First Hot Air Balloon Flight

hot air balloon

The first hot air balloon flight in the United States occurred in Philadelphia, piloted by Jean Pierre Blanchard in 1793.

Jean Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, started out working on heavier than air flying machines. Then he saw a demonstration on the use of a hot air balloon. From that, he started piloting balloons. No one had ever succeeded in flying over the English Channel until Blanchard and his co-pilot John Jeffries did it in 1785. They had to toss everything but the mail overboard in their attempt.

Blanchard became well known as he piloted the first balloon flight in the United States, watched by George Washington. Blanchard loved to perform and once put a dog in a parachute over the side. He also tried to parachute out of the balloon himself. He and his wife settled in France as the two continued to perform using hot air balloons.

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