Eckener, Hugo

(1868-1954)
   airship pioneer; navigated the Graf Zep-pelin around the world. Born in Flensburg, he studied economics and took a doctorate in philosophy in 1892 before turning to freelance journalism. In the late 1890s he settled at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. Through accounts written for the Frankfurter Zeitung he became conversant with Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin's experiments at perfecting a navigable balloon. Fate brought him into contact with Zeppelin in 1906, and after forming a friendship, he forsook journalism in favor of balloon flight. Although he continued writing as an airship advocate, his primary vocation became that of test pilot. In 1909 he helped found the Deutschen Luftschiffahrts A.G. (German Airship Company, or Delag). By 1914, as Delag's chief pilot, he had either flown or supervised over two thousand flights; Germany's abundance of airship commanders in World War I was a corollary of Eckener's training. With the war's outbreak, he was enlisted as an instructor for pilots. After both Zeppelin's death in 1917 and Germany's defeat, he became, as guardian of the estate and Delag's pivotal personality, the leading advocate for development of navigable balloons. From this time until the May 1937 Hindenburg catastrophe his international fame grew. In 1924 he achieved the first transatlantic flight of a balloon. But his name is most closely tied to the later flights of the Graf Zeppelin, including a twenty-one-day circumnavi-gation of the world in 1929.
   Eckener matured into a world citizen with a truly multidimensional person-ality. Musically cultivated, well read, and an eloquent speaker, he traveled the world as Germany's distinguished representative. After the lost war he enhanced Germany's political position, especially vis-a-vis the United States. Before Hin-denburg* announced his candidacy in 1932, Eckener probed the possibility of a presidential race against Hitler.* Hindenburg's decision to run and his ultimate reelection make academic any speculation on Eckener's political prospects. After Hitler's seizure of power, Eckener remained with the Zeppelin Works, devoting his energies to passenger flight until 1937.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Eckener, My Zeppelins; NDB, vol. 4; Toland, Great Dirigibles.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Eckener, Hugo — ▪ German aeronautical engineer born Aug. 10, 1868, Flensburg, Prussia [now in Germany] died Aug. 14, 1954, Friedrichshafen, W.Ger.  German aeronautical engineer and commander of the first lighter than air aircraft to fly around the world.… …   Universalium

  • Hugo Eckener — Dr. Hugo Eckener (August 10, 1868 ndash;August 14, 1954)Schwensen] was the head of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in the inter war years, and was commander of the famous Graf Zeppelin on most of its record setting flights, including the first airship …   Wikipedia

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  • Eckener — Ẹckener,   Hugo, Luftfahrtpionier, * Flensburg 10. 8. 1868, ✝ Friedrichshafen 14. 8. 1954; trat 1908 in den Luftschiffbau Zeppelin ein, brachte 1924 den für die USA gebauten ZR III (LZ 126) nach Nordamerika (erste Atlantiküberquerung), unternahm …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Alexander Eckener — Alexander Eckeners Gedenktafel an dessen Geburtshaus Alexander „Alex“ Eckener (* 21. August 1870 in Flensburg; † 26. Mai 1944 in Aalen) war ein deutscher Maler und Grafiker. Leben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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