Ferdinand von Zeppelin
- Category : Engineer-Aerospace
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 2
Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf (Count) von Zeppelin (July 8, 1838 – March 8, 1917) was a German aircraft manufacturer, the founder of the Zeppelin airship company. He was born in Konstanz, Grand Duchy of Baden (now part of Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg, Germany).
Ferdinand von Zeppelin was first seen in the balloon camp of Prof. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe during the Peninsular Campaign of the American Civil War. The balloons were placed off limits to civilian riders and Lowe was not to entertain the curious von Zeppelin. He sent him to another balloon camp where the German aeronaut John Steiner could be of more help to the young man. In 1869 von Zeppelin returned to America to meet and learn from the experienced Prof. Lowe to gain all the knowledge he could in ballooning.
From the 1880s onward, Zeppelin was preoccupied with the idea of guidable balloons. In 1899, he started constructing his first guidable rigid airship (based on an earlier design by David Schwarz) which he used for three ascents over the Bodensee. The flights became more and more successful, igniting a public euphoria which allowed the Count to pursue the development of his vehicle. In fact, the second version of his airship was entirely financed through donations and a lottery. The final financial breakthrough only came, ironically, after the Zeppelin LZ4 crashed in 1908 at Echterdingen. The crash sparked public interest in the development of the airships. A subsequent collection campaign raised over 6 million German marks and the money was used to create the 'Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin GmbH' and a Zeppelin foundation.
The same year the military administration bought the LZ3 and put it to use as the renamed Z1. Starting in 1909, zeppelins also were used in civilian aviation. Up until 1914 the German Aviation Association (Deutsche Luftschifffahrtsgesellschaft or DELAG) transported nearly 35,000 people on over 1500 flights without an incident.
Count Zeppelin died 1917, before the end of World War I. He therefore did not witness either the provisional shutdown of the Zeppelin project due to the Treaty of Versailles or the second resurgence of the zeppelins under his successor Hugo Eckener.
Unfinished WWII German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin and airships LZ 127 and LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin were named after him. The British rock group Led Zeppelin's name derives from his airship as well.