First Balloon Flight Under the American Aero Club
PhotographerJames H. Hare
Image Dimensions: 17.05 x 12.05 cm | 17.6 x 12.8 cm
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Pioneering British-born photojournalist James “Jimmy” (H.) Hare (1856-1946) took this view showing a crowd standing at the siege battery at West Point Military Academy in New York State including officers, cadets and scientists looking on as French aeronaut Charles Levee ascends in the balloon L’Allouette on Sunday, 11th February, 1906.
The photograph was published by Hare’s employer Collier’s Magazine on 24th February of that year. The fledgling American Aero Club, based in New York City, hired Levee to pilot their 28’ diameter yellow balloon, which took 12,500 cubic feet of coal gas to inflate according to a New York Times dispatch. “Wearing an ordinary Winter overcoat and a close-fitting cap” Levee ascended at 3:55 p.m. in the basket of the balloon made of cotton-fabric (the first time a balloon launched from West Point) and traveled nearly 60 kilometers before finally descending at Hurley, New York at 8:10 p.m. with the aid of a rip cord.