Nation of Beancounters

Did government regulation cause the Hindenburg incident?

Posted in Uncategorized by Navin Kumar on May 12, 2012

That’s my takeaway from a throwaway paragraph here. I wouldn’t be astonished if you disagreed:

The Zeppelin company originally preferred the cheaper and more readily obtainable hydrogen, but after 48 of 56 passengers on a British airship were killed in a storm in 1930, Zeppelin’s engineers planned the new design for the safer, nonflammable helium. Unfortunately for Zeppelin, Congress had passed a law in 1927 banning the export of helium because it was a strategic gas with military aviation potential. There was thus no alternative to hydrogen, despite its risks. (Interestingly, the United States lifted the ban on helium after the Hindenburg disaster, although it was reinstated in 1938 after Nazi Germany annexed Austria.)

File under “unintended consequences”.

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