Flying over Lisbon

Bartolomeu Gusmão, a priest born in Brazil in 1685, was probably the first human to fly. On August 8, 1709, in the presence of King John V and his court, Gusmão soared four meters above the ground, held by a paper balloon full of hot air.

This moment of triumph was followed by years of failure and disappointment. Gusmão worked tirelessly on an airship called Passarola. He planned to fly it over Lisbon, but his invention never left the ground. Gusmão’s contemporaries considered him a fool for thinking that a heavy machine could fly. What would they say if they saw us land in Lisbon aboard a modern version of the Passarola?

3 thoughts on “Flying over Lisbon

  1. Hey there,

    I have just been to lisbon myself, its wonderful! Do you have an e-mail adress? I was wondering if you have space for guestarticles? Would be amazing if you could get back to me.
    Best regards,


  2. It’s especially exciting landing in Lisbon when the plane you’re on has to make a last second regress back in the air, because there is another plane heading toward it on the runway……whoosh…….Lisbon cityscape and ocean out one side of the plane , and nothing but blue sky out the other side’s windows. Beautiful views, but not the way one would want to see them…on a plane that’s wings are perpendicular to the ground!!

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