Crossing of the English Channel by Blanchard and Jeffries, 1785 (1890s). Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard and American Dr John Jeffries made the first aerial crossing of the English Channel in a hydrogen balloon on 7 January 1785. Taking off from Dover, Kent, they landed in the Foret de Felmores, France, approximately four and a half hours later. Famed throughout Europe for his ballooning, on 9 January 1793 Blanchard became the first person to fly a balloon in the USA. From the series The Dream of Flight. From a private collection.