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the Wright brothers may have been the first to make a sustained,
controlled flight, they were just two among hundreds of brave men and
women who helped to give the world its wings during the earliest days of
aviation. Below are brief biographies of some of the most important
figures and, where available, resources and links where you can find more
information. In some cases, contributors have supplied expanded
biographies. Those are listed at the right and linked below.
Arthur C. Krebs was a French engineer and inventor who made
tremendous contributions to the emerging aviation, automotive, and
submarine technologies during the last part of the nineteenth
century. In 1884, with Charles Renard, his built a 165 foot-long (50
meters) elongated balloon with a 7.5 hp electric motor and tractor
propeller. On 9 August 1884, the La France dirigible made her
maiden flight, traveling 5 miles (8 kilometers) in a light wind and
returning to her starting point 23 minutes later. This was
considered the first controlled flight of an airship.
Arthur C. Krebs.
An illustration of the airship
The LaFrance stored inside the hangar that was built especially for
the airship. Although it's in bad shape, this building still exists.