'La France' electric airship, 1884

'La France' electric airship, 1884

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: 'La France' electric airship. 19th-century illustration of the launch on 9 August 1884 of the electric airship 'La France' from its hanger at the Chalais-Meudon aerodrome near Paris, France. This 52-metre-long hydrogen-filled airship was designed by French engineers Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs. Piloted by Krebs, the airship covered 8 kilometres in 23 minutes. This was the first ever fully controlled free-flight, returning under control to its starting point. Artwork from 'Aerostation - Aviation' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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