Man is different from an animal only in certain respects. His bodily organs do not differ vastly from those of other mammals such as sheep, cow, a horse or a dog. Yet he is the only animal to invent tools and make use of them. It is so, because he is mentally different. Thus, over the years, he has made many fascinating discoveries through the use of machineries. All of machineries invented fascinate people. However, the most fascinating one is the one that enables man to fly.
Since time immemorial, humans have been fascinated by the concept of flying. The desire to scale the heavens and penetrate the fabric of the sky intrigued many ancient geniuses, the most prominent being Leonardo da Vinci. He drew many rudimentary plans of flying machines in the vain hope of inventing a contraption which could maintain a sustained flight in the air. Many of the earlier attempts of air travel reflect the ingenuity of their makers. Some tried to emulate birds by putting wings and then throwing themselves off a high point; others sought to utilize he concept of kite flying by securing people onto large, specially constructed kites. Needless to say, such valiant attempts failed as they could not put up a prolonged flight.
Advances in the air travel were made in the eighteenth century following the industrial revolution when science made significant leaps and bounds. Hot air balloons were the first real creations which allowed people to stay up in the sky for long periods. The romance of travel by the hot air balloon was popularized by the enormously successful novel, "Around the World in Eighty Days", where the protagonist of the story used a hot air balloon to cover an exciting leg of his trip. .
With some modifications here and there, the concept of the hot air balloon was used to create blimps - huge air balloons filled with hydrogen or helium and carrying passengers in their "bellies". The instability of blimp travel was woefully highlighted in the Hinderburg tragedy in the 1900s when a blimp from Germany exploded into flames.