Charles Renard, French engineer

Charles Renard, French engineer

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Charles Renard (1847-1905), French military engineer and aviation pioneer. Renard began his work on aircraft after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). He is considered to have designed the first true dirigible (air ship), La France, which first flew on 9 August 1884. It was the first airship that could be fully controlled and steered in any direction, regardless of the prevailing winds. It was thus able to return to its point of departure under its own power. The airship was powered by electricity, and it flew eight kilometres in 23 minutes.

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