The Fascinating World of Hot-Air Balloon
Balloons are all something which is loved and fancied by all of us as a child. To some extent, we can say our love for balloons is ageless. We all still get fascinated by balloons flying up in the sky. If you are someone who loves balloons just like we do then you would surely like hot-air balloons too. Hot-Air balloons are lighter than air aircraft(yes, it is an aircraft). All around the world, hot-air balloons are used by tourists to get the most spectacular view of the landscape, for various sports and recreational events. As per Wikipedia, the hot-air balloon is the first successful human-carrying flight technology.
Hot-Air balloons were carrying people through the air even before Wright brothers were born, in fact almost a century before Wright brothers. It is one of the oldest forms of air transport. Two siblings from back 17 century named Etienne Montgolfier and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier invented the first Hot-air balloon in 1783 out of silk and paper.
Just like monkeys and dogs used for first space flights. An equally odd-assortment of animals were picked to understand the effect of flight. In 1783 when the first Hot-Air balloon was set to fly a rooster, a duck and a sheep were the first passengers on it.
There is a tradition in ballooning that after a flight both passengers and crew celebrate the flight with some champagne. There is a fascinating history behind the origination of this tradition. When hot-air balloons started becoming popular in late 17th century French aristocracy realised that farmers are not quite happy that rich people are setting balloons on their farmland. So, aristocrats decided to share their celebratory champagne with farmers as a goodwill gesture.
As mentioned earlier first balloon was created mostly out of silk and paper which was hand stitched and heat was created by smoke and wood fires and rides were shorter. So how are the hot-air balloons created today? Hot-Air balloons have evolved a lot since their first flight. We have witnessed a lot of technological advancements in both the Hot-air Baloon and its usage. Heat on the ground is created now by propane. The burners are designed loosely based on thrusters from a space shuttle. These burners superheat the propane and give them 3 times more power than the usual. The pear-shaped balloon part is called envelope, which contains heated air, is now made of materials such as ripstop nylon or dacron. The gondola or the wicker basket is the one which carries passengers. Baskets are commonly made of woven wicker or rattan. These materials are light, strong, and durable for balloon flight.
In 2010, Christian Brown debuted is glass bottom gondola. Most of the passengers ended up shrieking and screaming with fear. So, we suggest glass-bottom hot-air balloons are not for everyone but it would be fascinating to try a ride is one of the normal ones. And live our childhood fantasy of flying in air with balloons.