Interesting History of Hydrogen Airships and Balloons

Hydrogen Balloon attacked by French villagersThe first Hydrogen Balloon being attacked by terrified French Villagers

From its discovery, the fact that hydrogen is the lightest element made it seemingly a perfect candidate for early air travel.  The first hydrogen ballloon was launched on 27 August 1783 from the Champ de Mars in France which is now the site of the Eiffel tower.  It took almost a quarter of a tonne of sulphuric acid, poured onto half a tonne of iron to produce enough hydroden to fill the 35 cubic meter baloon.  This had to be done over a number of days to fill it though lead pipes, due to the fact that the gas was hot when initially produced, but when it entered the balloon it cooled down and contracted in volume.

Solar Powered Plane Completes 26 Hour Day and Night Flight

In a record breaking flight this week a solar powered plane successfully completed the highest and longest ever flight by a solar aircraft.  The huge wings of the plane, known as the Solar Impulse, and its horizontal stabilizer contain 12,000 silicon mono-crystalline solar cells. Energy from the sun is stored in lithium batteries and used to  provide the aircraft's 4 electric engines with the power they need to fly the plane. The Solar Impulse flew throughout the whole night for the first time during the evening of 7th July and morning of 8th July 2010.