Along with some background information, I’ve embedded a video that includes all of the original footage and audio commentary including the famous words by Herbert Morrison, “Oh the Humanity”.
The airship was constructed as the LZ129. March, 1936 it was christened the Hindenburg (After the German President who appointed Hitler as chancellor). The Hindenburg was initially designed to carry Helium, the safe gas, but was filled with Hydrogen instead. The Hindenburg measured 804 feet (245m) in length and carried 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen gas (198,219m3). It only catered for 50 passengers. It was (and still is) the largest flying object ever built.
The airship began its maiden flight on March 31st 1936, to Rio de Janeiro. It began its first flight to America on May the 6th 1936 after considerable engine overhauls, they had failed badly due to design fault. It was the first ever scheduled air service between Europe and the US. Over the period of a year it carried 1600 passengers on the Atlantic route, traveling a total distance of 200,000 miles (321,860km), without ‘major’ mishap (Not counting two near-collisions).
1937 — The Atlantic crossing was boring and uneventful (and slow due to a headwind). May 6th – It finally arrived 10 hours late at Lakehurst, New Jersey. A sudden thunderstorm opened up, and winds picked up, and the landing was aborted. At 7:00pm, the Hindenburg arrived back to land. For 20 minutes it maneuvered towards the mooring mast, then the engines were shut down. Then a single spark ignited the Hydrogen, and the airship exploded into flames. It was over in 34 seconds.