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Hot Air Balloon Ride

Updated on May 18, 2012

Taking a hot air balloon ride has been on my bucket list for years. It seems like such a peaceful and reverent way to view the landscape. The photo above is simply breathtaking.

I've been to a couple of hot air balloon glows. If you've never been this is an event held in the late evening and with the balloons securely anchored, they fire up the burners so that it casts warm yellowy light into the balloon allowing it to glow against the darkness of dusk. All of the colors of the various balloons are muted by the yellow haze of the glow but it's incredibly beautiful and unlike anything else you'll see.

I decided to begin doing a little research about hot air balloon rides in hopes of getting my chance soon to live this dream. I thought I'd share what I found with you.

Beautiful hot air balloon ride (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
Beautiful hot air balloon ride (Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
  • The First Manned Untethered Balloon Ride: November 21, 1783 made in Paris, France by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent d'Arlandes. The balloon was created by Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier in Annonay, France. King Louis XVI had actually decreed that condemned criminals would be the first pilots, but de Rozier and d'Arlandes petitioned for the honor.

  • Envelope: the bulbous cloth portion of the balloon. It's normally made of ripstop nylon or Dacron polyester with the lower portion being made of fire resistant Nomex.. The fabric is sewn in double lap seams or flat seams in sections called gores and can contain from 4-24 or more gores.
  • Gondola: the basket or capsule portion of the balloon that holds the passengers and the heat source.
  • Sizes: The smallest balloons can have envelopes that hold 21,000 ft of envelope volume and are called Cloudhoppers or hoppers. The largest envelopes hold up to 600,000 ft. of volume and can carry over 2 dozen people. Most balloons are around 100,000 ft. of volume and carry 3 to 5 people. A wicker basket gondola can hold 16 passengers.
  • Today's Hot Air Balloon Design: Pioneered by Ed Yost in the 50s. His first successful flight took place on October 22, 1960.
  • First Modern-Day hot air balloon: The Bristol Belle built in the UK in 1967.
  • World Record for Altitude in a Hot Air Balloon: Vijaypat Singhania set the record on November 26, 2005, reaching 68,986 feet breaking the previous record of 64,997 feet set back in 1988 by Per Lindstrand (born in Sweden, living in the UK) in Plano, Texas.
  • Longest Flight: Per Lindstrand & Richard Branson flew 4,767 miles from Japan to Northern Canada. on January 15, 1991 in the Virgin Pacific Flyer balloon
  • Longest duration of a flight: 50 hours and 38 minutes made by Michio Kanda and Hirosuke Tekezawa of Japan on January 2, 1997.
  • Largest manufacturer of Hot Air Balloons in the World: Cameron Balloons of Bristol, England, who also own Lindstrand Balloons of Oswestry, England.


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    • kloydskii profile image

      kloydskii 5 years ago

      hey! this is very helpful.. you may all read my article about hot air ballooning here:

    • profile image

      andyx523 6 years ago


      Great Hot Air Balloon Hub I own a hot air ballooning website maybe we can exchange links or meet up at the next Bristol Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Hot Air balloon Site

      One of the Balloon Videos Shot Last Year

    • profile image

      celestial elf 7 years ago

      Beautiful Picture!!!

      The early flights were incredible, and momentous for their impact on our aviatory history,

      I have made a machinima film to try and convey the sense of world chaning events that thee early flights represented

      hope you like it,

      best wishes *

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Thank you ratnaveera!

    • ratnaveera profile image

      ratnaveera 7 years ago from Cumbum

      Any chance for meeting accidents while flying on hot air baloons? Very interesting Hub! Thanks a lot!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      It'll be so big that it'll barely make it off the ground and just skim over the falls so that I get dripping wet from the spray. LOL *makes a note to buy a raincoat*

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      *smiling, seeing the picture in my head of this huge balloon over Niagara Falls.

      Make sure you let us all know when it's happening and we will all tune in to our local news stations to watch it live!


    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      I'll have to think about what record I could set. Maybe.....the first to ride in a new balloon that's bigger than any other in the past? LOL

      Thanks Duchess!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Awe KCC Big Country, where's your sense of adventure! You set a new record, and we all get to brag about knowing you!

      Wait.....we all brag about knowing you now

      Well, just imagine how much more clout that would have if you set a new record!


    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Oh, now, see, you shouldn't have done that! Now you've added more to my bucket list. Niagara Falls is already on my list and to do a balloon ride over it, OMG..that's just the ultimate! Thanks! :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      I was impressed by the statistics. The highest altitude is over 13 MILES high! That would frightened me right out of my knickers! The longest balloon ride, over 4 DAYS!

      But they are beautiful. We live an hour and a half away from Niagara Falls, and one of the favorite tourist and honeymoon things to do is take a balloon ride over the falls. Me, I like my two feet either on the ground or in a boat!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Duchess! I don't know about setting any records!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      KCC Big County - Go for it! If it's on your bucket list - you just gotta do it :)

      Interesting information from your research. Maybe you can shoot for a new world record?

      Looking forward to reading your Hub that describes the thrill of the ride!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Dohn! The idea scares me a little too, just because it seems like the basket is so small and fragile. But, I still want to do it. Maybe one of those big 24 passenger ones will be better?

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Due to the fact that I'm terrified of heights, I just might do this for the sheer excitement of it all! I really liked the facts that you included and riding on a hot-air balloon is going on my bucket-list too! Thanks, KCC Big Country.