Jean Pierre Blanchard. Portrait of Jean Pierre Francois Blanchard (1753-1809), French aviation pioneer. Blanchard made his first ascent in a balloon in 1784, just a few months after the first-ever human ascent. In 1785 Blanchard and American physician John Jeffries were the first people to fly across the English Channel when they piloted their balloon from Dover, Britain, to Calais, France. In 1793 Blanchard made the first- ever balloon ascent in the USA. Blanchard also invented the parachute and demonstrated it by dropping a dog or cat in a basket beneath a parachute from a balloon in 1785. He may possibly have made the first human descent in 1793.
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