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Hot Air Balloon Ride
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.
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.
Great Links and Resources
A hot air balloon festival directory.
- Texas Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Texas.
- Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Oct 3-11, 2009
- Bristol Balloon Fiesta by Hubber Bristol Boy
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is an annual event which happens in the English city of Bristol. The Bristol Balloon Fiesta generally happens at the beginning of August and 2009 is no different with...