More than a century before the Wright brothers, a Frenchman named Pilatre do Rozier took off on the first-ever manned flight. His vehicle was a hot air balloon designed by the brothers Montgolfier. From the ornate contraption filled with air heated by a straw fire that carried Rozier into history to the high-tech, closed capsule masterpieces of today, this episode chronicles the history of these extraordinary craft. It is a story filled with the dreams of fearless pioneers and fueled by everything from propane to solar power. You’ll go inside the cabin of a craft designed to tackle the Everest of ballooning–a non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. Examine the many uses balloons have been put to over the years, and hear from the designers and “pilots” who have dedicated their lives to riding the winds. And thrill to incredible footage of all types of balloons filling the air at rallies.
Archive for December, 1999
An exploration of the rich history of one of the world’s greatest technological achievements–the harnessing of power from Niagara Falls. From the “War of the Currents”, a battle between geniuses Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, to the Robert Moses Plant, primed to take the powerhouse into the 21st century, we highlight its story.