Tour Stop D: Balloon and Aviation History
Until after World War I, no other method equaled a soldier's ability to send intelligence information directly to the ground by telephone from an observation balloon.
Fort Omaha entered America's balloon and aviation history in April 1909 when the first free balloon, inflated with hydrogen gas, started a journey with Captain Charles Chandler as pilot and Lieutenant J. Ware as passenger. They made a good landing in Iowa but lost the balloon when a static discharge set it on fire.
The Army soon learned successful enemy observations could only be made from a balloon controlled in flight; therefore, free-flown balloons were discontinued, and captive (stationary) balloons were developed. Several captive balloons were tested at the Fort Omaha Balloon School.
Visit the Historical Account of the Dirigible…