The balloons previously mentioned were not steerable, that is, they flew were the wind took them. Throughout the XIX century, scientists focused their attention toward developing balloons that could be steered.
The man to achieve the first powered, controlled, sustained flight with a machine lighter than air is considered to be Henri Giffard. He flew 25 km in France with a steam engine driven craft in 1852.
The first fully controllable free-flight was made with La France, a 52 m long, 1,900 m3, electric powered airship powered by an 8-1/2 horsepower electric motor and developed by Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs. La France flew 8 km in 23 minutes in 1884.
However, balloons were generally short-lived and extremely frail. Routine, controlled flights would not come to pass until the advent of the internal combustion engine.
The man who first took advantage of the internal combustion engine on a balloon was Alberto Santos-Dumont, from Brazil. His airship, "Number 6" flew over Paris and steered it to circle the Eiffel Tower and then returned to his takeoff point, the Parc Saint Cloud in less than half an hour.
In our next article we will cover the first attempts at flying with a machine heavier than air.