On this day September 24, 1852

The first airship powered by engine, created by Henri Giffard, travels 17 miles (27 km) from Paris to Trappes, the wind was too strong to allow him to make way against it, so he was unable to return to the start. However he was able to make turns and circles, proving that a powered airship could be steered and controlled.

Airship Giffard 1852 Zeppelin_NT
Giffard 1852 Airship Zeppelin NT Airship

Powered with a steam engine weighing over 180 kg (400 lb); it was the world’s first passenger-carrying airship (known as a Dirigible). Both practical and steerable, the hydrogen-filled airship was equipped with a 3 hp steam engine that drove a propeller. The engine was fitted with a downward pointing funnel.

The exhaust stream was mixed in with the combustion gases and it was hoped by these means to stop sparks rising up to the gas bag; he also installed a vertical rudder.


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