By C J Norman
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V. It was a cylinder, sharp at both ends, 109 feet long and driven by a 12-horse-power motor. A new feature was the use of piano wire for the support of the car, thus greatly reducing the resistance of the air which in the case of the old cord suspensions was almost as great as that of the balloon itself. Another novel feature was water ballast tanks forward and aft on the balloon itself and holding together twelve gallons. By pulling steel wires in the car the aviator could open the stop-cocks.
Enthusiasm ran high all over the land. Begging was no longer necessary. The Emperor, who had heretofore expressed rather guarded approval of the enterprise, now flung himself into it with that enthusiasm for which he is notable. " With such august patronage the Count became the rage. Next to the Kaiser's the face best known to the people of Germany, through pictures and statues, was that of the inventor of the Zeppelin. The pleasing (p. 073) practice of showing affection for a public man by driving nails into his wooden effigy had not then been invented by the poetic Teutons, else von Zeppelin would have outdone von Hindenburg in weight of metal.
The balloon began to collapse in the middle. Cords subjected to unusual stress began to snap. The air pump, which should have pumped the ballonet full of air to keep the balloon rigid failed to work. Seeing that he was about to fall into a field in which his drag rope was already trailing the imperilled airman had a happy thought. Some boys were there flying kites. He shouted to them to seize his rope and run against the wind. The balloon responded to the new force like a kite. The rapidity of its fall was checked, and its pilot landed with only a serious shaking.