Balloons to Biplanes
The first chance to carry observers aloft came in the 18th century with the invention of the hot-air balloon. Then, with the advent of photography in the 19th century, came the first aerial photographs, taken by a French balloonist. At about the same time in the United States, Abraham Lincoln was commissioning the U.S. Army Balloon Corps to spy on Confederate troops. Next >>
As the 19th century closed, kites and pigeons were used to gather images from above. In 1908 Wilbur Wright and photographer L.P. Bonvillain captured the first photos from a plane. A year later Wright shot the first aerial motion pictures.