François Pilâtre de Rozier: First man to fly in a balloon

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier was a well-renowned pioneer of aviation. While studying pharmacology in Paris, Pilâtre de Rozier ventured into the fields of chemistry and experimental Physics. He soon sought a powerful patron to support his work in the form of the Count and Countess de Provence who named him intendant of the cabinets of physics, chemistry and natural history. With his patron’s backing, Pilâtre de Rozier established a scientific club, the Musée de Monsieur where he offered lectures. Pilâtre de Rozier’s penchant for the spectacular reached full fruition when he heard about the new invention of Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, the hot air balloon which had its first public launch in June 1783.

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The first and only Oxford verses Cambridge University air race

Returning from the Great War, some young men from Oxford and Cambridge Universities felt confined within their universities. Besides, they has just a few years ago faced German biplanes in nerve wracking (but adrenaline inducing) encounters in fragile aircraft 4 miles over the battlefield. One student, a former test pilot by the name of A. R. Boree, from Oxford had a thrilling idea which he believed would rival the Oxford-Cambridge boat race. He proposed a air race over a circuit at the London Aerodrome, Hendon with a total distance of 129 miles.

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Louis Bleriot: First aviator to cross the English Channel in a powered aircraft

Louis Bleriot was a French aviator, inventor and engineer who was famous for his flight across the English Channel. Even before this ground breaking flight, Louis had already made a name through his invention of the first practical headlamps. Louis taught himself the principles of flight and designed orinthopters and gliders which he tested out. Through trial and error, he designed the tail surfaces which have become conventional and his company Recherches Aeronautiques Louis Bleriot is credited as being the inventors of the monoplane.

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Vickers Vimy Alcock and Brown

John Alcock and Arthur Brown: First non-stop transatlantic flight

Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown made the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic in a modified Vickers Vimy powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle 360 hp engines. They took off from Lester’s Field, near St. John, Newfoundland on June 14,1919 and landed June 15,1919 at Clifden, Ireland thereby winning the Daily Mail Atlantic Prize and writing their names in the history books.

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