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6/04/2008

Ascension in a Balloon


It's been two hundred and twenty five years since the two brothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, presented for the first time their invention in France. It was a balon a l'air chaud, or the hot-air balloon. Although the Brazilian born in the same city as I, in Santos, the Portuguese priest and navigator Bartolomeu de Gusman had already launched his light-than-air airship design some seventy-four years earlier. He wrote a description of his invention "Manifesto summario para os que ignoram poderse navegar pelo elemento do ar"- a Short Manifesto for those who are unaware that is possible to sail through the element air, published in 1709, in Vienna, and another one that was lost was found in the Vatican in 1917. Such as Santos Dumont, another Brazilian, who designed, built and flew the first practical dirigible balloons, was also the first aviator, though they proclaim the Wright Brothers invented the first plane. And Dumont was the one who committed suicide when he found out that his invention was used to make war.

But it's been a month and a half and still no sign of another Brazilian priest, de Carly, who took off using helium balloons. In a noble cause, he was trying to raise funds to charity by establishing a world record of flight, he got lots amidst the heavy winds, and he probably went down somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I pray that he had encountered a safe haven, or as time goes by, it's more certain that he found a place in Heaven now.
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