Profession: Inventor and Zeppelin Commander
Why Famous: Perfected the Zeppelin airship, invented by Ferdinand von Zeppelin during the inter-war years as manager of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin company.
Commander of the famous Graf Zeppelin for most of its record-setting flights, including the first airship flight around the world, Eckener was the most successful airship commander in history.
A vocal anti-Nazi whose planned arrest in 1933 was blocked only by President Paul von Hindenburg. Eckener was instead blacklisted by the Nazi regime and eventually sidelined from his own company. Thus he born no responsibility for the Hindenburg disaster on May 6th, 1937.
Under Eckener's management and focus on safety, the Zeppelin company had a perfect safety record with no passenger ever sustaining a serious injury on any of the more than 1 million air miles flown by the rigid airships.
- 1928-10-15 German dirigible "Graf Zeppelin" lands in Lakehurst, NJ
- 1928-11-01 Graf Zeppelin sets airship distance record of 6384 km
- 1929-08-08 German airship Graf Zeppelin begins a round-the-world flight
- 1929-08-25 Graf Zeppelin passes over San Francisco for Los Angeles after trans-Pacific voyage
- 1929-08-29 German airship Graf Zeppelin ends a round-the-world flight