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QUEEN & CLOWN OF THE AIR
Coles Phinizy
May 09, 1955
With the invention of the balloon man first mastered the air. Then he spent the next 100 years trying to master the balloon
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May 09, 1955

Queen & Clown Of The Air

With the invention of the balloon man first mastered the air. Then he spent the next 100 years trying to master the balloon

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Ballooning may be dying, but it will die hard because balloonists have something very genuine in common. They have all enjoyed the only decently, utterly quiet vehicle man ever invented, the only one which will not take a man where he wants to go.

This sentiment is reflected in almost anything any balloonist has to say about ballooning. After nearly flopping into the English Channel in 1785., Dr. John Jeffries called ballooning a "kind of stillness that can be felt." A year and a half ago 11-year-old Michel Fontaine of France was swept aloft when a balloon escaped from its crew. It should have been a terrifying flight for an 11-year-old, alone a mile in the air for an hour and a half, and as something of a hero's reward the local air club gave Michel a ride in a plane. Michel found the plane too bumpy.

"Now for a real quiet ride," he recommended, "take a balloon." Balloonist Augustus Post, lost for nine days in the Canadian woods when he won the International race in 1910, observed before his death, "There is no sensation like floating between earth and heaven with the winds of the world. Some claim you can create the same feeling by partaking of four very dry Martinis—but I don't believe it."

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