an airship is a guidable aircraft of the category lighter as air, which has its own drive. The main operational area nowadays are round flights, Luftwerbung, tasks of monitoring and isolated also research tasks.

In 19. Century and particularly in the first third20. Century had airships a by far greater importance. They are the pioneers of air traffic, were means of transport of the first airline and also the first aircraft, which carried passengers in the airline service without intermediate stop over the Atlantic. In the First World War were they long-distance reconnaissance aircraft and the only aircraft, which could carry a larger bomb load, later protected it convoys against hostile submarines and supervised the air space. The large airships of this time came however also again and again by Unglücke into the headlines.

The airship suppl. sootreads similarly as in reverse in the mining industry, but: „Luck off! “

A Zeppelin NT completely without advertisement

table of contents



of airships consists of usually an aerodynamically formed float, which contains the Traggas. At it one or more cars are fastened depending upon design. In it, with some large airships also within the float, is place for the crew, Passengers, freight and the aggregates. Engines ensure for a Vortriebskraft, with tail units are steered.

The Traggas lends its static lift to airships, since it exhibits a smaller density than air. Airships „swim “, similarly as sea-going vessels upthe water, in air. Therefore progressive movement is called of lighter when air devices as „driving “and not flies. As Traggas today helium is used. In former times, particularly up to the end of the 1940er years, predominantly hydrogen came and/or. Illuminating gas to application.

Their large volume lends however a high air resistance to them. Die Höchstgeschwindigkeiten sind daher auf rund 100 bis 150 km/h begrenzt. Since the Traggas with increasing height continues to expand still, the maximum flight altitude amounts to normally only about 2,000 ‒ 3,000 meters.The unmanned elevator platforms designed particularly for higher air layers, those form an exception to be developed at present and the war airships in the First World War, which could rise more highly than most at that time available airplanes.


with airships leavethree fundamental building methods differ:

  • Percussion airships, the most frequent design, also Blimp mentioned, receive their form by a positive pressure in the covering. Car and tail unit are fastened directly to the covering. Among this category rank also hot-air airships, their Traggasas is the case for hot-air balloons warm air is.
  • semirigid airships possess an additional carrying structure, at which covering, car and tail unit are attached.
  • Rigid airships, have a firm structure, by an internal stand, which gives the form of the hull. All components are onthis stand fastens. The most well-known representatives are the Zeppeline.

The term hybrid airship is used for aircraft, which combine the lighter when ventilation engineering with the heavy when ventilation engineering. Strictly speaking this applies to all airships, however this term is used frequently for aircraft,those the dynamic lift has a large portion of the Gesamtauftrieb. Earlier projects for „adequate “hybrid airships never came beyond the prototype stage and were coined/shaped from usually only modest success or failure. Up-to-date rose to 31. January 2006 under more militarySupervision the Lockheed - model P-791 for the first time up.

In Germany airships form air law their own aircraft class, hot-air airships are however considered as balloon with auxiliary drive.


as drive mainly gasoline aircraft engines with propellers is used . There were attempts To use blue gas or the hydrogen carrying gas as fuel. Some ships possessed also diesel engines, at present (conditions 2005) ordered over it however only the ATG AT-10. Diesel engines have a comparatively high efficiency and the fuel have a higher power density than Gasoline. The only airship with gas turbine drive (turbo-prop.) was mirror-image-guessed/advised the Goodyear GZ-22 „to OF Akron “(1987-1999).

Electric drives were at all used into the 1880er years, with some the first airships, when still no achievementable combustion engines were available. Todaywin they with unmanned elevator platform projects or solar airships meaning. Hauptproblem is however still the bad weight per horsepower relationship of the energy stores.

Apart from the static lift airships can use also dynamic lift by their drive. By employing the airship body oppositethe horizontals can they with their covering similarly as an airplane with its bearing areas a lift produce. This effect is for example used, if the airship becomes heavier while driving by rain water, which falls on the covering. Also withStart, if the airship carries still much fuel, is sometimes used this effect, as the airship with something starts „approach “similarly as an airplane.

Most modern airships have tiltable propellers. They simplify a maneuvering and permit itthe ship to ascend also from the conditions if they are somewhat heavier than air to land and if they are easier than air. In addition the pilot presses the airship with the engine strength on the soil, where it usually immediately alsosomething ballast and put to the anchor mast is weighted. In this way no expensive helium needs to be discharged.


Zeppelin NT in the flight
airship as tourist attraction over the city Luzern

of airships draw opposite other aircraft throughtheir ability out to reach calmly and vibration-poor with relatively small fuel consumption a very long length of application. They can stay for hours over an area and throttle if necessary the speed also to nearly to the stop.

From these characteristics the following lead themselvesMain operational areas off:

  • Luftwerbung: With their enormous lift bodies airships are an indeterminable eyecatcher in the sky. To use already 1906 tries this potential, by at night projecting pictures on the lower surface of the Parseval PL 6 with a projector, became laterthe coverings with large leaflet courses arranges. Today many airships carry a surface from Leuchtelementen, with which they draw diagrams and text to the sky or pictures even moved can project from the inside against the transparent covering. Most airships are coloured for an advertising customer arranged, or depending upon cause with different motives are pasted. Inquiries have devoted that airships very high recognizing value to possess and with a positive image are occupied, which is passed also to the applied marks.
  • Round flight: As pioneers of aviation airships already offered as first motorized aircraft since beginning 20. Century the attraction of a round travel. Their calm flight permits also the view of the height on earth to Nichtfliegern. Their small speed and smallFlight altitude makes it a good means for round flights. With many airships also the windows can be opened.
  • Monitoring (e.g. Large events, traffic, military, relay station)
  • research tasks, geology, mine search.


already approximately in the year 1670 had the Portuguese Jesuitenpater Francesco Lana di Terzi the idea for the construction one „airship “. It wanted to hang a boat up at vacuous pumped balls. The idea was never realized.

From the year 1785 an airship draft already originates from Jean Baptiste Meusnier, that all elementsas float contained also under it of hung up oblong car, control fin and three muscle power-claimant propellers for the drive. It was not built however.

The first real airship, „the Giffard I “, led its young remote travel to 24. September 1852, approximately fifty years beforethe first powered flight of a fixed-wing aircraft through. By Henri Giffard and by 2.2 KW ( 3 HP) had been built a strong steam engine, which weighed only 45 kilograms, were propelled. The travel led from Paris to Trappes across a distanceof 27 kilometers. The speed amounted to about 9 km/h and the flight altitude up to 1800 meters. The long balloon, into which Giffard had built its steam engine, was 44 m long and had a volume of 2.500 cubic meters. Car and engine hungat a bar under the balloon. One steered with a triangular sail.1857 wanted to accomplish Giffard a second travel, its vehicle was however destroyed.

Fifteen years later, 1872, German engineer Paul Haenlein with one reached over 50m are enough for airship a speed of 18 km/h. It was propelled by a Lenoir gas engine.

Electrical airship by Albert and Gaston Tissandier with the departure in Auteuil, Paris (8. October 1883)

Further 12 years later, 1884, built thoseCaptains of the French air boat operator school Charles Renard and Arthur C. And several travels accomplished cancer an electrical airship with Akkubetrieb. To 9. August of this yearly succeeded it to them for the first time to return with an airship to the start to the starting point. ThatAirship „La France “possessed an electric motor with an output of 6,25 KW (8.5 HP) as drive. It was 50.42 m long and had a volume of 1864 m ³. The travel took 23 minutes. They put thereby a distance of 7,6Kilometers at a value of up to 300 meters back. Later Renard and cancer accomplished still further travels. They reached a maximum speed of 6,2 m/s (22.32 km/h correspond).

The Russian space travel pioneer Konstantin Eduardowitsch Tsiolkovskiy arranged his considerations 1885beside other one also on complete metal airships. One year later it already published its study „Theoria Aerostatika “, which followed 1892 „the aero act Metallitscheski “(theory of a complete metal airship). Up to its death 1935 it published 35 books, articles and writings to the airship topic.

InGermany designed meanwhile the Leipziger bookseller Dr.Friedrich Hermann wolf ore a guidance balloon. It should be steered with muscle power, which did not prove however as practicably. By God-dear Daimler the vehicle became instead with a combustion engine, so„Standuhr mentioned “, equipped with 1,5 KW (2 HP). To 10. August 1888 started Michael, the companion of many years of Dr. Wolf ore, of Daimlers attempt workshop on the Seelberg in CAN place to a travel after Aldingen. Wolf ore got latera demonstrating travel for the Prussian air boat operator department around the life, as its airship „GERMANY “to 12. June 1897 in Berlin Tempelhof from 600 meters height fell.

The first rigid airship was developed 1895/ 1896 by David black in Berlin. It consisted of oneAluminum stand and was also beplankt with aluminum plate, at that time only since short time a new material the available. He still deceased before the first test travel. Those found at the 3. November 1897 on the Tempelhofer field in Berlin instead of. The vehiclewith the landing irreparably one damaged and one scrapped afterwards. The württembergische Kavallerieoffizier Ferdinand of Zeppelin was at that time eye-witness, bought up the patents and drafts and could 1898 a draft for a “guidable air driving course”, Zeppelin be patented.

beginning20. Century


around the turn of 19. to 20. Century built the native Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont in France a whole set of percussion airships. 1894 it used the petrol engine of its tricycle for an airship. Four yearslater, he built 14 airships for 1898 in relatively short time altogether. With sixth it circled to 19. October 1901 for the first time the Eiffelturm in Paris. It had 12 a HP engine. With one altogether well 11 kilometers is enoughFlight of pc. Cloud with Paris to the Eiffelturm and back in no more than 30 minutes he won also the German price endowed with 100 ,000 francs.
1903 ascended the ship of the Lebaudy - brothers in France for the first time. It possessedit possessed a 35-PS-Daimler-Mercedes-Motor, which propelled two propellers. During mehren travels, among them with 2 h and 46 min, was continued to improve the ship. Also in the following years these activities continued, whereby the ship several times after crash landingsin trees again one developed.

German Reich

the most well-known personality in the airship travel was and is the German airship pioneer Ferdinand count von Zeppelin. Zeppelins first airship LZ 1 rose to 2. July 1900 at the Bodensee tooits young remote travel up. The crash of the Zeppelins LZ 4 with genuine things to 5. August 1908 led to the largest freiwilligen donation action in the Empire of, the “Zeppelinspende of the German people ". Zeppelin established also the material aluminum in aviation.
During the designationthe Zeppelin airships traditionally the male sex was used. It was called „the LZ 127 “, „the count Zeppelin “and/or. „the Hindenburg “. After the end of the German airship travel, and/or. , this phraseology went to their disappearing from the public interest after the Second World War howeverpartly lost.
Also August von Parseval was high-popular airship pioneer in Germany after the turn of the century. Under the designation Parseval was still over-radiated developed between 1909 and 1919 of altogether 22 airships, whose admittingness was very high, however of the Zeppelinbegeisterung. Some of itabroad were sold.
The history of the aviation fairs in Germany began with the international air shipping exhibition of 10. July to 17. October 1909 in Frankfurt/Main. There also the Cologne balloon manufacturer Franz Clouth led its beside Zeppelin, Parseval and Ruthenbergsmall percussion airship forwards, which could carry also four passengers beside attendant and Maschinistem. The maiden flight of the Clouth I took place already 1908 over Nippes. To 21. June 1910 drove it also over 200 km to Brussels for international industrial show. Itapproximately 2000 km put back during over 40 travels.
Furthermore the airship undertook „Erbslöh “starting from 1909 approximately around Leichlingen (North-Rhine/Westphalia) several travels, before it to 13. July 1910 fell. From the airship hangar in Biesdorf/Berlin out startedto 23. January 1911 the Siemens Schuckert airship (SSL1) to its first test run.

Great Britain

the first English airship was „the Mellin's Food Airship “from Stanley Spencer. The first flight took place 1902 over London. Stanleys „No.2 “madeits young remote travel in September 1903 over the Londoner crystal palace.


, 1907 and 1909 start the USA walter Wellman (1858-1934) from the USA for the first time with a guidable airship direction north pole. All three attempts failed however. To 15.October 1910 it tries to cross America “the Atlantic with the airship „. Also this attempt fails to 1,600 km far away from the coast in the ocean. On this occasion it added a radiogram of an aircraft however for the first time with its emergency calla sea-vehicle off. This saying read: „And gets the condemned cat comes! “ With it a cat was meant, which as a blind passenger had on board smuggled itself.

the First World War

LZ 113 wurde nicht mehr im Krieg eingesetzt
LZ 113 was not used no more in the war

large ones the outbreak of the world war caused technical progress 1914. However only Germany used military airships for the air war over country and lake during wartime to larger extent. All other nations used their air cruisers mainly at the navy. During of theWar were used altogether approximately 300 nichtstarrre and about 100 rigid of airships.

The USA had altogether 31 percussion airships, as well as a semirigid airship for the army in the service in the time of 1919 to 1933, afterwards all ships became onthe navy delivered.Of Italy of 18 army ships fought almost exclusively at the navy. Also the British attached their six the army of assigned percussion airships with outbreak of war of the navy. The not-rigid airships worked successfully particularly for sea surveillance and as a escortfor trading vessel convoys. In addition came the rigid airships of Zeppelin and container Lanz and the English models, which were used particularly as reconnaissance aircraft and bombers.

Zeppelin and container Lanz

Ferdinand count von Zeppelin advanced the development of the rigid airships, whichtherefore after it frequently Zeppeline to be called. Substantially larger airships could be built by the use of a rigid skeleton, which could carry altogether a larger pay load and a larger employment radius had.

The largest German competition of the company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbHthe company Luftschiffbau container Lanz was created in Mannheim , 1909 of Johann container. The first ship „S.L. - I “ascended 1911. This airship did not work satisfactorily however. With „S.L. - II “, which is called standard airship of the First World War, succeeded it to container,to create, however „the system container Lanz could never celebrate a technical projection/lead to the Zeppelin airships “Zeppelins of successes. Container Lanz supplied excluding the German military. Contrary to the Zeppelinen all SL-airships possessed a framework made of plywood. After firstWorld war had because of the Versailler of contract nearly all airship hangars of the German Reich torn off and/or. as reparations to be delivered. Only one building-resounds on the Zeppelinwerft in Friedrichshafen and one resounds in Seddin (airship port) with Stolp (today Słupsk) remained. That(among other things) from meant for container Lanz as an airship farmer. Only the building of plywoods remained and today by the Finnish company Finnforest is operated.

the bloom time between the world wars

the last airship ground anchor received in Europe became on thatArea former „airship port of the Coeln” Butzweilerhof in Cologne Ossendorf found. It was allowed to originate from the bloom time of the airship travel. Sunk up to the anchor hook in the soil, airships to 243 m length could be fastened to him.

Between the two world wars those developed Traffic airship travel. It had already given efforts before the war to offer regular travels between different European cities. For this purpose 1909 the first airline of the world had been also already created. The DELAG (German airship travel corporation) operated Zeppelin airships in the traffic service.It and other air boat operators, which wanted to operate civilian projects, in Germany became however by the allied ones and the Versailler contract expenditure-braked. In the war particularly the German airships had developed to high-level technology carriers. The German postwar airship travel was however forbidden, all largeWar and even some postwar airships had to be delivered as Reparation. In other European states one examined the potential and the feasibility of traffic airships.

The first Atlantic crossing of an airship succeeded of 2. to 13. July 1919 the British R34, onelarge copy of a German Zeppelins. For the way there from Scotland to New York it needed 108 hours and for the way back only 75 hours, since the tail wind was used.

The problem of the large open spaces for airship landings the designers wanted of the By the fact come to meet Empire State Buildings (LG1) that they would install an anchor mast on the roof of this at that time most modern multistoried building of the world . It there however never came to an airship landing. In Manhattan so many other multistoried buildings that had soon already developedwith helium airships a start-up no more in question did not come. Today one can in in the Luxor - Vestibül of the LG1 at the 4 walls the 7 world miracles arranged style to see, as well as ‒ as 8. World miracle ‒ the LG1, like straightan airship to it puts on.

The US-American ZR-1 USS Shenandoah was 1923 the first large airship with a helium filling. It had been designed for hydrogen as Traggas, however one decided after several successive accidents with other airships thatat that time only limit and only in the USA available, expensive, to use but flame resistant helium.

of 1926 transfer Umberto Nobile in the airship „Norge “among other things with Roald Amundsen on board the north pole. They lost however a running overfirst north pole crossing in air scarcely against the American smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Byrd, which stressed this Erstüberquerung in air only three days before with an airplane for itself.

The Zeppelin LZ 126/ZR-3 built for the USA as reparation „USSLos Angeles “ succeeded 1929 as first airship setting off and the admission of an airplane in air. Together the USS Akron enwicklte of Goodyear and Zeppelin was activated 1931 for the US Navy. In the size it corresponded about, however it served the later LZ 129 “Hindenburg” the military long-range reconnaissance over lake. Therein it was supported by airplanes, which could be suspended while driving by the airship and caught up again. The USS Akron went in April 1933 over thatAtlanik in the storm veloren. Over 70 crew members found death. Its sister ship USS Macon (airship) was activated 1933. It was lost in February 1935 before the California coast to a tail unit break. Nearly everything over 80 of the crew members survived.

ZMC-2 was one 1929 built complete metal airship. The covering consisted of riveted duralumin sheet metal. The construction was self-supporting. It remained however despite the innovative and promising concept with only one prototype. The ship became after the end of the planned about10-year old actual working time and troublefree enterprise in the US Navy disarmed.

Only little smaller than the later LZ 129 “Hindenburg” were the two British airships R100 and R101. Both were about at the same time built around 1930 and should as passenger airships the connectionswithin the British Empire verbesssern.R100 undertook some successful travels, under it also one to Canada. R101 had been finished somewhat in former times, proved however as too little load-carrying and was extended. After further changes and only very few test travels,applied the ship in October 1930 to its young remote travel after carat ski . Already in the proximity of the French Beauvais the ship had ground contact in bad weather and turned out in fire. 48 persons died. After detailed parliamentary debate became R100 end of 1931 scraps.

Over the airship travel in Russia and the Soviet Union only few and with difficulty controllable facts are well-known. Thus the Russian airship delighted under the guidance of Umberto Nobile led „UdSSR-W6 OSSOAWIACHIM “(„CCCP-B6 “) to 5. November 1934 its young remote travel through. It is considered as the most successful airship of the Russian airship travel.

The Zeppelinkapitän Hugo Eckener became so popular in Germany that it was considered with the realm tag elections 1932 seriously as a rival candidate against Hitler. The largest airships at allthe Zeppeline were „LZ 129 Hindenburg “ and its sister ship „LZ 130 count Zeppelin II “with 245 m, a trunk diameter of over 40 meters and a capacity of approximately 200,000 cubic meters hydrogen carrying gas. „The Hindenburg “knew 50-70 passengers over oneDistance of 17,500 kilometers carry. To 6. May 1937 it came up however with the landing in Lakehurst/the USA in flames, 36 humans died. This misfortune was not the heaviest of the airship travel, „the Hindenburg disaster “went however asone the large Technikunglücke into history. It was also the last accident of a rigid airship. The initiating Second World War terminated the era of the rigid airship travel.

the Second World War

in the Second World War military airships became very successful ofthe allied one as Küstenpatroullie, sea-reconnaissance aircraft and begun for the guard of convoys against hostile (usually German) submarines on lake in large number of items. Over 100 airships provided their service at the US Navy among other things at the US coast, in Europe and in the Pacific area.Some the ships originated from the Goodyear Werbeluftschiffflotte.

after 1945

„mirror-image-guessed/advised the OF Europe II “by ABC built
Ein WDL-Luftschiff
an WDL airship

after end of war with the arising of the cold war continued to serve the airships above all in the US-American military.It used percussion airships into the 1960er years inside to strategic and tactical radar - sea and air traffic control and to submarine - the hunt. The development of more efficient helicopters and long-range aircraft led however to its separation.

Since and find percussion airships foundparticularly as advertising media for example with large meetings and for round travels use. Particularly became the Goodyear admits - airships. Into the 1970ern the first modern WDL developed - airships and in England the Skyships in Germany. End of the 1980er the Lightships came in addition, Aeros into the 1990ern.

Into the 1970ern developed also the first hot-air airships, which were derived from hot-air balloons. They are used mainly as advertising media, are relatively small, for it in addition, transportable without problems with a vehicle and needpractically no infrastructure. Their envelope of the ballon cannot be folded up and be contained there it special Traggas, but their lift only from the density variation between warm and cold air to refer, they can without financial losses by discharging the gas up and diminishedbecome. They are however similarly as balloons pure fair weather aircraft.

Small remote controlled airships serve as advertising media for instance with exhibitions within and outside from buildings, larger unmanned ships for example for aerial photograph photographs are used. They offer also the possibility of carrying other sensors.

Onlyaround the turn of the century, at this time approximately 30 operational airships existed, again larger airship projects were tackled. The German enterprise Cargolifter AG that end of the 1990er a semirigid freight airship, the CL160 for loads of up to 160 tonsto build wanted, was not not successful. It established however in form to its airship-threw the largest cantilever resounds to the world. At the end of June 2002 had the CargoLifter AG insolvency to request. Since 2000 the Zeppelin NT carries regularly tourists over the Bodensee and differentPlaces. The Zeppelin NT 07 is since its first flight the largest active airship of the world (conditions at the end of of 2005). On the extension of its operational area, a larger version for 19 passengers is worked is in concrete planning.

From October to November 2000an airship of the type helped TLG A60+ of the UN with the search for mines and duds in the Kosovo. As detector a radar device was used.

In the last years airships were rediscovered also as platform for tasks of monitoring.


number of airships certified in Germany (source: LBA)
1986-1989 1990-1992 1993 1994 1995-2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
2 3 2 2 3 5 5 6 4

in the year 2006 it gives in Germany to three companies, which build and operate airships:

beside it gives it still some projects, which can show only studies however at present.

Skycruise Switzerland accomplishes since 2002 airship round travels in the Swiss Buochs. In thatSwitzerland were certified in September 2005 according to BAZL beside the Skycruise Lufschiff 8 hot-air airships. In Austria no (gas) airships are certified.

Further are beside the German models a whole number of further stout and hot-air airships of mainly English and American origin in the world-wide use(e.g.ABC, Aeros, Goodyear, SkyShip, TLG). Also the unmanned airship travel gains significance. Beside projects for elevator platforms also the unmanned employment is examined and tested by airships for civilian and military tasks of monitoring.

In Russia becamelikewise develops a few small stout and hot-air ships of Augur of aviation systems and built. First in China developed airships became at the end of of 2004 certified and to come from the company Huajiao.


  • of the Piasecki heli coil Stat was into that to combine 1980ern the attempt the airship and helicopter to a means of transport.
  • Different enterprises tried and try the tourism with airships again to animate. It however still came to no practical enterprises. Above all large airships, the one are missingprofitable enterprise permit.
    • The German LoftyCruiser GmbH & cost. Kg examines the technical feasibility of a large cruise airship.
    • The promotion association Zeppelin tourism registered association. with Zeppelin Europe developed route a concept for European airship traffic.
  • Elevator platform - unmanned airships with solar drive are as communication platforms similarly satellites to be used.
    • With the Stratellite at present (2005) a prototype in the USA develops.
    • Another project is Aerosphere, ball or ballförmiges airship concept, which is to be likewise used to the elevator platform.
  • In the USA it givesTo ascend and then by means of an ion drive into an orbit arrive considerations with an airship on up to 50 km height. To a technical execution it did not come however yet.


  • Hugo Eckener: In the Zeppelin overCountries and seas; Publishing house house Christian Wolff 1949; ISBN?
  • Dorothea Haaland, Hans's George Knäusel, Günter Schmitt, Jürgen soaping ore: More easily than air - balloons and airships; from the row German aviation; Berne pool of broadcasting corporations & Graefe publishing house 1997; ISBN 3-7637-6114-4
  • Wolfgang Meighörner (Hrsg.): Giant of air - history and technology of the Zeppeline in selected reports and numerous photos; Karl Mueller publishing house 1996; ISBN 3-89555-097-3
  • Peter Meyer: Airships - the history of the German Zeppeline; Berne pool of broadcasting corporations & Graefe publishing house 1996; ISBN 3-7637-5951-4
  • Helmut Reinicke: Ascent and revolution
  • Andreas Venzke: Pioneers of the sky; Publishing house kind-badly and Winkler 2002; ISBN 3-53807-143-8 (in it an analysis of the history of the German Zeppelin building)
  • Jürgen K. Support, Berthold Knaur (Hrsg.): More easily than air -Transportation and carrier systems - balloons, airships, platforms; Publishing house Franconia threshold 2003; ISBN 3-86180-139-6 (history, physical and technical bases, technical data of current airships and projects)

see also

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