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UPI Archives
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1908
Published in: Cleveland Press

Emperor William first head of state to fly in airship

BERLIN, Nov. 10, 1908 (UP) - Emperor William of Germany made a flight Tuesday in Count Zeppelin's airship. It was the first trip in the air ever made by a ruler of a nation.

The emperor started on the hazardous journey in the face of his country's protests. While he was risking his life far above Lake Constance, in the frail machine, the reichstag, the law-making body of Germany, was questioning the kaiser's acts.

The emperor's latest daring exploit is the culminating episode of a series that are unparalleled in German history.

A wave of protest against his absolutism is rolling over the country.

Newspapers are attacking the monarch and are demanding a change or his abdication in words that a few years ago would have meant the prison cell.

The people are asking: "What is wrong with the emperor?"

William was cheered by several hundred thousand people when he sailed away. Count Zeppelin piloted the airshiop, which carried 10 others besides the emperor and the count, two being officers of the emperor's suite.

The emperor was as calm as if stepping into his automobile. The cigar-shaped balloon steered upwards at an angle of 45 degrees.

Count Zeppelin immediately began demonstrating the maneuvering capabilities of the airship, turning in all directions, dipping and rising and describing various complicated figures.

The kaiser's venture is a subject of violent debate throughout the nation. The emperor's advisers had pleaded with him not to risk his life merely for the sake of adventure, but he declared he would make the ascent despite all warnings.

Count Zeppelin was appealed to in an effort to have him dissuade the emperor, but the count said he had only to obey his ruler's desires.

Zeppelin was sorry that the emperor requested a flight with him, for he feared lest misfortune attend the experiment. It was this airship that was dashed to pieces from midair a few weeks ago.

The emperor came from Prince Fuerstenburg's residence at Eschingen by auto. All arrangements for the ascent were complete.

The airship had been thoroughly overhauled under the supervision of Count Zeppelin and every part tested. It had been newly filled with gas and everything pointed to a successful flight.

The weather is fine; cold; with a brisk wind.

The airship in which the kaiser ascended is now the property of the war department. The announcement of its purchase from Count Zeppelin was made Tuesday morning.