Monday, June 14, 2021

"Oh, the Humanity!" - CQ DX Editor at Center of New Hindenburg Documentary

The crash of the Hindenburg on May 6, 1937.
N2OO's uncle, Harold Schenck, shot film of
the disaster from a different angle.  (US
Information Agency photo, via National

One of the most famous air disasters in history was the May 6, 1937 crash of the Hindenburg airship as it prepared to land in Lakehurst, New Jersey. WLS (Chicago) radio reporter Herbert Morrison was on the scene recording the landing when the ship burst into flames and crashed to the ground, leading to his famous quote, "Oh, the humanity!"

The source of the spark that ignited the hydrogen gas that carried the Hindenburg had not been determined in the nearly 85 years that have passed since the disaster. Enter CQ DX Editor Bob Schenck, N2OO, and airship expert Dan Grossman, whom Bob met while operating a special event station , W2H/75, at a 75th anniversary observance in Lakehurst in 2012. It seems that back in 1937, Bob's mom and his uncle were at Lakehurst to watch the Hindenburg's arrival, and Uncle Harold was filming the landing. He was in a different spot than all the newsreel cameramen and had a different perspective on the airship as it approached. According to Bob, his uncle offered to share the film with investigators at the time, but no one was interested.

Skip ahead 75 years and Dan Grossman was very interested. Now, Bob, and Uncle Harold's film, are the centerpieces of a PBS "Nova" documentary, "Hindenburg; The New Evidence." The program aired on May 19 but is available online at <>. There's enough science and technology involved to keep most hams interested. And the secret word is: capacitor. (Tnx to N2OO and NL7XM)