Five First Flights

When people say the Wright Brothers were first to fly, they're talking about a very particular set of circumstances. There are other contenders to the title of "first in flight," and each has their own compelling story and list of achievements.

The Montgolfier Brothers and Their Balloons

As man was looking to the skies and yearning to fly, two inventive brothers came up with an idea to set humans aloft. The Montgolfiers were among many inventors working toward flight in the 18th century, but they often get all the attention.

S.A. Andrée and the 1897 North Pole Balloon Mission

Andrée hoped to succeed in reaching the North Pole where others had failed by doing it by air. With a seemingly endless positivity, he and two other men hoped to earn bragging rights for Sweden by reaching the pole.

Sophie Blanchard and Balloonomania

From timid girl to trailblazer, Sophie Blanchard became famous in the early 1800s as the first woman to become a career balloonist.