The story
of the great Tethered Balloon

From the comic story of the Moon and the Sun by Cyrano de Bergerac to Jules Verne’s science-fiction narratives, ballooning amazes and holds a unique place in the collective imagination. It was finally in the second half of the eighteenth century that we witnessed the first human flight, with the Montgolfier brothers, flying over Paris at 1000 meters altitude.

At the same time, in full French revolution, the first prototypes of captive balloons are developed. They are designed for strictly military use, and the army then orders the serial construction of captive balloons. It was not until the middle of the 19th century to see the emergence of real builders of captive balloons. The first is undoubtedly Henry Giffard, but those who will actively launch industrial manufacturing are the members of the Godard family. From 1880, the builders multiply and new prototypes are imagined. Neighboring countries in turn launch models of captive balloons, Riedinger in Germany, Zeppelin in England …
Encouraged by the success of captive balloons, the military begins to use them as real air observatories – able to observe the theater of operations from the air. The recurrent defects of the balloons are corrected, they become more resistant to the wind, less visible, more efficient. Countries snapped up the plans for these balloons, and in 1917, captive balloons were designed to protect strategic cities. But eventually, the army will eventually abandon them, and the know-how of captive balloons will disappear with the Second World War.


In 1993, Jérôme Giacomoni and Matthieu Gobbi created the Aerophile company and relaunched the construction of a captive balloon.

With the absence of similar gear on the market, the co-founders then design, themselves, a device called Aerophile. A significant technical challenge – with the disappearance of plans and prototypes, all the technical specifications have to be redefined. A year later, on April 18, 1994, the first great tethered balloon of modern times was born. Never had such a big balloon been built for decades. It is installed in the castle of Chantilly, and a few weeks are enough for the first passengers to fly aboard the craft. An immediate success, which will not stop there. 2 years later, three new systems are installed in Germany, Australia and China south of Shanghai. In 1999, three new Aerophiles in France, and after six seasons of use, the system has proven itself and remains compliant with safety standards: the future of Aerophile is radiant, that of the balloon captive also.

And the rest of the story, you know it. Today, Aerophile is the world’s leading captive balloon with 120 balloons sold in 40 countries.