- Jean-Pierre Blanchard
name = Jean-Pierre Blanchard
image_size = 200px
caption = Jean-Pierre Blanchard
birth_date = 4 July 1753
death_date = Death date and age|1809|7|3|1753|7|4
death_cause = fell from a balloon
nationality = French
known_for = ballooning
occupation = inventor
footnotes = Jean-Pierre Blanchard (aka Jean Pierre François Blanchard) bdd|4|July|1753|7|March|1809 was a French inventor, most remembered as a pioneer in
aviationand ballooning.Blanchard made his first successful balloon flight in Parison 2 March 1784, in a hydrogen gas balloonlaunched from the Champ de Mars. The first successful manned balloon flight took place only a few months earlier, on 21 November 1783, when Pilâtre de Rozierand the Marquis d'Arlandestook off at the Palace of Versaillesin a tethered hot air balloonconstructed by the Montgolfier brothers. The flight nearly ended in disaster, when one spectator - Dupont de Chambon, a contemporary of Napoleonat the École militaire de Brienne- slashed at the balloon's mooring ropes and oars with his sword after being refused a place on board. Blanchard intended to "row" northeast to La Villettebut the balloon was pushed by the wind across the Seineto Billancourtand back again, landing in the rue de Sèvres. Blanchard adopted the Latin tag" Sic itur ad astra" as his motto.
The early balloon flights triggered a phase of public "balloonmania", with all manner of objects decorated with images of balloons or styled "au ballon", from ceramics to fans and hats. Clothing "au ballon" was produced with exaggerated puffed sleeves and rounded skirts, or with printed images of balloons. Hair was coiffed "à la montgolfier", "au globe volant", "au demi-ballon", or "à la Blanchard". [http://www.aviation.technomuses.ca/pdf/Ballons_e.pdf]
Blanchard moved to London in August 1784, where he took part in a flight on 16 October 1784 with
John Sheldon, just a few weeks after the first flight in Britain (and the first outside France), when Italian Vincenzo Lunardiflew from Moorfieldsto Wareon 15 September 1784. Blanchard's propulsion mechanisms - flapping wings and a windmill - again proved ineffective, but the balloon flew some 115 km from the military academy in Chelsea, landing in Sunburyand then taking off again to end in Romsey. Blanchard took a second flight on 30 November 1784, taking off with an American, Dr John Jeffries, from Rhedarium Gardenwest of Grosvenor Squarein Londonto Ingressin Kent. A third flight, again with Jeffries, was the first flight over the English Channel, taking about 2½ hours to travel from England to France on 7 January 1785, flying from Dover Castleto Guînes. Blanchard was awarded a substantial pension by Louis XVI. Pilâtre de Rozierhad been attempting the same feat, in the opposite direction, but had been delayed by bad weather; he was killed in another attempt that June.
Blanchard toured Europe, demonstrating his balloons. Blanchard holds the record of first balloon flights in
Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. Following the invention of the modern parachute in 1783 by Sébastien Lenormandin France, in 1785 Jean-Pierre Blanchard demonstrated it as a means of safely disembarking from a hot air balloon. While Blanchard's first parachute demonstrations were conducted with a dog as the passenger, he later had the opportunity to try it himself when in 1793 his hot air balloon ruptured and he used a parachute to escape. Subsequent development of the parachute focused on it becoming more compact. While the early parachutes were made of linenstretched over a wooden frame, in the late 1790s, Blanchard began making parachutes from folded silk, taking advantage of silk's strength and light weight.
On 9 January 1793, Blanchard conducted the first balloon flight in
North America, ascending from Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniaand landing in Deptford, Gloucester County, New Jersey. One of the flight's witnesses that day was President George Washington, and the future presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Blanchard left the United States in 1797.
He married Marie Madéleine-Sophie Armant (better known as
Sophie Blanchard) in 1804. In 1809, Blanchard had a heart attack while in his balloon at the Hague. He fell from his balloon and died some weeks later from his severe injuries. His widow continued to support herself with ballooning demonstrations until it also killed her. On 6 July 1819, Norwich Duff, an Edinburgh born naval officer then undertaking a tour of western Europe, recorded in his travel log how he:
Timeline of hydrogen technologies
External links and references
* [http://www.gulfviewballooning.com/history.asp History of Hot Air Ballooning]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/fortyfifthasc00blanrich Journal of Jean-Pierre Blanchard's forty-fifth ascension, being the first performed in America, on the ninth of January, 1793 (1918)]
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