1902 Encyclopedia > Aeronautics > Other Ascents in England. Blanchard and Jeffries Cross the Channel. Fate of Zambeccari.

(Part 15)

Other Ascents in England. Blanchard and Jeffries Cross the Channel. Fate of Zambeccari.

Lunardi's example was soon followed by others, and on October 16, 1784, Blanchard ascended from Little Chelsea with Mr. Sheldon, and having deposited the latter at Sunbury, rose again alone, and descended at Romney Marshes. On November 12, Mr James Sadler, sen., ascended from Oxford, and there is every reason to believe that he made a previous ascent from the same place on October 12, four days previous to Blanchard's (see Monck Mason, p. 274, where it is stated that he attempted to ascend in a fire-balloon on September 12, but that the balloon was burnt). On November 30, 1784, Blanchard again ascended, accompanied this time by Dr. J. Jeffries, an American physician. On January 4, 1785, Mr Harper ascended from Birmingham; and on January 7, Blanchard and Dr Jeffries achieved the feat of crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais. At seven minutes past one the balloon left Dover Castle, and in their passage they had a most magnificent view of both shores. When about one-third across they found themselves descending, and threw out every available thing from the boat or car. When about three-quarters across they were descending again, and had to throw out not only the anchor and cords, but also to strip and throw away part of their clothing, after which they found they were rising, and their last resource, viz., to cut away the car, was rendered unnecessary. As they approached the shore the balloon rose, describing a magnificent arch high over the land. They descended in the forest of Guinnes.

On March 23, 1785, Count Zambeccari, who had, as we have seen, launched the first balloon from English ground, ascended for the first time with Admiral Vernon from London. Shortly afterwards he returned to his own country, and there applied himself assiduously to the practice of aerial navigation. He twice, in 1803 and 1804, descended into the Adriatic, and both times only escaped after undergoing much danger. Descending in a fire-balloon on September 21, 1812, after a voyage from Bologna, the shock of the graphel catching in a tree caused the balloon to catch fire; and to save themselves from being burnt, Zambeccari and his companion, Signor Bonaga, leaped from the car. The former was killed on the spot, but the latter, though fearfully injured, escaped with his life.

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