The Hindenburg (LZ-129) was a German zeppelin. Along with its sister ship the Graf Zeppelin II, it was the largest aircraft ever built. It was named after Paul von Hindenburg, the president of Germany from 1925 to 1934. During its second year of service, it was destroyed by a fire while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937.
The Hindenburg was built by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in 1931 to a new, all-duralumin design. It was a visually striking “ship of the air”, at 804 feet long and 135 feet in diameter. It was longer than three Boeing 747s placed end to end, longer than four Goodyear Blimps end to end, and only 79 feet shorter than the Titanic. It was originally equipped with cabins for 50 passengers and a crew complement of 40, though on the last flight there were an additional 21 crew members in training. To reduce drag, the passenger rooms were contained entirely within the hull, rather than in the gondola as on the Graf Zeppelin.
During its first year of commercial operation in 1936, the Hindenburg flew 308,323 km carrying 2,798 passengers and 160 tons of freight and mail. It made 17 round trips across the Atlantic Ocean, with ten trips to the US and seven to Brazil. In July of that year it also completed a record Atlantic double-crossing in 5 days, 19 hours and 51 minutes. The German boxer Max Schmeling returned home on the Hindenburg to a heros welcome in Frankfurt, after defeating Joe Louis. On August 1 the Hindenburg was present at the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Moments before the arrival of Adolf Hitler, the airship crossed over the Olympic stadium, trailing the Olympic flag from its gondola.