What do a duck, a sheep and a cockerel have in common?

It was the two brothers, Joseph and Ettiene Montgolfier, who first successfully demonstrated the flight of the balloon. One of the first recorded flights was on September 19th, 1783, in the court of the Château de Versailles, with Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and 120,000 Parisians witnessing the historic flight. The balloon had a wicker basket suspended from underneath it, which carried three passengers: a sheep, a cockerel and a duck. The flight, which was an experiment to find out whether or not sudden changes in altitude would be harmful, took off from Versailles and landed at Vaucresson, a forest outside of Paris. The flight was deemed a success when the animals, despite a rough landing were completely unharmed, and the race to be the first man to fly was on.

On November 21st 1783, this objective was achieved when two men took to the skies for the first time in a balloon that had been built using paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers. (It is worth noting that this flight preceded that of Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk, USA, by just over 120 years). The 22 minute flight was piloted by two noblemen, Marquis François d'Arlends and Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier; (both from the court of Louis XV1). Watched by approximately 400,000 Parisians, again including the King and Marie-Antoinette, the balloon majestically rose from the gardens of the Château de la Muette to a height of 900 meters. Keeping the balloon flying by burning straw, they travelled about 10 kilometres in 25 minutes, before finally landing in some vineyards several miles away. Local winemakers and farmers, terrified by this fiery dragon falling from the sky, ran towards it with pitchforks waving. They were finally placated when the pilots jumped out of the balloon's basket laden with bottles of champagne, which they cracked open to celebrate - a tradition that is still practised today. continue...

Danny, Rick, and the Ladies,
 I just wanted to thank all of you for making my wife so joyous this past Friday.  She -- well, and I, for that matter -- can't stop talking about our hour aloft, about the children stopping to watch, the sky, the gentle ride, and Danny's penchant for tree-bashing (that was cool, Danny!).  That flight capped off a week in which she had experienced a couple of serious medical scares, so the timing for her happiness couldn't have been better.  I'm looking now at a year from this summer, when I'd like for us to renew our vows in the larger gondola with some family with us.  Hmm...this might call for more champagne.  Thanks for everything.  How could your ads possibly prepare the customer for what he/she will experience.  It was just beyond words, and your graciousness only added to the evening.  Take care, friends.  We'll talk. 
Loftin (and Linda) Hargrave

Rick and crew,
I want to thank you for helping me realize one of my dreams. The balloon ride was all I had hoped for and more. You and your crew made it a fun adventure. Everyone was so nice and polite. It was obvious you all enjoy what you are doing and want to share your love of ballooning with others.
Thanks again for helping make one of my dreams come true!
Linda Pearson

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