Hot-air balloon (18th century)
The French Montgolfier brothers were the first pioneers of flying.
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- Which academic organization accepted the Montgolfier brothers as members?
- What problem did water vapor used at the first experiments cause?
The experiments of the French Montgolfier brothers marked an important milestone in the history of flying. Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, sons of a family of paper manufacturers, conducted experiments with hot air balloons.
A hot air balloon is a balloon that uses hot air to generate buoyancy.
The brothers initially tried to use water vapor, but as it cooled down and therefore condensed, it made the paper balloon wet and rendered it useless. Later, they attempted to enclose smoke in the balloon, but as the smoke cooled down very fast, this did not yield any results. They finally achieved success by continuously heating the air in the balloon from the bottom.
The first balloons were unmanned, but later they put animals aboard. The official public demonstration took place near Paris in June 1783.
The balloon was constructed of sackcloth and paper and the flight took 10 minutes. The first free manned balloon lifted off near Paris in November 1783. There was an iron grill under the open bottom of the balloon, with burning straw and wood on it. The hot air and smoke lifted the balloon off the ground. That flight took 25 minutes and covered about 7.5 km (4,66 mi). The two brave passengers, a scientist and a marquis became the pioneers of flight.
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