Henri GiffardBaptiste Jules Henri Jacques Giffard, better known simply as Henri Giffard, was born on 8 February 1825 in Paris, France. After studying mechanical engineering, he became quite famous as an inventor and engineer. By the 1850s, it was a known fact that people could be lifted into the air by balloons filled with a light gas, but these could not be used to transport people over useful distances.

However, in 1852, Giffard built the world's first steerable airship, known as a dirigible, from the French word 'dirigir', meaning 'to steer.’ As a result of the ability to be steered, it also became the world's first passenger-carrying airship. Giffard designed a lightweight steam engine, which produced 2 200 W (about 3 hp), to turn a large three-bladed propeller. The airship was 43 m long and could fly at an average speed of 5 km/h, if there were not any headwinds. On 24 September that year, he flew from the Hippodrome in Paris to Trappes, just outside the city. Meanwhile, also during the 1850s, Giffard gained more fame as an engineer for developing a steam injector, which prevented steam engines from running out of steam when not in motion. Giffard continued developing balloons and airships throughout his life. In 1878, he famously used a tethered balloon to photograph Paris from the air. Giffard committed suicide on 14 April 1882, at the age of 57. His name is engraved on the Eiffel Tower, along with the names of 71 other engineers, scientists and mathematicians.
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