Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Flying? It'll Never Catch On...


On this day in 1873 The Montgolfier brothers were apparently the first humans to fly (didn't they have human cannonballs in those days?), using a hot air balloon. This was a great achievement, and led to all sorts of ideas about what might be done with this fantastic technology. Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe wrote stories about flying to the moon, and other exotic places.

Of course, nothing's perfect, and there were a few drawbacks. Like not being able to steer very well, not going very fast. Having to come down (landing seems to be a major issue with most types of flight). And what do you do if you get a puncture?

Nevertheless, as with sailing boats it is impressive how well people manage to put themselves at the mercy of the wind and still manage to go in roughly the right direction.

Personally, though, you won't get me travelling through the air in anything that doesn't have an engine and some kind of steering controls. And preferably a seat, seat belts, windows, etc. But that's just me - I suppose I'm a bit picky.

I've only spoken to one person who's been for a balloon ride. They quite enjoyed it. There was a Land Rover following them, so that when they landed they could be taken back, and the farmer whose field they ended up in wasn't too annoyed.

Still, they add brightness and colour to our lives. Just so long as one of those things doesn't land on me...

26 comments:

Bee said...

Never going on one! NOPE NOT ME! No balloons. Even writing the word "balloon" freaks me out!
As for airplanes, drugged out of my mind I do okay.

More later, I'm being receptionist right.

Jean Knee said...

Drew is in the aviation industry and apparently blimps are the in thing, yeah they didn't remember the Hindenberg.
I think you can steer and land them pretty easily. May I interest anyone in purchasing your own private blimp???

http://www.aerosml.com

Bee said...

SOLD!
I wanted to replace my jet, a blimp would be the perfect thing!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Blimps are fine - I've no problem with something that is powered with something more controllable than the wind.

Yes, I'd heard they're supposed to be good for freight. I have vague memories of seeing airships in the early 70s when we lived in Europe. They use Helium rather than Hydrogen. The former doesn't ignite...

Don't sell one to Bee - I'm not sure it would be good for her to be intercontinentally mobile...

Brian o Vretanos said...

... Though you'd see her coming in one of those things. And she'd never be able to find a parking space if she tried to come to the UK...

Bee said...

One word.
Parachute.

Jean Knee said...

ha, you're forgetting the thing wouldn't fly cuz she'd be sucking up the helium to sound like a chipmunk, Alvin

Bee said...

I love the chipmunks (not as dinner)!

Yeah, I thought about the sucking part but didn't want to open that door.

Bee said...

You know cuz I don't want to be called a druggie.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Parachute:

Oh.

Helium:

It's a pity that you can't inhale enough to float. That would be some party trick...

Bee said...

Oh.:
Right.

Party trick:
This year I will attempt to remain calm. That would be something never before seen.

Jean Knee said...

don't go giving her ideas, brian, if she dies from helium poisoning the fault will lie at your feet
or something

Bee said...

Wrong day jean knee, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. TOMORROW!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

There's no way you can take off - didn't you see that guy with the weather balloons tied to his garden chair who buzzed aircraft at 20,000 feet over LAX?

They recreated it on Mythbusters, and needed about 20 huge balloons.

Bee said...

BRIAN, ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT???

Jean Knee said...

I think he also said my as* looks big in these jeans. no way he's gettin away with this get him bee go go go

Bee said...

[rolling up my sleeves]
Okay, he's a GIANT so we have to disable his knees first.

Jean Knee said...

that one dude on myth busters with the crazy hair and glasses is a hottie

Brian o Vretanos said...

DON'T SHOUT!

No.

If you were filled with enough helium, then you'd be the size of a house.

The guy on TV wasn't fat, and he needed several big canisters worth of helium, and these weather balloons are huge.

He had a gun to shoot them so he could land. What's amazing is that the real guy survived...

Jean Knee said...

he just smirked oh
the outrage!

Jean Knee said...

go bee go, save my honor, he also called me old on my own blog

go Beee

Bee said...

Can I have a sandwich first? I'm kinda hungry...

Bee said...

And a little thirsty.

Jean Knee said...

oh hell I have to get in the car and travel to the disfunctional family Holiday now. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bye see you two soon

Bee said...

Go with God jean knee... [not literally you understand]

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Drive carefully (and slowly).