Montgolfier Balloon  
The Montgolfiére Balloon

Manufactured by scientists and inventors Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, this magnificent balloon made its first public appearance on June 5, 1783. Made of cloth, the balloon envelope was lined with paper, coated with alum as fireproofing, and held together by about 2,000 buttons.


The Montgolfier Brothers

Joseph Montgolfier, born on Friday, August 26, 1740 and Étienne Montgolfier born on January 6, 1745 were brothers in a family of sixteen children. Their father Pierre Montgolfier was a paper manufacturer, owner of a factory at Viladon-les-Annonay, south of Lyon, France.





This Month in Balloon History

In November 1971 Sid Cutter, together with eight other ballooning enthusiasts founded the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association, more commonly recognized known in ballooning circles as the Quad-A (AAAA). Following are more November entries from our balloon history database.


Day: 11/04

On Friday, November 4, 1927 Captain Hawthorne C. Gray, one of the United States Air Corps' leading balloonists following WWI, died in the air while conducting an experimental high-altitude research flight near Sparta, Tennessee. His last logbook entry indicated he was at 40,000 feet, experiencing a lack of oxygen.


Day: 11/08

The second annual meeting of the Balloon Federation of America was held on Saturday, November 8, 1969 at the Sheraton O'Hare Hotel after the National Balloon Rally in Libertyville, Illinois, with a total of 18 members in attendance.


Day: 11/10

Tuesday, November 10, 1981 marked the beginning of the first successful transpacific balloon flight. The American team of Rocky Aoki, Ben Abruzzo, Ron Clark, and Larry Newman lifted off from Nagashima, Japan and began a perilous 4 day flight across the Pacific in the Double Eagle V.


Date: 11/11

On Monday, November 11, 1935 Army Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orvil A. Anderson set a new world altitude record in Explorer II, a hydrogen-filled gas balloon equipped with a round metal gondola. Ascending from the Stratobowl near Rapid City, they reached 72,395 feet (nearly 14 miles) before beginning their descent over an abandoned airfield near White Lake, South Dakota. The project, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Army and National Geographic, was funded by the National Geographic Society. Stevens, chief of the Army Air Corps photography lab at the time, is also credited with taking the first photograph showing earth's curvature on this date.


Day: 11/12

On Saturday, November 12, 1910 the first movie stunt ever performed involved a man falling into the Hudson River from a burning balloon.


Day: 11/20

On Monday, November 20, 1933 Auguste Piccard's twin brother Jean Piccard, piloted the Century of Progress stratosphere balloon to a record height of 61,000 feet (official altitude - 18,665 meters). Ascending from Akron, Ohio, Piccard conducted over 10 scientific experiments during the flight, landing the balloon eight hours later near Bridgeton, New Jersey.


Date: 11/21

On Saturday, November 21, 1981, Ben Abruzzo with Larry Newman and Ron Clark of the USA and Rocky Aoki of Japan as crew became the first to cross the Pacific Ocean in a balloon. They launched in the Double Eagle V from Nagashim, Japan on November 10 and landed in Covelo, California in 84:31 hours, also setting a new world flight duration record.

On Friday, November 21, 1783, Jean-Francois Pilâtre de Rozier and Francois Laurent, the Marquis d'Arlandes, make the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet. Over 100,000 spectators showed up for the event. Among them was the United States Ambassador to France and American Inventor, Benjamin Franklin. Piloted by de Rozier, the Montgolfier balloon ascended approximately 3,000 feet from the hillside of the Chateau de la Muette in Paris, France before losing altitude and landing softly in a meadow roughly 8 kilometers, or five and a half miles, away. The flight lasted around 23 minutes. November 21 has been recognized by balloonists as Montgolfier Day ever since.