This Month in Buoyant Flight History – January

January 2

          1942     The Navy forms ZP-12, the first non-rigid airship patrol unit based at the Naval Air Station Lakehurst in New Jersey. The unit was assigned the four K-ships the Navy had at the time – K-2, K-3, K-4 and K-5. Click here for more information on the K-class blimps.

January 3

          1956     The Airship Early Warning Squadron ZW-1 was commissioned at Lakehurst Naval Base in New Jersey. This was the first lighter-than-air unit of its type. The squadron was decommissioned on October 31, 1961. Click here for more  information on Squadron ZW-1

January 5

        1918     Five German airships L-46, L-47, L-51, L-58 and SL-20 are lost in an explosion and ensuing fire at the Ahlhorn Airship Base in Lower Saxony, Germany. Click here for more on the Schütte-Lanz airships.

January 7

          1785     Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries, become the first to fly over the English Channel. They flew in a hydrogen balloon from Dover, England to Calais, France. Click here for more about J. P. Blanchard.

January 9

1793      Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon ascent in North America. That day, he ascended from the Washington Prison Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and landed in Gloucester County, New Jersey. On this flight he carried the first airmail letter. President George Washington observed this flight.

January 15

          1991     Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand pilot the first hot-air balloon to cross the Pacific They took off on January 15th 1991 from Miyakonogo, Japan. 45 hours later, on January 17th they landed in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Click here for more information about the Branson/Lindstrand flight.