Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Banks 1-Dec-1783

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Recounts the ascent of the Frères Roberts and Jacques Charles anticipated in Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Banks 22-Nov-1783 (and seemingly in another letter, Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Banks 30-Nov-1783).

The balloonists took onboard sand to use as ballast. They ascended to 200' and saluted the spectators. They rose further and drifted in a light wind.

In a second part of the latter dated Tuesday Morning, December 2, Franklin writes that he has learned of the adventurers' safe landing, 7 leagues from Paris.

In the final part Franklin relates a crucial discovery for steering balloons by changing altitude to enter a different current of wind:

P. S. Tuesday Evening. . . . I hear farther that the Travellers had perfect Command of their Carriage, descending as they pleas'd by letting some of the inflammable Air escape, and rising again by discharging some Sand; that they descended over a Field so low as to talk with Labourers in passing and mounted again to pass a Hill. The little Balloon falling at Vincennes shows that mounting higher it met with a Current of Air in a Contrary Direction; An Observation that may be of use to further aërial Voyagers.


Sender Benjamin Franklin
Recipient Joseph Banks
Date sent 1-Dec-1783
From location Passy, France
To location London?
Communication type
Language English
Refers to flight? 1
Tech fields balloon, LTA, navigation
Length (in words)
Full text available