BITS ‘N’ PIECES
Narrated Anas (R.A):
The Prophet (S.A.W) said , “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:
1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake.
3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.”
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 15
The first ‘aerostatic’ flight in history was an experiment carried out by the Montgolfier brothers at Versailles in 1783.
Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier, born in Ardèche in France, began to experiment with lighter-than-air flight in 1782 using a piece of fabric billowed aloft by a fire of wool and damp straw. One of their demonstrations attracted the attention of the Académie Royale des Sciences, which asked them to repeat their experiment in Paris.
In 1783 Étienne carried out an initial tethered attempt, which was successful and which he repeated a second time in front of the king at Versailles. The balloon was made of cotton canvas with paper glued onto both sides, measured 18.47m tall by 13.28m wide, and weighed 400 kg. It was named Le Réveillon after Étienne’s friend Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, the Director of the Royal Manufacture of printed paper, who had designed a motif on a sky-blue background decorated with the king’s cypher – two interweaving L’s – linked with decorative elements all in gold.
The demonstration was held in front of Louis XVI and the royal family in the palace forecourt, which was packed with curious onlookers. As a precaution, it was decided to use animals for the flight.
At the blast of a cannon, at 1 pm, a sheep, duck and cockerel entered the round wicker basket tied to the balloon by a rope. Eleven minutes later a second cannon shot rang out, heralding the lift-off of the basket. The balloon left the ground and soared 600 metres into the air. Damaged by a rip in the fabric, it descended slowly eight minutes later after travelling 3.5 km and came back to earth in the Wood of Vaucresson, at the Maréchal crossroads. The sheep, duck and cockerel were hailed as ‘heroes of the air’ and, as a reward, were given a place in the Menagerie in Versailles by Louis XVI.
The first manned attempt came about two months later on November 21st, with a balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers in front of the Dauphin at Château de La Muette, and Pilâtre de Rozier became the first man ever to be borne aloft. The balloon was launched from the centre of Paris and flew for a period of 20 minutes.
A new page had been written in the history of mankind.