Jean-Pierre Blanchard: Pioneer Balloon Aeronaut

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Today was born Jean-Pierre Blanchard
In a hot-air balloon he flew up far.
Inscribed in aviation's illustrious annal:
He was the first to cross the English Channel.*

*He also made the first balloon flight in North America with George Washington one of the spectators:

"Blanchard was an experimenter. He was first to drop  animals in parachutes and first to try controlling  his flights with flapping paddles. All that cost him more money than he could raise. So he took his  act to America, where he hoped to do better. He  arranged to make the first untethered American  flight in Philadelphia on January 9, 1793. The Quakers had built a model prison that offered means for hiding his takeoff from nonpaying watchers. He cut a deal with the Quakers and then advertised in the Federal Gazette: Come watch the ascent for five dollars a person!

He collected 405 dollars against 500 dollars' worth  of expenses and took off before a crowd that  included President Washington. He landed in New  Jersey, served his remaining wine to local farmers,  and they carted his balloon into town on their  wagon." [John H. Lienhard]



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  • What an intriguing character! And the American connection is perfect
    for the 4th of July...

    It's Kafka's birthday too? But this is a more surprising choice.

    Well done!

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