Monday, December 02, 2013

Flying Ducks

Once again, today, I was listening to What you Missed in History Class.  The podcast was about Sophie Blanchard and her life as the first female career balloonist.  It was an interesting story, but what first caught my attention was the work of her husband, Jean-Pierre Blanchard.

King Louis XIV was interested in flight.  When it became known that it might be possible for people to fly in a balloon using hydrogen as a "lifting agent" (my term), Louis was ready.  He proposed to Jean-Pierre that criminals be used as "guinea pigs" (again, my term) in flight.  Not liking that idea, Jean-Pierre used three farm animals instead.  The tethered flight, witnessed by the king, was a success, and led to more tests and to balloon flights by people.  Everyone, including the king, was very excited.

What struck me, though, were the three farm animals -- a duck, a rooster and a sheep -- the first three animals to fly.  It just made me laugh that everyone was so excited that Jean-Pierre had made a duck and a rooster fly.  The sheep I give him credit for, and maybe the rooster flew higher than it ever had before, but come-on -- ducks already fly.

Just a small laugh in my morning.



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