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Dr. Piccard’s Flight to Fame

On May 20, 1965 in the City of Dearborn, Dr. Jeannette Piccard was honored with a dinner at Greenfield Village. She was also recognized with a memorial at William B. Stout Middle School, both of which are still located on Oakwood Boulevard. At the bottom is a picture of the momument.

Dr. Piccard was most famously known for her hot air balloon ride that took her up 57,559 feet all the way into the stratosphere. The flight itself took place back in 1934, and it began at the Ford Airport right here in Dearborn.

First-Woman-to-Reach-the-Stratosphere

As written in an article in The Dearborn Press, “Dr. Piccard’s flight was not a stunt, but a scientific achievement.” In fact, Dr. Piccard and her husband were performing an experiment to “investigate the nature of cosmic rays.”

The flight was rather impactful, as their findings contributed to the space program at the time. Not only that, the height of 57,559 feet was a record altitude for a woman that was not broken until the Russian cosmonette was launched into space.

Dr. Piccard and her family were all highly accomplished. Her historic flight made Jeannette Piccard the first woman to pilot a balloon in the stratosphere. Her husband Jean and his twin Auguste created the  bathyscaph in 1905. Their three sons were accomplished scientists as well. The events honoring her were part of a Heritage Day feature of the Michigan Week celebration in Dearborn during May of 1965.

This just a small portion of this city’s rich history. If you do not remember this, or if you think we are full of “hot air” like Dr. Piccard’s balloon, then come pay us a visit at the Dearborn Historical Museum, and read about it in our archives. We would love to meet you and share with you the history of Dearborn.

piccard_monument

If you can’t make it out, the plaque read’s, “Near this location and not far from The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village was located the Ford Airport. Here, aviation history was made on October 23, 1934, when Dr. Jeannette Piccard made an ascent in a hydrogen filled balloon. Accompanying her was her husband Dr. Jean Piccard, scientific director and observer, who made a study of the cosmic rays. Jeannette Piccard was the first woman in the world to pilot a balloon into the stratosphere. Her 175 foot tall balloon attained an altitude of 57,559 feet.”

(Information retrieved from the archives of the Dearborn Historical Museum).

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