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the Wright brothers may have been the first to make a sustained,
controlled flight, they were just two among hundreds of brave men
and women who helped to give the world its wings during the earliest
days of aviation. Their Flyer was but one of many historically
important aircraft. Below are brief descriptions and photos of some
of the most important people and planes, and where available
resources and links where you can find more information. In some
cases, contributors have supplied expanded
histories and biographies. Those are listed at the right and linked below.
Arthur C. Krebs was a French engineer and inventor who made
tremendous contributions to the emerging aviation, automotive, and
submarine technologies during the last part of the nineteenth
century. In 1884, with Charles Renard, his built a 165 foot-long (50
meters) elongated balloon with a 7.5 hp electric motor and tractor
propeller. On 9 August 1884, the La France dirigible made her
maiden flight, traveling 5 miles (8 kilometers) in a light wind and
returning to her starting point 23 minutes later. This was
considered the first controlled flight of an airship.
Arthur C. Krebs.
An illustration of the airship
The LaFrance stored inside the hangar that was built especially for
the airship. Although it's in bad shape, this building still exists.