HB Mini: The Aeronauts

this episode’s sponsored by curiosity stream so here’s a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while now but didn’t have the chance to at all recently and when I did I thought that this would make a great history buffs mini as often as I can I try to pick historical films I’ll help add variety to the channel with the aeronauts its story takes place during the Victorian era that special time in history where mankind was pushing the boundaries of science and questioning the natural world around us one scientist in particular a meteorologist named James glacier wanted to study the atmosphere he believed that by measuring the temperature and humidity at different elevations would help pave the way to predicting the weather itself well at that time the only way to investigate this was by balloon on the 5th of September 1862 glacier and his pilot took part in an experiment in a gas balloon named the mammoth the largest balloon ever constructed they would take off and fly higher than any human being had ever been before in their a sense they’ve reached 37,000 feet that’s the cruising altitude of modern airliners and higher than the reach of Mount Everest as you can imagine this experiment was fraught with danger and nearly ended in disaster suffering from lack of oxygen and freezing temperatures the two pioneers began to lose their vision their ability to think and the use of their muscles as they drifted higher and higher to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere now this experiment did happen but don’t expect this movie to be a faithful account of it the filmmakers took more than a few liberties in telling this story which has angered a lot of history buffs but at the very least they had the decency to tell us that this movie was inspired by true events and not based on true events which does give them some creative freedom to work with just as long as filmmakers don’t take things too far then I’m usually fine with it so what I’m gonna do in this mini episode is to point out a few of the biggest inaccuracies I think people have a problem with and then I’ll briefly explain why still like it and then you could judge for yourself how I feel about it one way or the other let’s start off with everyone’s biggest complaint the character of Amelia Wren she’s an aeronaut and a pilot who flies the balloon whilst James glacier does his experiments now what is true their glacier didn’t travel alone his pilot’s wasn’t a woman but a man named Henry Cox well there’s a is picture of them together and in the 28th ascent a glacier made between 1862 and 1866 Henry Coxwell was usually his pilots so the fact their close relationship is completely omitted from the movie in favor of this fictional character can understand Lee be seen as poor taste especially since Henry Coxwell was the one who saved glaciers life on that fateful day without being said although Amelia red wasn’t real she is based on the famous balloonist Sophie Blanchard the main differences between them of course the Selphy Blanchard was French not English and grew up in the Napoleonic era and not during Victorian times but apart from those two things the similarities between them were obvious why camellias Sophie was also married to a famous balloonist one of the very first in fact his name was Jean Pierre Blanchard and we see some of his influences in the movie for example he would warm up the crowd with firework demonstrations before sending in his balloon and in 1785 he carried out the first successful parachute experiment with a dog [Applause] now we don’t know when the two exactly married but they started flying together around 1804 and they captured Europe’s imagination at the time the novelty of a woman in a balloon through large crowds even more so in 1805 when Sophie Blanchard became the first woman to pilot a balloon alone however this husband-and-wife team Korea was cut short in 1808 when Jean Pierre suffered a heart attack and fell from his balloon and a year later died from his injuries but before you think this was inspired the scene in the movie when Amelia wrens husband Pierre falls from their balloon that was also inspired by another ballooning accident in the aeronaut so we find that that Pierre sacrificed himself save Amelia when it looked like the two of them were going to crash which sounds exactly like the story of how English balloonist Thomas Harris died well one theory anyway it’s been disputed over the years whether it’s true or not in 1824 Thomas Harris was flying with his female companions southeast ox when the gas release valve became stuck causing the balloon to drop sharply together they dumped as much weight as they possibly could but still the balloon continued to fall and in a moment of desperation Thomas Harris slept to his death making the balloon light enough to save Sofie stalks so anyway after Jean Pierre Blanchard died Sophie Blanchard carried on a career as a professional balloonist like we see with Amelia Wren she wore colorful costumes performed death-defying stunts and took off at over 60 ascents sometimes a little more than a chair Sophie also got the attention of Napoleon Bonaparte who named her the official aranaut of the Empire much to the disapproval of her male competitors Napoleon even consulted her over the possibility of invading Great Britain with an army of troop carrying balloons needless to say this idea never took off tragically Sophie Blanchard died in 1819 when her balloon caught fire and crashed into a house in Paris so that takes care of Amelia Wren Hanna origin and the reason why I’m not as bothered with her character some people are because at least these inaccuracies are somewhat based on history the filmmakers didn’t just make stuff up it’s clear that they did their research on balloon history and used her to build an authentic character one inspired by real people and events but let’s take a look at an inaccuracy that I have more of an issue with that no one’s really talking about is that Ben in the movie where James glacier is at the Royals I see where he pitches his theory about weather prediction and wants to go up in a balloon to find out but instead he is mocked by his peers I ask for funding for my own expedition into the skies by gathering enough data I believe that we will be able to uncover Pappy’s and correlations yes scientists not fortune tellers you were talking about weather prediction is that not our responsibility as scientists to find order in chaos gentlemen please if we know predicting the movements of the weather than the movements of a frog in a jar this is another one of your Hollywood cliches with a protagonist and this theories are always ridiculed in the first act until he inevitably proves everyone wrong at the end it’s often used as a plot device for character development that’s why we see it so often in other movies well who do you think I don’t have any idea the problem with these Hollywood hopes is they don’t always work when it comes to historical movies in this case because we know what happened James glacier and his theories the thing is he wasn’t a pariah that was mocked by his peers he was actually taken very seriously and was a member of many different scientific societies not just the Royal Society and although meteorology was still in its infancy glacier was regarded as an authority in that field he was regularly sending our reports to the newspapers publishing scientific articles and books on the subject but not only is he seen as a quack in the movie he has to get funding for his expedition through private investors who are clearly more interested in the ticket sales than the experiment itself this is Ned one of the hard entrepreneurs is invested in our expedition do not even think of telling me flight is not possible I have paid for gas I have paid for silk and is this balloon not a strongest and largest it’s ever been even so it can’t fight the weather you don’t want to be responsible for a tragedy sir I don’t wish to be responsible for refunding the 10,000 that came here because you probably see this pretty well slime there well okay this is just nonsense the truth is James glacier didn’t have to organize everything himself because he had the support and the financial backing or the British Association for the Advancement of science which he was a member of and the idea of doing aryl experiments wasn’t even glaciers to begin with it was brought up in a meeting in 1858 and by 1862 they all agreed to fund it what James glacier did was volunteer to perform these dangerous tests himself with a pilot which was welcomed by his peers he didn’t need to beg for a ride like he does in the movie I would like the opportunity to be or second I’ll prove a willing accomplice sir have you even been in a balloon I’ve studied them extensively do you have any experience of frostbite no air pressure the mind-altering effects of a lack of oxygen to the brain how else does one learn but by partaking find another madman to get in a balloon with in the movie Charles Green is portrayed to be almost like the villain but in real life he had some minor involvement in the experiment at first he was gonna directly a sense and have younger men cough in the balloon to take observations the reason he couldn’t do it himself was because a he was 77 years old and be Charles Cree wasn’t qualified to do the experiments in James Glacius book travels in the air he says of Charles Green and I quote he obtained a large experience and his accounts are all worthy of confidence but unfortunately his education was not sufficiently good to make him a competent observer in the higher regions of the atmosphere I could go further but I think you guys get the point James glacier didn’t go at it alone he had help so whilst the movie may not be completely accurate I did appreciate that at least he was trying to be authentic like if you look at some of the many beautiful shots in the film such as the sky graph you’ll find Thea directly inspired by the illustrations from James glaciers book travels in the air I also loved all the scenes that shows what life is like up in the clouds where there be James glacier seeing an aural for the first time or migration of butterflies riding an air currents 10,000 feet up or even the very stillness of the environment they’re in have you noticed it’s completely silent ha they also include a really cool fact about ballooning that I didn’t know about apparently when you’re 10,000 or 20,000 feet up you can actually hear sounds from the ground because the balloon itself is empty and acts as an amplifier it’s about bells horses so the humid conditions must be conducting the circus out of the streets going through storm and still London follows us I honestly love this stuff it’s all based on real science but with it you still get that romantic sense of adventure and discovery I mean this is why I enjoyed the aeronaut s– as much as I did now of course there are a few scenes that are overly – mattis eyes like when they fly through their freak storm that pops out of nowhere which never happened or that bit at the end where miele iran has to climb on top of the balloon so she can reach the gas release valve those frozen shut which is a bit ridiculous considering how difficult it would be to climb it given how high they are and this all has to do with the physical impairments that freezing temperatures lack of oxygen and low air pressure has on the human body because after 10,000 feet he stopped feeling uncomfortable after 20,000 we start to pass out and after 30,000 feet well your body starts to die so you might be wondering if this part is exaggerated then what exactly happened James glacier and Henry Cox well well after 29,000 feet James glacier could no longer read his instruments as his vision blurred then he lost the use of his muscles and shortly passed out glacier described it in his book as balloon sickness and he wrote in an instance intense darkness overcame me so that the optic nerve lost power suddenly but are still conscious with his active as a brain as of the present moment while writing this I thought open seas was fix ear and believer she experienced nothing more as death would come unless we speedily descended Henry Cox wells body also grew weaker by the second and knew he had to pull the ripcord then reach up to the gas release valve to initiate a descent problem was that the cord had pulled out of reach and he was running out of time as the balloon was ascending at 1,000 feet per minute so the great difficulty Cox or climbed onto the load ring but because he had lost the use of his hands he could not grasp the cord so instead he caught it with his teeth and yanked his head until the gas released and the balloon finally descended now as terrifying of an experience that would be for you or for me I don’t think you would translate as well for an action scene as the one they have in the movie even if it isn’t that realistic but in the end what this film stays true to the most were the importance of these experiments the purpose of this flight wasn’t to break some record in a daredevil stunt it was to investigate and understand the weather that governs the forces of our planet to the benefits of all mankind all I ask is to be given the freedom to undertake my experiments I’m not a coach I’m for hire good focus I’m looking for a fellow scientist to understand the weather miss really is to understand how to make ships and sailors safer farmers more productive so we can prepare ourselves in our world for floods the droughts famines we could save thousands of lives there are many elements behind our weather but three of its most key ingredients are wind water and temperature and to this very day meteorologists carry on the mission left behind by James glacier and other pioneers of his day in unlocking its secrets and there’s this great documentary series called wild weather with Richard Hammond that breaks them down to their most basic level and recreates them in fascinating experiments to find out answers to such questions like how much does a cloud way is it possible to hear lightning and sea thunder or my absolute favorite what is it like to stand in a tornado just because it’s cold in there [Music] [Music] it’s definitely worth checking out if he into this sort of thing and if you are you can find this documentary in thousands like it on curiosity stream is this subscription streaming service has nothing on it but documentaries including history and he could watch them all for just $2.99 a month but the best part is that fans of history buffs can get their first 30 days for free and what’s more is that with curiosity stream we all should be getting nebula for free and other streaming service host content for many creators including history buffs it’s a platform without the restrictions of advertiser friendly policies you’d find elsewhere so basically any videos of mine that need to be heavily edited or go missing will have no problem being uploaded to nebula the way they were meant to be seen to get started all you have to do is enter the promo code QRC stream comm forward slash history buffs
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6MNb6kKZUw

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