The Giffard Airship, 1852.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:50). Detail of control car. This dirigible was used in the first succesful application of mechanical power to flight. The power unit was a single cylinder steam engine constructed by the French designer Henri Giffard. On 24th September 1852 Giffard ascended from the Hippodrome in Paris and landed at Trappes some 17 miles away. Although this flight was counted as a succes, the airship lacked the power to navigate a circle against the wind and return to its starting point.