| May 1784, the first (unintentional)
flight of a solar hot air balloon
last changed : 10/10/2003
"The 29 may 1784, the Academe de Dijon's balloon (104 000 cubic foot - 3565
m3) have been inflated with ordinary air. The "commissaries" judged good to
live it in that state until the following day in order to let dry some area
which had just been covered with varnish. They had observed that the thermometer
had rised to 39 degrees, while it was indicating only 23° exposed to the sun.
Few days before they had noticed it had rised to 60° in the same circumstances,
but the didn't note the outside temperature at this time (The
temperatures are probably given in "Degrees Réaumur", about the only ones in
use at this time).
The 30 may, around noon et a half, a strong wind to rose and beguine to shack the balloon. 2 man left on it's guard, intended to hold it by the stitch of the net. Pieces of it broke into their hands and the aerostat escaped to them. It first begin to climb into court yard above one of the poles 43 feet tall (14m) that have been putted here to rise the net, bringing with it not only the net but also ropes the equatorial circle, adding up to 250 lbs (122 kg), including the envelop weight. The balloon was hold by 2 ropes passed on a big rope tensed between the 2 poles. It broke 2 of those and tore off the post of the third. It got out the court yard over a building located to the east. Being landed in an other court yard behind this building the named Crosnier, sixteen years old weighing 71 lbs (34,7 kg), courageously grabbed one of the ropes to hold it back he turned the rope around his wrist . in the instant he had been cried over a wall 9fts high (2,9 m), and falled back on the other side . The balloon continued it's route, passed over the first avenue of "cours de la porte Bourbon", to the great astonishment of the people that ran to see it. It did go to fall down at moor than 250 steps ( unfortunately on 2 tree recently replanted which the naked twig tear it on all the length on several places )."
"Voyages aériens" - by J.Glaisher, C.Flamarion, W.De Fonvielle et G.Tissandier - Hachette - 1870