The airship Hindenburg left Frankfurt airfield on her last flight at 7:16pm, May 3, 1937, carrying 97 passengers and crew. Crossing over Cologne, Beachy Head and Newfoundland, the largest dirigible ever constructed arrived over Boston at noon on May 6. By 3:00pm she was over the skyscrapers of Manhattan, headed for the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Foul weather caused a half-day’s delay but the landing was eventually cleared, the final S turn approach executed toward the landing tower, at 7:21pm. Within moments, the ship arrived at the mooring mast. She was 180-feet above the ground with forward landing ropes deployed when the first flames appeared near the top tail fin.
Eyewitness accounts differ as to where the fire, came from. The leading theory is that, with the metal frameworkgrounded through the landing line, the ship’s fabric covering became charged in the electrically charged atmosphere, sending a spark…
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