King of Balloons honoured more than 200 years later

Filed under: Hot Air Balloon Pilots — Posted by: Mark Smith on November 2, 2016

The first hot air balloon pilot in England has recently been honoured, over 200 years after his first flight.

The Royal Aeronautical Society honoured James Sadler as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations on the 4th October. The celebrations, at Oxford Town Hall, finally honoured the first Englishman to fly in a hot air balloon.

Many people believe that he has never been celebrated previously as he wasn’t an educated man. However, on 4th October 1784, Sadler set off in his balloon from Christ Church College. He flew to around 3,600ft before he landed safely in Woodeaton, six miles away.

The great- great- great grandson of James Sadler was present at the celebrations, travelling all the way from Shropshire. Roy Sadler said that he was extremely proud of his ancestor and the recognition that he is receiving. Roy recreated the very same flight in 1984, but hasn’t flown since. He stated that he felt he had lost that connection with him, which is why attending the celebration in recognition of his achievements was so important to him.

Sadler became known as the King of Balloons, flying the hot air balloon in Cheltenham, Bristol and Birmingham. He started to experiment with balloons while he was working as a laboratory assistant at Oxford University. A new facility in Oxford is being planned, which will feature a tethered balloon like the one that he flew, while also detailing his many achievements so that his memory is preserved.