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Hot Air Balloon Rides / Flights and Helium Filled Balloon Bouquets

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Hot Air Balloons - A brief guide to how they work.

Hot air balloon flight is based on the principal that hot air rises because it is lighter than cold air. To keep the air in the balloon warm, it has to be heated by a burner, which is positioned underneath the open balloon envelope. As the air cools, the hot air balloon pilot can reheat the air by firing the burner. In this way, the height of the balloon can be controlled. The other main part is the basket, in which the pilots and occupants sit.

If the pilot wishes to descend more quickly than just allowing the air to cool down, he can open the "Parachute Valve" which is situated at the top of the balloon. This valve is essentially a circle of material cut out at the top of the envelope. When the pilot wants to descend, he can pull on a chord which opens the valve, letting hot air escape and thus decreasing the air temperature inside the balloon.

Record Breakers

The following are the world records for hot air balloon flight:

  • The first team to circumnavigate the globe consisted of Betrand Piccard (Swiss) and Brian Jones (British) in the Breitling Orbiter 3. They set off on 1st March, 1999 and completed their voyage on 20th March,1999.
  • The first soloist to circumnavigate the globe was Steve Fossett, who started his voyage on 19 June 2002 and completed it on 2 July, 2002.
  • The first team to fly across the Atlantic Ocean were Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson in 1987.
  • The first team to fly across the Pacific Ocean were Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson in 1991.

A Brief History

  • 19th September, 1783 - The first hot air balloon flight. It was launched by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier (1754-1785) and contained a sheep, a duck and a cockeral. It stayed airborn for 15 minutes.
  • The first manned flight occurred two months later in Paris in the same year (21st November). The balloon stayed airborn for 20 minutes, and carried its designers, the French brothers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier.
  • The first flight across the English Channel was in 1785.
  • Sadly in this same year, the original inventor, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, was killed, when he attempted to cross the channel in his new design. His new design consisted of one balloon containing hot air and the other containing hydrogen. The hydrogen exploded, killing Pilâtre de Rozier and his companion.
  • 1793 marked the first flight in the US, by Jean Pierre Blanchard and watched by George Washington.
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