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The pioneering days of aviation started in the late eighteenth century when the Montgolfier brothers developed the hot-air balloon and Professor Charles made a balloon powered by gas. Hot on their heels was Lieutenant Jean Baptiste Meusnier who designed an airship. It was to be propelled by human power and was so large and ambitious its only modern day equivalents are the space projects. Unfortunately, Meusnier died before he could actually build it. Had he done so, it would have been the world's first airship.
Now, over two hundred years later, the Building the Impossible team are
charged with attempting to build, and test, his magnificent flying machine.
Meusnier reckoned it would be able to lift a 20m longboat plus 30 men
on-board providing the power. Is the team up to the task of engineering
a machine capable of lifting them hundreds of feet in the air - without
plunging to the ground? Even if they manage to provide the power to move
the airship, the whole project could be scuppered by the notoriously unpredictable