Dr. Hugo Eckener was the manager of the Zeppelin Company (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in German), a zeppelin pilot and commander.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Eckener was born in Flensburg in 1868. He was the first child of Johann Christoph Eckener from Bremen and Anna Lange, daughter of a shoemaker. As a youth, he was judged an "indifferent student", and he spent summers sailing and winters ice skating. 

Nevertheless, by 1892 under Professor Wilhelm Wundt, Eckener had earned a doctorate "magna cum laude" in what today might be deemed experimental psychology. at the University of Leipzig.

Eckener then began his military service in the Infantry Regiment 86 in Flensburg.

Eckener's early career was as a journalist and editor; by August 1893 he was working for the Flensburger Nachrichten; in October 1897 he married Johanna, daughter of the publisher family Maaß. He later became a correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung in 1905 and 1906, whilst writing a book on the social effects of capitalism.

Pre-War Airship Activities[edit | edit source]

As part of the army, Eckener was tasked to oversee the first flights of the first experimental zeppelins, the LZ 1 and LZ 2, created by Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin. Eckener was critical of both airships' marginal performances but praised Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's dedication to his cause. Since several scientists had criticized the airship for being too unsafe, Zeppelin decided to converse with Eckener about his plans.

Zeppelin told Eckner he planned to make the airship a safe, comfortable, and reliable method of air travel. He would modify the designs over and over again until he got the best result. Eckner was enthralled by the conversation, which began to fuel his love for airship development, and he applied for a job at the Zeppelin company full time, which he was later hired.

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