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World War II

A new book about the aviation adventure
"Airship go!"

Notes from the boardengineer 

Conrad Müller

from Rudolf Kaefer and Heinz Urban.

The owner of the Zeppelin Museum in Meersburg, Heinz Urban, owns the world's largest personal archive with numerous text and pictures, which have not been published yet. Below are notes of the former boardengineer Conrad Müller, who started his professional career as an engine constructor and was enlisted 1909 because of his enthusiasm for the aviation of prussian airship battalions. He did not know which adventures and dangers awaited him. Graf Zeppelin himself, about whom exist many interesting facts, and his chief constructor Ludwig Dürr instructed Müller in the technical command of the airship LZ 3. Conrad Müller was stationed in Metz first and later in Cologne. There he learned about the half stiff airship of major Gross and the unstiff airship of major Parseval. A conflict with a captain induced him to leave the military and change to the "Deutsche Luftschifffahrt AG" (DELAG), a company which belonged to the "Luftschiffbau Zeppelin". ( Airship building company Zeppelin) From his workplace Baden-Baden he was enticed from professor Johann Schütte, who began the construction of a Schütte-Lanz-Airship with a wooden skeleton in Mannheim. Schütte disappointed Conrad Müller so he took the job as a chief constructor at the "Luftschiffwert GmbH" in Munich, which constructed the Veeh-Airship with a steel skeleton. No other airship technician was able to collect so much different experience.

Conrad Müller did not want to work with airships any longer after a lot of accidents, breakdowns, and the fire of navy airship LZ 18 killed a lot of his companions. He then saw the airships as flying crematoriums. He changed back to the engine construction, worked for different companys and was one of the founders of "Bayrische Motorenwerke" (BMW). In the meantime the airplane construction made enormous progress; therefore he manufactured air engines for the military with his former colleague Rapp. After a quarrel he resigned and was transferred to the westfront as leader of the plane pool, which assembled and repaired the engines. At the end of the war he lived in Munich.

Zeppelin chief Dr. Hugo Eckener successfully transported a repair airship to New York in 1924, which excited the whole world. The Bavarian post master general then had the idea to create an air mail service with a Zeppelin airship. He wanted Conrad Müller. Müller declined the offer because he saw in the airships only a dream of the past, but in airplanes the future.

The book shows on the one hand the indescribable jubilation on appearance of the air ships and on the other hand the unbelievable exertions, privations and dangers which the pioneers of the air ship epoch had to bear. Lots of them lost their assets, their health, or their life.
The text was composed by Rudolf Kaefer who wrote essays about Graf Zeppelin and published scripts about Hugo Eckener and Alfred Colsman. The text is illustrated with many pictures which Heinz Urban took out of his enormous pool. The pictures were freed from spots, discoloration and damage with modern digital technique, which gives a special optical shine to the book. The title "Luftschiff marsch!" (Airship go!) was taken from the military command language. Another easy title could have been "The Adventure of Aviation".