not facilitate the rapid and complete venting of hydrogen gas from the ship's gas shafts—one located atop the hull, just ahead of the rear vertical stabilizer (fin). - The "high landing", which was a new approach for landing the Zeppelin using far fewer ground personnel. The high landing approach involved winching the ship down to the mast from a higher altitude via the sturdy nose cable. The problem is, in air highly charged with electricity this approach did not give the ship adequate time to equalize its charge with the ground, which invited increased static electricity along the hull. - By themselves, these decisions might not have appeared to be significant risks, but combined, they invited disaster. Witnesses stated that the fire broke out atop the hull, just ahead of the upper tail fin, and one crewman reported hearing a “pop”, looking up, and seeing a bright glow within a gas cell adjacent to a gas ventilation shaft, just ahead of the upper vertical stabilizer. At least one witness, a professor from Princeton, reported seeing Saint Elmo’s Fire (a static electric display) playing atop the hull, just ahead of the upper tail fin (where the fire started). I did read the NASA engineer, Addison Bain’s report in the late 90’s, asserting that the doping compound used on the Hindenburg's outer cover ignited violently when subjected to an electrical charge, and that that was the cause of the disaster. While this is clearly plausible, and while that feature certainly would have accelerated the blaze, there is no proof that it caused the accident, since the Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin had been exposed to static charges before without incident. Bain’s further assertion that the hydrogen lifting gas used did not cause the fire, and that the ship would have caught fire and burned anyway (at least one US Navy blimp caught fire and burned this way) does not address the spectacular violence of what was clearly a hydrogen-fed inferno. Everybody knows that the Hindenburg exploded, and that thirty-five people died. But I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the ship for the awesome sight it was before the disaster, and this link offers some great footage to pick from: http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/vi...4bf76d55a35a054-223629607661?q=The Hindenburg Just look at the size of that thing! That they actually built and flew something like this still takes my breath away! I just happened to think of this an hour ago, as Judy and I watched a light rain falling here, a little after 7:00 p.m., on May 6th. At any rate, we remember. --Ray P.S. If I could time travel, I'd still want to fly in this thing!