June 20, 1803

first manned balloon flight in Russia

the flight was made by the Frenchman Jack Garnerain in St. Petersburg. On July 18 flew with the Frenchman also the first Russian - General Prince S. L. Lvov.

March 16, 1836

first manned balloon flight in India

Dimitri Robertson launched with his gas balloon from Garden Reach Road Calcutta

November 7-8, 1836

first long-distance flight in a balloon

Veteran British pilot Charles Green (1785-1870) flew the "Royal Vauxhall", with two passengers aboard (Monck Mason and Robert Holland), from London to Weilburg in the German Duchy of Nassau (a distance of 380 miles (770 km), in 18 hours)

September 8, 1856

first successful passenger voyage of a balloon in Canada

the flight was made by Eugene Godard and three companions from Montreal to Pointe Olivier, Quebec


first aerial photograph taken from the air

French photographer and aeronaut Gaspard-Félix Tournachon called "Nadar" (1820-1910) was first to take aerial photographs over Paris from a balloon in 1858 (In 1855 he patented the idea of using aerial photographs in mapmaking and surveying). This event led an editor to issue a satirical lithograph of Nadar photographing Paris from a balloon (see below).

Later Nadar had built a gigantic balloon "Le Geant". It had a two-story gondola, capable of carrying up to fifty men, and its own darkroom.
1863 Nadar flew with this balloon from Paris to Hannover (Germany).

July 1, 1859

first flight over 1 000 km
earliest private airmail delivery in the USA

American John Wise (1808-1879) and three passengers (J. La Montain, Hyde, O. A. Gager), warming up for a transatlantic flight, that never occurred, flew with the balloon "Atlantic" from St. Louis to Henderson, New York in 20 hours and 40 min (the balloon was destroyed in a storm over the Ontario lake). They broke Green's record with a flight of 809 miles (1292 km). In the balloon was carried a bag of mail addressed to an agent of US Express Company.

August 17, 1859

first official (postal) balloon airmail flight

American John Wise (1808-1879) transported the first official U.S. airmail in a locked U.S. mailbag (123 letters and 23 circulars) aboard his hot-air balloon "Jupiter" from from Lafayette, Indiana to Crawfordsville, Indiana (he had hoped to reach New York City, to which the mail was addressed, or Philadelphia but lack of wind shortened the trip.) Upon landing, Wise transferred the mailbag to a railroad postal agent, who put it aboard a train to New York.

June 17, 1861

first telegraphic transmission from the air

The inventor and aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe (1832-1913) and representatives of the American Telegraph Company ascended from the grounds of the Columbia Armory in Washington, in specially equipped tethered balloon "Enterprise" to a height of 500 feet . Using telegraph equipment aboard the ship and cables that ran along one of the rigging wires to the ground and from there to the War Department and the White House, Lowe demonstrated the world's first telegraphic transmission from the air.

During the American Civil War tethered gas balloons were used by both the Union and Confederate armies for reconnaissance purposes, observation of troop movements and for charting the terrain. The first American aerostat designed by Lowe for military use was ready for deployment on the August 28. Lowe organized and directed a military balloon force of Union during this war and also self telegraphed the presence and position of Confederate infantry and heavy artillery from his tethered balloon "Intrepid".

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first (?) balloon flight of a Mexican aeronaut

Joaquin de la Cantolla y Rico (1837-1914) launched in Mexico City with a gas balloon named "Moctezuma". The Emperor Maximilian assisted the flight. The stamp says, it was the first balloon flight of a Mexican.

But other sources says, Cantolla wasn't the first Mexican balloonist. The first Mexican to flight a balloon was Benito Leon Acosta (1818-?), and that was made on May 1, 1842. Between this flight and the Cantolla one, a large number of flights are recorded.

The first ever balloon flight in Mexico was made on Feb 12, 1835 by the French Balloonist Guillerme Eugene Robertson.

September 19, 1870 - Januar 28, 1871

first using of balloons to carry refugees and balloon mail out of a sieged city

During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 the city of Paris was completely cut off from the outside world by the Prussian army. Altogether 66 balloons were used by the Parisians to carry 155 refugees, 354 carrier pigeons and over 2.5 million letters ("ballons montes") out of Paris.

The prominentest passenger was the french Minister of the Interior Leon Gambetta which flew on October 7, 1870 in the balloon "L'Armand Barbes". This balloon launched at 11:10 from Place Saint-Pierre in Paris and landed after ca. 4 hours near Epineuse, 60 km from Paris.


ascensions of the formerly greatest balloon during the World Exposition in Paris

Frenchman Henri Giffard (1825-1882) lifted with the formerly greatest tethered gas balloon "Le Grand Ballon Captif" several times at 600 m during the World Expo. In the gondola was space for 52 passengers and ca. 35,000 passengers were transported.

July 11, 1897

first balloon flight attempt to the North Pole

At 2:30 am lifted Salomon Auguste Andrée (1854-1897) with two companions (Nils Strindberg, Knut Fraenkel) in his balloon "Örnen" (Eagle) from the island of Danskön, Spitzbergen. They didn't achieve the North Pole and were missing until 1930. In the summer of 1930, the remains of the three men were found in their last camp on White Island, east of Svalbard.

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October 3, 1898

first balloon crossing of High Alp

Capt. Eduard Spelterini (1852-1931) launched in "HB-BKS Wega II" in Sitten/Sion (Switzerland) and landed in Rivere,Dijon (France)

October 20, 1898

creation of the first aeronautic sport organization

a handful of french balloon lovers led by the count Henri de La Valette created the Aero-Club de France. Its by-laws state was: "encouragement to aerial locomotion in all its forms and in all its applications"

April 12, 1899

first gas ballooning contest

the competition was organized in France by the Aero-Club de France

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© Markus Wydera  -  e-mail:  mwydera@01019freenet.de

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