1 January 2009, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Originally Posted by Sreiko
Big scale fake?
Not a "fake" it appears. It could be a model of a proposed airship, or, as rumors to the re-discovery of this mystery-ship unfold, a finished prototype brought forth by a commercial venture--then abandoned due to changing priorities of the German leadership, resulting in it being almost completely forgotten to time.
I'm still not convinced we're not viewing a scale model of the planned airship specified below)--certain details keep me wary--yet information of its actual "under construction" existence has been provided by 'Adam' at the airshipmodelers.com forum...
(registration is required so I'll include his post here in its entirety)
Could this be photographic evidence that an airship from the Speyer airship project actually took the skies in 1937? It’s certainly not every day that we get to see a photo of a supposedly lost airship floating amongst the clouds!
Some background information on the project can be found in “The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg,” by Goodyear-Zeppelin engineer Harold G. Dick. He was persuaded by Douglas Robinson to include a description of “The Speyer Airship Project” in Appendix D after Robinson informed him that it was “unknown to present-day airship historians.”
Dick relates that he first learned of the project in 1935 from a newspaper article in the local Friedrichshafen paper and ultimately had the opportunity visit the builders, Deutsch Luftfahrzeug Gesellschaft, on several occasions in 1936. DLG had been founded by a promoter named Otto Brinkmann and had set up shop in an old WWI aircraft factory in Speyer. DLG's goal was to build 10 airships “to be ferried to the United States and used for nighttime advertising flights.” For want of an official name, I’ll unofficially refer to the design as the “DLG-1.”
Andreas [Horn] is absolutely correct that the photo of this airhip flying in 1937 bears a striking design similarity to the Gross-Basenach M IV. That would probably be because Brinkmann’s Chief Designer was none other than Nikolaus Basenach himself! What’s more, Dick even comments on the DLG-1’s similarity to the M IV, noting that it “presented some features of Basenach’s M IV” but that bag resembled that of the Zeppelin Corporation's Bodensee.
The DLG-1’s specifications:
Volume: 741,510 cubic ft
Gondola: 125 ft
Length: 318.3 ft
Diameter: 71.2 ft
Engines: 3 Junkers L5 (365 HP)
The engines were to be connected to propellers on outriggers. Two cruciform girders would support the fins and would maintain their shape even when the bag was deflated.
The 1937 photo here presents an airship consistent with all these features. The long car appears to correspond with a length of approximately 125 feet, the propellers are arranged on outriggers and the fin arrangement is consistent with a cruciform support structure. To me, though, the most telling sign of all is the night advertising sign itself. The DLG-1’s “advertising display was to consist of three rows of seventeen letters each on each side of the bag, each letter being 7 ft 10 inches high and being made up of 131 light bulbs.” The sign display on the airship in this photo is plainly a three row display created by exactly 17 units.*
Dick mentions that at the time of his last visit to Speyer in December 1936 the ship's car was partially complete, with the engines and some instruments installed, and that the envelope was complete (having been manufactured separately in Augsburg). He also states that a lot of work had been done on the display signs. However, he found the company to be in a bad shape with the Nazis having put increasing restrictions on their operation, which Dick regarded as a scheme designed by Brinkmann to funnel blocked marks out of Germany.
He concludes with a statement that the company shut down shortly thereafter and that “the Speyer airship never flew.”
This remarkable photo from later in 1937 would say otherwise!
*The sign was removable to allow the ship to be used to carry up to 60 passengers for short haul flights.
Similar in utility and design to the DLG night sign, details on the 1940s Goodyear night sign apparatus can be found here: Tiny Blimps Carry Flying Electric Signs