German aircraft shoots down balloon, gets shot down

Ewan was up at the Vintage Aero Flying Museum yesterday, helping get ready for the opening Saturday, and heard there was some footage shot in WWI of a German aircraft being shot down.  And it turns out the VAFM has some pieces of the aircraft in that footage.

Also it turns out the footage is on YouTube, so Ewan was very impressed to watch this video and realize he had just been holding in his hand pieces of that actual shot-down airplane.

This video also shows how big (and ugly…) the observation balloons of WWI were, and how it was kind of spectacular to see one get shot down.  However, although it would seem shooting down a balloon would be the easiest job for a pilot, it was actually one of the hardest.  Balloons were at a known height, so it was possible to put a curtain of antiaircraft fire around them, through which an attacking aircraft had to fly.  Also, these balloons were so big the hole from a regular bullet was a very small leak.  They had to be set on fire with incendiary bullets, as this balloon obviously was. More details on shooting down balloons here, from Eddie Rickenbacker himself.

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