of Ballooning of the World
Joseph and Jacques de Montgolfier developed the first hot air balloon in 1783.
On April 4, 1783 the Montgolfier brothers gave the first public demonstration of a hot air balloon in their hometown. This unmanned balloon travelled almost a mile (2km), and reached a height of about 6,560ft (2,000m). It was made of cloth and lined with paper (coated with alum to provide some form of fireproofing), its multiple sections held together by around 2,000 buttons.
First hydrogen balloon
Meanwhile, Jacques Charles, another Frenchman, was working on the first
hydrogen balloon. Charles's invention made its maiden flight barely three
weeks after the Montgolfier brothers had given their demonstration at
Annonay. Made of rubberised silk, Charles's balloon was also unmanned.
On September 19 that same year, the Montgolfier brothers sent the first
living creatures on a balloon flight: a sheep, a cockerel, and a duck
made an eight-minute flight from Versailles, watched by Louis XVI.
The following month, Pilatre de Rozier, a physicist, reached an altitude
of 85ft (26m) in a tethered Montgolfier hot-air balloon. On November 21,
1783 the first free balloon flight involving people was made: de Rozier
and the Marquis d'Arlandes made a 25-minute flight over Paris, travelling
over 7 miles (12km) from the Chateau de la Muette.
On December 1, 1783 Jacques Charles and Nicolas Robert took the first
flight in a hydrogen balloon. Setting off from the Tuileries gardens in
Paris, they landed at Nesles-la-Vallee, over 15 miles (25km) away. Robert
got out there, and Charles went up once more in the balloon, reaching
an incredible altitude of over a mile (2km). Benjamin Franklin, the American
diplomat and scientist, witnessed the flight.
Subsequent developments in ballooning were the work of other pioneers;
what is amazing, however, is that it took barely a year for the Montgolfier
brothers to proceed from tiny homemade models to the first successful
manned balloon flight.
1898 Creation of the "Aero Club de France ", first aeronautical
institution in the world.
1905 Creation in Paris of the FAI (International Aeronautical
Federation) on the Aero Club de France's initiative. Today, around 100
countries belong to this federation.
1906 James Gordon Bennett, promoter of the "International Herald
Tribune" entrusted on the Aero Club de France with the organization of
the first international aeronautic cup. 16 crews from all over the world
took off on September 30 from the Jardins des Tuileries in Paris. The
American crew won this first race. The first international air race in
the world, created in 1906
1912 The seventh cup was won for the first time by the French
team after a 2200 km's long flight from Germany to Russia.
1983 Within the framework of the bicentenary of the first human
flight, the Aero Club de France organizes the first Gordon Bennett since
the Second World War. The balloons take off from the Place de la Concorde,
in Paris, on June 26.
1984 - 1996 The race happened every year in different countries
according to the rule demanding that the winner's country organizes the
race the following year.
1997 The French team of the Leys brothers won the Gordon Bennett
after a flight of 1732.5 km from Germany to Rumania.
1998 France organized the Gordon Bennett cup from Paris at the
same time as "one hundred years of Aviation" and the International Year
of the Air and Space of the Aero Club de France.