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...