The German Zeppelin of World War 1
The Count wished to continue experimenting, but he eventually dismantled the ship in 1901.
Zeppelin LZ 4 with its multiple stabilizers, 1908
Donations, the profits of a special lottery, some public funding, a mortgage of Count von Zeppelin’s wife’s estate, and a 100,000 mark contribution by Count von Zeppelin himself allowed the construction of LZ 2, which made only a single flight on 17 January 1906.
After both engines failed it made a forced landing in the Allgäu mountains, where a storm subsequently damaged the anchored ship beyond repair.
Incorporating all the usable parts of LZ 2, its successor LZ 3 became the first truly successful Zeppelin.
This renewed the interest of the German military, but a condition of purchase of an airship was a 24-hour endurance trial.
This was beyond the capabilities of LZ 3, leading Zeppelin to construct his fourth design, the LZ 4, first flown on 20 June 1908.
On 1 July it was flown over Switzerland to Zürich and then back to Lake Constance, covering 386 km (240 mi) and reaching an altitude of 795 m (2,600 ft).
An attempt to complete the 24-hour trial flight ended when LZ 4 had to make a landing at Echterdingen near Stuttgart because of mechanical problems.
During the stop, a storm tore the airship away from its moorings on the afternoon of 5 August 1908. It crashed into a tree, caught fire, and quickly burnt out. No one was seriously injured.
This accident would have finished Zeppelin’s experiments, but his flights had generated huge public interest and a sense of national pride regarding his work, and spontaneous donations from the public began pouring in, eventually totaling over six million marks.
This enabled the Count to found the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH (Airship Construction Zeppelin Ltd.) and the Zeppelin Foundation.