April 1965 - Monthly. Vol. 29, No. 4
Publication Office - Dublin, New Hampshire 03444
Contributed by Brenda Tackett, 7-5-10
||on top of the ground. It was circular, two-to-three-feet high,
with a diameter
of about two feet. Once the fire was going, the neck of the balloon was placed over the furnace and in twenty
or twenty-five minutes the sphere was inflated. All the available men and boys, usually about fifty, helped to
hold the balloon down, Wood was fed onto the pit through an iron door on the side; then kerosene or gasoline
was poured in to speed the filling process.
Photo #2 shows Bonnette, partially obscured by smoke, off and away. Just before take-off, Bonnette would shout to the stokers, "Just one more;" then a few minutes later, to the men and boys, "Okay, let 'er go!" Everyone let go at once and jumped quickly out of the way. Anyone who didn't would have ended up in the sky with the balloon--and no parachute. The pit can be seen on the ground' also the barrels and crates for fuel stowed by a corner of the fence.
Photo #3 shows Bonnette ascending on his trapeze. Two of his parachutes are visible below the balloon, which was made of one layer of a light-weight, very dirty-grey canvas. There was a weight attached to the top of the balloon so that when the aerialist cut loose it would turn over immediately, spilling out the smoke and hot air, and was therefore easily recoverable. It would come right down and not drift for miles. In descending, Bonnette would use three successive
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At age 73, Bonnette still had no desire to retire and is shown here keeping in shape for future jumps. At this time, he had jumped 4,784 times during his life and he wanted very much to make 5,000