Was it sabotage or static shock that ignited the Hindenburg? Take the quiz!


On May 16, 1937, tragedy struck, and the airship known as the Hindenburg was consumed in flames just moments from a safe arrival in America. What do you know about the Hindenburg and the sudden fire that spelled its destruction?

start quiz

Question 1 of 20

How many stories tall was the Hindenburg?


... The airship was 12 stories tall and 800 feet (244 meters) long.


Question 2 of 20

Around the time of the Hindenburg, how often were dirigibles used for luxury transportation?

They were a fairly common form of luxury transportation.
They were extremely common.
They were rarely used.

... During the 1930s, dirigibles were a fairly common way for rich people to travel long distances.


Question 3 of 20

How long did it take to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a dirigible?

two days
four days
six days
more than a week

... Dirigibles could go from the U.S. to Europe in two days. They flew twice as fast as ocean liners, which needed about a week to make the crossing.


Question 4 of 20

In current dollars, about how much did it cost to be a passenger on the Hindenburg?


... Crossing the Atlantic on the Hindenburg during the 1930s cost about $400; that's equivalent to between $5,000 and $6,000 in current dollars.


Question 5 of 20

What was the ratio of staff to passengers on the Hindenburg?

about 20 to 1
about 10 to 1
about 5 to 1
about 1 to 1

... Part of the luxury of Hindenburg travel was the service; the number of crew members was almost equal to the number of passengers.


Question 6 of 20

What is the a major difference between a dirigible and a modern blimp?

A blimp has a partial keel.
Blimps do not move under their own power.
Dirigibles are rigid.
Only dirigibles can hover.

... Blimps are very similar to giant balloons, while a dirigible has a rigid aluminum frame to give it shape. The frame made possible the Hindenburg's many rooms used for leisure activities, dining and sleeping.


Question 7 of 20

What kind of gas was used inside the Hindenburg?


... Seven million cubic feet (198,217 cubic meters) of hydrogen gas was contained in 16 huge bags.


Question 8 of 20

At the time of the disaster, what was the travel history for the Hindenburg?

It was the ship's first voyage.
It was the ship's third trip.
It had completed many trans-Atlantic trips.

... Prior to the explosion, the Hindenburg had flown almost 200,000 miles (321,869 kilometers), carrying thousands of passengers. The Zeppelin company that owned the Hindenburg had a perfect mechanical track record for all its rigid airships.


Question 9 of 20

At the time of the disaster, the Hindenburg was about to land at a _________.

municipal airport
naval air station

... The Hindenburg was flying from Frankfurt, Germany to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey.


Question 10 of 20

In which part of the Hindenburg did the fire start?

along the bottom
at the front
in the middle
near the tail

... As the dirigible pulled up to its mooring tower and lowered its tethers for docking, a fire started in the rear of the airship.


Question 11 of 20

The disaster was captured __________.

in still photos
on film
on the radio
all of the above

... The Hindenburg tragedy was captured by a variety of media, including film, still photography and radio. The luxury dirigible was a popular subject, so much so that reporters from many media outlets were in New Jersey covering its arrival.


Question 12 of 20

Which famous phrase was uttered by a radio announcer who witnessed the disaster?

"Be calm. Carry on."
"I beg you to take courage."
"Oh, the humanity!"

... Radio announcer Herbert Morrison was describing the landing of the dirigible for his radio audience when tragedy struck, and he uttered the now-famous phrase, "Oh, the humanity!"


Question 13 of 20

How long was the Hindenburg on fire?

less than one minute
five minutes
15 minutes
half an hour

... Within 34 seconds, the fire had ravaged the entire airship.


Question 14 of 20

What fraction of the people on board the Hindenburg were killed?

about one-quarter
about one-third
about one-half
nearly all

... Of the 97 passengers and crew on board, about one-third were killed. Thirty-five passengers died, along with one member of the ground crew.


Question 15 of 20

Besides passengers, the Hindenburg also transported _______.

art collections
bank deposits

... To help defray the cost of running the dirigible, the Hindenburg was an airborne post office, regularly transporting mail between Europe and North America. Of the 17,609 pieces of mail on the dirigible that day, fewer than 400 were not destroyed.


Question 16 of 20

The dirigible's frame was constructed from __________, an alloy.


... The frame was made from the alloy duralumin, which is primarily comprised of aluminum and copper, with traces of magnesium, manganese, iron and silicon.


Question 17 of 20

What was initially suspected as the cause of the fire?

burning cigarettes
poor hydrogen circulation

... Although owned by a private company, the highly successful Hindenburg had been used for Nazi party propaganda. Some initially suspected that the dirigible was destroyed by anti-Hitler saboteurs.


Question 18 of 20

At the time of the crash investigation, the official conclusion was that the fire was caused by hydrogen mixing with ________.

carbon monoxide

... The Department of Commerce concluded that hydrogen and air had combined into a highly flammable mixture. A spark from static electricity may have primed the blaze.


Question 19 of 20

The Zeppelin Company used hydrogen in the Hindenburg because _________.

helium was too expensive
helium was unavailable at the time
it was not as flammable as other gases
it was the most buoyant gas available

... The Hindenburg was, in part, funded by Adolph Hitler's government. Not wanting to support the regime, the U.S. would not sell helium to the company, so hydrogen gas was substituted.


Question 20 of 20

What happened to the Zeppelin dirigibles after the Hindenburg tragedy?

They flew using helium.
They were redesigned.
They ceased flying.

... Because of the perceived danger of hydrogen, the Zeppelin ships stopped flying immediately and never took to the air again.


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