Ballooning History 1783 - 1908

Published June 6, 1909 in the Indianapolis Star the attached article is a sidebar to stories covering the 1909 national championship balloon races hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race, which would take several days to complete, started at the Speedway the day prior on June 5. The facts contained in this concise piece are presented more as a list of facts than a narrative. The results of an October 1908 race hosted in St. Louis are presented. A German vessel, the Pommern, won after covering 880 miles to land in Asbury Park, New Jersey. This was a new record as up to that time the longest flight had been 870 miles decades earlier in 1859 a balloon called the Helvetia won ballooning's most famous and most important race that same year - the James Gordon Bennett Cup - also in October 1908. The fact article reports that the first manned balloon flight took place in 1783 with Pilatre de Rozier. He also became the first man to lose his life ballooning three years later while trying to cross the English Channel.

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