By C J Norman
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This calamity was not permitted long to stand alone. Indeed one of the most curious facts about the Zeppelin record is the regular, periodical recurrence of fatal accidents at almost equal intervals and apparently wholly unaffected by the growing perfection of the airships. While L-I was making her successful cross-country flights, L-II was reaching completion at Friedrichshaven. She was shorter but bulkier than her (p. 077) immediate predecessor and carried engines giving her nine hundred horse power, or four hundred more than L-I.
It is wholly German, in conception and development, and it is reported that the Kaiser, secretly disgusted that the Zeppelins, to the advancement of which he had given such powerful aid, should have recorded so many disasters, quietly transferred his interest to the new and simpler model. Despite the hope of a more efficient craft, however, both the Gross and the Parseval failed in their first official trials, though later they made good. The latter ship was absolutely without any wooden or metallic structure to give her rigidity.
Men were busy in the cars, fore and aft. The mooring ropes were cast off as the vessel gained an offing, and ballast being thrown out she began to rise slowly. The propellers began to whir, and the great craft swung around breasting the breeze and moved slowly up the lake. The crowd cheered. Count von Zeppelin, tense with excitement, alert for every sign of weakness watched his monster creation with mingled pride and apprehension. Two points were set at rest in the first two minutes—the lifting power was great enough to carry the heaviest load ever imposed upon a balloon and the motive power was sufficient to propel her against an ordinary breeze.