This Month in Buoyant Flight History – February

February 2

          1872     French naval architect Henri Dupuy de Lôme flies his airship for the first time. Click here to read more about Dupuy de Lôme, his airship and some of his other inventions.

February 4

          1902     First balloon flight over Antarctica. Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton reach 800 feet (244 meters) in a tethered hydrogen balloon. One of the objectives was to obtain the first aerial photographs of Antarctica. Click here for pictures of RF Scott and his balloon.

February 8

          1914     H. Berliner, Haase and Nikolai depart from Bitterfeld in Germany in their free balloon, in what 3 days later would become a record setting flight.

February 11

          1914      H. Berliner, Haase and Nikolai set a distance record for a balloon flight when they land in Kirgishano, Russia, having covered 1,896 miles (3050 km). Click here to see the New York Times item covering the event.

          1959      A United States meteorological balloon reaches a record height of 146,000 ft. carrying a special package of detectors sending information by radio signal to the ground.

February 12

          1935      The USS Macon, a US Navy scouting zeppelin with the ability to launch fighter aircraft, is damaged in a storm and sinks off the coast of California. Click here to read more about the USS Macon’s remains.

February 21

          1922     Hydrogen filled, Italian built semi-rigid airship Roma crashes and burns near Norfolk Quartermaster Depot. Click here to read a 1922 newspaper article on the Roma disaster.

Click here to read the U.S. Air Force Museum Fact Sheet on the Roma and its Liberty engines.

February 25

          1784     Chevalier Paul Andreani makes the first hot-air balloon flight in Italy. The flight takes place on the grounds of a villa owned by Chevalier Paul Andreani near Milan and uses a modified hot air design built by the brothers Charles and Augustin Gerli. The balloon measures 68 feet (21 meters) in diameter. The flight lasted approximately 20 minutes. Click here to see a medal issued to honor the event.