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First flight

First flight

The first lengthy free flight over Britain was made, using a hydrogen-filled balloon, on September 15th , 1784, by Vincenzo Lunardi, a servant of the Neapolitan ambassador. James Tytler’s short ‘leaps’ in Edinburgh at the end of August had been in a hot air balloon. Lunardi ascended from the Artillery Ground, Woolwich, and finally landed at Standon in Hertfordshire. Our illustration is taken from the first edition of the aeronaut’s own account of his exploit. ‘The stillness, extent, and magnificence of the scene’, he wrote, ‘rendered it highly awful. My horizon seemed a perfect circle; the terminating line several hundred miles in circumference. This I conjectured from the view of London; the extreme points of which formed an angle of only a few degrees’.