KLM Zeppelin Z747-300
The Zeppelin model Z747 first flew in 1969 and is by now the most successful model of the company. Although from the outside the Z747 looks a lot like the earlier models and is even strikingly similar to the zeppelins from the 1930s, this is a very different machine from the earlier types.
The construction uses light weight carbon fibre materials and the outer covering is made from high strength acryl fibre sheets. This means that the total empty weight is less than one third of the LZ-129 Hindenburg airship from 1931.
The Z747 is powered by four Daimler Benz DB685 diesel engines producing 5200hp each. This gives the Z747 a range of over 25.000km enabling a non-stop flight from Europe to Australia at a cruising speed of 425km/h. A flight which takes 40 hours.
Like all of the modern airliners the Z747 class uses Helium gas to achieve buoyancy and the class has proven to be very reliable and safe. The Z747 was sold to many international airlines in various models. The Z747-300 which is depicted here can carry a total of 1.175 passengers in economy configuration making it the airliner with the largest capacity available today.
The Z747 was instrumental in the revival of the Zeppelin company which had fallen upon hard times in the 1950s. It was being overshadowed by the US and British zeppelin builders like Boeing, Goodyear and Vickers which offered bigger and more efficient craft. The Z747 restored the Zeppelin company as world leader in the manufacture of passenger airliners.
By 2001 a total of 1900 Z747s of all models had been sold. The Dutch Airline KLM operates a total of twenty-four Z747-300 airliners