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Not Full of Hot Air

July 25, 1999

I was pleased to see the story concerning the 19th century photographer and balloonist Gaspard Felix Tournachon (Nadar), but the article viewed yesterday's events through today's lens by saying that much of Nadar's fortune was lost to his obsession with piloting "hot-air balloons" ("The Changing Faces of Fame," by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, July 18).

Be assured that, in all probability, never in his life was Nadar in a hot-air balloon. Although that particular lifting body ushered in the age of flight and is favored today, in the previous century it was considered obsolete. Nadar's balloons, like the modern Goodyear blimp and the aerostat used by the great Oz, were filled with a lighter-than-air gas.

JACK TOMCHAK

Costa Mesa

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