Have you ever thought of what makes a Hot Air Balloon fly? The principle is very basic ‘hot air rises up while the cold air falls’. The heated air inside the balloon makes it buoyant because of its lower density than the relatively cold air outside the balloon.
1. The large balloon which we see on top is called an ‘envelope’. They have a standard balloon shape; others are designed to look like animals, cartoon characters and other fun objects. There are more than thousands of designs.
2.‘Aerostat Reveillon’ was the name of the first hot air balloon, it was launched on 19 sep 1783 by scientist Pilatre De Rozier, it stayed in the air for 15 long minutes and then crashed back to the ground, the passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster!.
3. Two months later on 21st November came the first manned attempt, with a balloon made by Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier 2 French brothers. It was launched from the hub of Paris and it flew for 20 minutes…the beginning of Hot Air Ballooning!!!
4. Pilatre De Rozier the world’s first balloonist was also the first to die in it! He used an experimental design due to which it exploded in half an hour after takeoff.
5. In 1785 Jean Pierre Blanchard (French balloonist) & John Jefferies (American co pilot) became the first to fly across English Channel. During these early days of Hot Air Balloon, the English Channel was the first step to long distance ballooning it was a large benchmark in the history of Hot Air Balloon.
6. Longest hot air balloon originated in Japan and contacted ground in northern Canada & it was piloted by Richard Branson. This flight was also the fastest with 245 miles per hour.
7. Hot Air Balloon festival hosted at Albuquerque in New Mexico each year is the world’s largest hot air balloons festival and lasts for about nine days in October. More than 500 Balloons lift off from the Balloon Fiesta Park.
8. Hot air balloon cannot fly in the rain because the high heat inside of the envelope will bring rain to boiling temperatures on top of the balloon, this will destroy hot air balloon fabric.
9. Two Frenchmen participated in a hot air balloon duel resulting in their death in 1808. To win the heart of a famous opera singer the men took to the skies in Paris and gunshot at each others’ balloons.
10. Below 120 degrees Celsius is the temperature usually maintained inside a hot air balloon
11. Hot air balloons were used during the American Civil War by both sides for conducting aerial reconnaissance and artillery spotting missions.
12. A very interesting fact most people are probably not aware of, Hot air balloons have a chase crew, and this is a ground crew which follows the hot air balloon flight in a chase vehicle. The chase vehicle must be big enough to take on the wicker basket, the balloon as well as the passengers at the end of the balloon flight.
13. 68,986 feet is the record height for a hot air balloon. This was piloted by Vijaypat Singhania, he and his co-pilot had to wear an oxygen mask to stay alive at such great heights.
14. Several thousands of feet above the earth and nothing between you and the ground except a glass. This is exactly what passengers enjoyed when Christian Brown introduced his hot air balloon with a glass-bottom at the 2010. The passengers were shrieking and screaming in fear!
15. A common tradition among balloonists is to have a champagne toast upon landing. Legend has it that early French aeronauts carried champagne to appease angry or frightened spectators at the landing site.