Zeppelin LZ10 ‘Schwaben’, 1911: Early Zeppelins suffered a long series of accidents but, by great good fortune, without loss of life. The first operating difficulty experienced was lack of control. This was compounded by the airship’s vulnerability on the ground and by its lack of speed to cope with any wind stronger than a light breeze. LUCKY SCHWABEN, a three-engined airship used by DE LAG, the Zeppelin ‘joyriding’ associate company, was the first rigid to be flown intensively for a lengthy period (just over 12 months) without major mishap. Her achievement did much to establish confidence in airships.
Schutte-Lanz SL1, 1911: Unlike the Zeppelins, which were built of aluminium alloy, the Schutte-Lanz rigids (also German) were of wood. The first of these was SL 1, which employed a novel form of ‘cross-spiral’ construction. Later SL airships had wooden structures more like the Zeppelins. SL 1 suffered the usual operating difficulties of the early airships but escaped destruction for 20 months until wrecked in a forced landing. When the Zeppelin LZ 4 met with disaster at Echterdingen in 1908, Professor Johann SchÃ¼tte considered the problems of airship design. With the co-operation of his students he developed his own airship. In partnership with Dr Karl Lanz, started the SchÃ¼tte-Lanz Luftschiffbau. The ships were successful at first and introduced several highly successful innovations.