The online version of Who's Who of Ballooning is
closed to new submissions until further notice.

I have lost contact with Robert Recks, and am unable to receive his approvals of proposed additions or corrections to the archive. Therefore, I regret to announce that I cannot accept submissions until further notice. I will continue to honor requests for information to be removed from the archive, if made by persons directly affected (i.e. the affected aeronaut(s) themselves or their legal representatives), but I am not authorized to accept other changes to the archive. I am also unable to respond to requests for further information regarding the aeronauts listed here, since I cannot route them to Mr. Recks, and I have no additional information myself. Please accept my apology for this development, and understand that I am only the archivist; the data presented here are, and will remain, the property of Robert Recks.

It remains my great pleasure to host the archive. I hope it remains useful to researchers for many years to come.

Welcome to "Who's Who of Ballooning," a compilation of data on historically-significant aeronauts amassed over decades of research by American balloonist, balloon-builder and general aviator Robert Rechs (n/k/a Robert Recks). This material has previously been published in book and electronic form, and is now made available, for the first time, via the Internet. While this information has been formatted for electronic delivery by Dave Wesner, in (loose) conjunction with The Early Years of Sport Ballooning, the content itself is presented in its original form as created by Mr. Recks.

There is a substantial amount of information on these pages, and we encourage you to explore this content at length. We hope that every visitor comes away with a fuller understanding of, and appreciation for, the art of aerostation, and those who have made it possible in its present form.

Ballooning is no less exciting today than it was in 1783

By Robert Rechs

Since my introduction to the sport of ballooning in 1963, I have scoured the world for information on the subject. This compilation, originally published in book form, is the result of reading and collecting data from some 2000 works, in five languages. So many "nooks and crannies" of archives were explored, it boggles the mind in retrospect. When I finally realized the volume of data to be assimilated, I had to discard my typewriter for a "word processing" computer. Even then, it took one full year of input.

The finished assimilation of data as you see it here is strictly a "labor of love," and was not intended for personal gain. Indeed, it may have such a limited appeal, it may only be of interest to serious historians. But at least I will have the satisfaction of knowing that the data are available to future generations. I personally want to thank all of the individuals and agencies that ailowed my elbows into their resource material. To the many not listed in the SOURCES, no slight was intended. Please accept my heartfelt thanks. One thing I have learned from this endeavor is that "there is no substitute for good historical record-keeping." If it had not been for a very few historically-minded aeronauts, little data would be available to the world. Some of the names that come to mind are: Coutelle, Coxwell, Green, Nadar, Fonville, Tissander, Jones, Gimble, Boesman, and Charles Dollfus.

If I can leave any legacy for future generations, it is to admonish all aeronauts "To make a special effort to collect and preserve historical information on ballooning." Not just antique books and artifacts, but this present era too. Don't hoard your collection of data or knowledge; preserve it, and make sure that, when you expire, your efforts go to your NATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM for preservation, assimilation, and availability to future generations.

It must be noted that, if you don't find your name in here, it was not an oversight. Persons still living who are included in this edition were selected carefully, on the basis of their number of historical references in the appendicies, or the magnitude of their contributions to sport. Basically, one has to be dead first, born before 1918, or have participated in some epic event. Your niche in the annals of history will come, but it will be recorded by someone a generation younger than I.

The computer storage tapes of the data contained herein are on deposit in the BFA archives, in Indianola, Iowa. Hopefully, they can be used for ease in updating future editions at regular intervals. All rights to the first edition are held by the founding author. Successive rights to editorial content are reserved by the BFA Publications Committee. Successive publication and distribution rights are reserved by the NATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM, which it is hoped, will keep the editorial content intact.

Please use the links below to navigate through the pages pertaining to
aeronauts of historical significance. Entries are alphabetical by last name.

In addition, you may wish to review our page on How to Use This Site, which is divided into the following sections: Abbreviations, Explanation and Listing Sequence Code, and includes a Sample Listing to illustrate the identifying and descriptive conventions used throughout this site. In fact, you may find it useful to keep the How to Use This Site page open in a separate tab or window while you browse the site, for quick reference, at least until you are familiar with the abbreviations and other conventions used here. We have also included a listing of the primary sources from which the information on this site was obtained.

By Robert Rechs

This compilation, originally published in book form, is intended as an historical reference of notable persons in the art of aerostation. Every attempt was made to include the names of all free-balloonists active before 1960, born before 1918, deceased, or active before the present time AND historically prominent.

The NAME INDEX and MAIN BODY contain cross-references to the APPENDICIES and BIBLIOGRAPHY, showing where to find more detailed information on a particular person. For ease of finding relationships, the appendices are separated into identifiable eras:
The 1783 to 1899 years are referred to as EARLY aeronauts,
the 1900 to 1939 years are referred to as RECENT aeronauts,
and 1940 to the present are referred to as MODERN aernauts.

The first edition of this publication was released on 21 November 1983, the 200th anniversary of mankind's first controlled free flight. The author has made periodic updates to reflect additions of historical importance.

Permission is hereby granted to reprint a single page of data contained herein, for non-commercial use, so long as the author is credited. Publications of the Balloon Federation of America may reprint any data herein for the general benifit of the sport or the BFA membership. Links to this site may be freely published on the Internet. All other rights are reserved by The NATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM, which may charge a fee for its use.

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