Discovery Channel: “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” – Sunday, Dec 16 at 9PM features airship historian Dan Grossman
Preview of the documentary…
Tonight’s excellent “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” documentary on the Discovery Channel features airship historian Dan Grossman.
Read Dan’s blog from his excellent website:
The new Discovery Channel documentary “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” airs Sunday, December 16, at 9 PM E/P. Anyone who follows this blog will be sure to find it fascinating.
I was pleased to participate in this project as technical advisor and on-air historian. I won’t give away the specific technical conclusion, but the show does a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating how a spark was likely generated by a combination of atmospheric conditions and the inherent properties of the ship’s structure, and how that spark created the fire pattern that we have all seen on film.
In order to explore various theories about how the fire began and spread we built three models of the airship at 1/10-scale, inflated them with 200 cubic meters of hydrogen, and ignited them in various ways. The models were designed to replicate the ship’s major features; a framework of rings and girders with individual gas cells, ventilation shafts, and an open area around the keel.
The models were designed for function rather than appearance; they were not especially pretty, but the important structural elements were realistic.
The airship Hindenburg passing over the Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary.