Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Unwinged Pegasus

September 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

FlyingHorseVia the invariably spectacular Ptak Science Books blog, a quick peek back at the brief heyday of airborne horses:

“Sep 1850 English Aeronaut Gale on horseback suffocated Bordeaux”. Is this the first man-on-horseback-in-flight death? And death by suffocation? (?) I’m not so sure that the ascent records for 1850 would’ve made allowance for running out of oxygen at high altitudes–if not, then how did this man suffocate? According to the Dictionary of National Biography, which, somehow, admitted (George) Gale (1797-1850) to its pages, reported that he died as a result of a misunderstanding of language, sent back into the heavens after landing with his pony, his balloon mistakenly released with none of its ballast remaining, with him attached to it still. It was his 114th flight, which was quite allot, but not evidently enough. Gale was a very colorful character, being an actor, then finding his way out to the American west and returning with several of the Indians he encountered and “exhibiting” them at the Victoria Theatre, and then becoming an Irish blockade defender before turning to ballooning.

The whole blog is worth hours of your time. We can’t possibly get enough of their minor obsession with pre-modern spaceflight.


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