A New Mountain Every Weekend
While employed with the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company in Germany,
he made it a personal mission to climb a new peak every weekend.
Who was Harold G. Dick?
As mentioned on the “About” page, when the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company teamed up with the German Zeppelin Company to form the joint venture “Goodyear-Zeppelin Company” in 1923, they traded engineering staff as part of their information sharing agreement.
The German Zeppelin Company sent 12 engineers led by Dr Karl Arnstein to the US, while the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company sent a team of 5 engineers to Germany.
Harold G. Dick was one of those engineers.
With a Mechanical Engineering degree from the prestigious MIT, and several years of experience already under his belt, Hal Dick, as he was known, set off to Germany in 1928 to study the German Zeppelin design.
His assignment was to document the German airship program and share that information with the engineering staff in America.
Harold was not only methodical in this endeavor, but very detailed. He kept copies of all of his correspondence which included drawings, images, technical documents, flight records and letters.
He flew on nearly every flight of the Graf Zeppelin (LZ-128) and the Hindenburg (LZ-129) and became personal friends with Dr. Hugo Eckener and his son Knut who were leading executives in the German Zeppelin Company.
In all, he spent 5 years in Germany and would later write that it was the most exciting time of his life.
Unfortunately, like the airship program he was studying, it came to an end when the Nazi party took over Germany and declared war on the world.
Once back in the US, Harold continued his work as a mechanical engineer.
It’s important to note that during this time in history, fixed-wing aircraft were still in development and aeronautical engineers were nonexistent. So in the early days, it was the mechanical engineer who led the development of the aircraft industry.
Life in Wichita, KS
Hal eventually moved to Kansas where he lived out the rest of his life working in the family business.
During this period of his life, he gave over 100 lectures on the great airships and the rise of Nazi Germany, and wrote a book about his experiences titled, “The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships”.
After his death in 1997, Hal’s family donated all of his work on the great airships, which included notes, drawings, pictures, reports and correspondence, to Wichita State University (WSU) where it can be reviewed today.
Hal's Contribution to our Project
In 2016 while performing research for the project, I discovered Hal’s work at WSU. Having already read his book, “The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships”, I was hungry for more knowledge about the technology.
Eventually in 2017, I traveled to Wichita where I met the awesome staff working in the Special Collections department at the WSU Library. With the help of Mary and her students, I spent over 3 months methodically reading, viewing and studying over 3,500 documents, drawings, reports, correspondence and black-and-white films that were part of the HG Dick collection.
Monday through Thursday I studied the information, as Special Collections was closed to the public on Fridays, and Friday through Sunday I would compile my notes on what I had learned.
When I finally returned to Nevada, I spent an additional 3 to 4 months reviewing and cataloging what I had learned and laying the foundation for this project.
As an IT professional with many years of experience in the field and having operated my own IT business supporting over 150 business clients, I learned from experience the importance of good documentation. Ironically, documentation is the bane of every IT professional. It’s boring and tedious, but will absolutely save your ass when things go wrong.
As I write this text for the Harold G. Dick page of our website, it’s now 2021 and we are working on our first crowdfunding campaign. Five years of hard work have passed and each day we move closer to realizing our goal.
Lighter-than-Air technology will one day revolutionize transportation as we know it today and prove to be a technology that was ahead of its time.