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You can never learn less, you can always learn more...
--R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983)

The Library houses an international collection dedicated to the advancement of lighter-than-air flight. Here you will find, inter alia, facsimiles of original foundational scholarship and documentation dating from the earliest history of the Charles and Montgolfier balloons. A number of technical articles, regulatory items, early novels and popular writings; along with links to websites of interest to the aeronaut and enthusiast, can also be found here. The collections will be expanded, in due course, through the work of our member-volunteers and friends.  By the way, would you would like to build your own personal library of rare and unique aeronautical books?  Visit or write the experts, Maureen and Chris Lynch at Valhalla Aerostation.

If you have suggestions or donations of materials which should be included, please contact the IAL.

N.B. – Some of these files are very large and may take 30 seconds or more to download over a broadband connection (e.g. DSL, T1, Cable Modem).


History, Technology and Culture

Important works from the technical and cultural history of aerostation dating to 1783 can be found in this section. We have started with books and reports by Blanchard, Cavallo, Faujas, Lunardi, Wise and Yost. The digitized writings of Tissandier, Santos-Dumont, Turnor, Coffin and others will follow. Please do not miss the passages from Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China for a discussion of the Flying Egg.



Adams, George. A Short Dissertation on the Barometer, Thermometer, and Other Meteorological Instruments: together with and account of the prognostic signs of the weather. (London 1790).

Baldwin, Thomas. Airopaidia or Aerial Recreation. (London 1786).

Baldwin, Thomas. Proposals at Large for the Construction of a Grand Naval Air Balloon. (Hoole near Chester 1784).

Blanchard, Jean-Pierre. An Exact and Authentic Narrative of M. Blanchard’s Third Aerial Voyage From Rouen in Normandy on the 18th of July 1784. (London 1784)

Cavallo, Tiberius. The History and Practice of Aerostation. (London 1783).

Faujas de Saint-Fond, Bartolomey. Description des Experiences de La Machine Aerostatique de MM. De Montgolfier (Paris 1783).

Fawcett, Edmund. (Printer) The Aerostatic Spy: or excursions with an air balloon by an aerial traveler. (London 1785).

Fawcett, Edmund. (Printer) The Aerostatic Spy: or excursions with an air balloon by an aerial traveler. Volume 2 (London 1785).

Gillispie, Charles Coulston. The Montogolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation. (New Jersey 1983).

Lane, W. The Balloon Jester: or flights of wit and humour. (London 1784).

Lana Terzi, Francesco. Prodromo ouero, saggio di alcune inuentioni nuoue premesso all’arte maestre opera che prepara. (Brescia 1670).

Lunardi, Vincent. An Account of the First Aerial Voyage in England. Second Edition (London 1784).

Kearsley, G. (Printer). The Air Balloon: or a treatise on the aerostatic globe lately invented by the celebrated Mons. Montgolfier of Paris. (London 1784).

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China. Vol. 4. (London 1954).

Pilon, F. The Templar’s Stratagem: or a farce in two acts. (Dublin 1785).

Sage, Letitia A. A Letter Addressed to a Female Friend. (London 1785).

Waligunda, Bob and Sheehan, Larry. The Great American Balloon Book: an introduction to hot air ballooning. (New Jersey 1981).

Wise, John. A System of Aeronautics. (Philadelphia 1850).

Wise, John. Donaldson and Grimwood: a true account of their last balloon voyage and tragic death in the boisterous waters of Lake Michigan. (Philadelphia 1875).

Yost, Paul Edward. Final Report: One Man Hot Air Balloon System Development for Office of Naval Research (Sioux Falls 1963).

Balloon Cantos. The Air Balloon: or the sages adventures in a flight to the moon. (London 1784).

Balloon Song. The Air Balloon a New Song. (1784).


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