June 5th National Hot Air Balloon Day

The principal behind the hot air balloon is simple enough, air is heated by propane tanks in the basket, causing the air to expand in the envelope (the balloon) making it ascend. To make it descend a parachute valve on the top of the balloon, which is attached to a cord in the basket, is opened allowing the air to escape.

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To pilot the balloon is a little more complicated. Air travels in different directions in the atmosphere, you will need to know what level these air drafts are located at to get the balloon to travel in a particular direction. The first hot air balloon was launched by Pilatre De Rozier in 1783 (the “Aerostat Reveillon”). It stayed aloft for 15 minutes with a sheep, duck, and rooster as passengers.

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The 1st manned flight came 2 months later when brothers Joseph and Etieine Montgolfier flew for 20 minutes.

Later, Rozier, used a combination of hot air and hydrogen as he tried to cross the English Channel in a balloon. The balloon blew up killing, Rozier, and ending the experiment.

Frenchman, Jean Pierre Blanchard, and American, John Jeffries, were the first to fly successfully across the English Channel in 1785. In 1932, Auguste Piccard, reached the stratosphere flying in a hot air balloon. Who knows what heights it will reach in the future…

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How to celebrate: Find a place to take a Hot Air Balloon ride.  Find a toy hot air balloon and experiment in your own backyard. Go to a hot air balloon festival.


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