10 November 2005

Hot Air Balloons - History & More

Quote of the day (or in this case – poetry)

High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never the lark, nor even eagle flew- And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high, untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
John Gillespie Magee
American Aviator & Poet
(1922-1941)

It is long past my bi-weekly post - busy, busy, busy and still busy.

Came across this delightful pastime surfing the web the other day and share here some old and new balloon craft and a bit of it's history.

Photo credit: Strange Cosmos
Hot air balloons float over the dome of the Russian Orthodox church in the ancient Russian town of Sergiev Posad, July 19, 2002.

A sheep, a duck, and a rooster become the first passengers in a hot air balloon launched by the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Ettienne.- September 19, 1783.

The first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon took place in Paris. Built from paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers, this balloon was piloted on a 22 minute flight by two noblemen from the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

From the center of Paris they ascended 500 feet before landing miles away in the vineyards. Local farmers were very suspicious of this fiery dragon descending from the sky. The pilots offered champagne to placate them and to celebrate the first human flight, a tradition carried on to this day. November 21, 1783

Photo credit: eballoon.org

Italian, Vincenzo Lunardi, made the first balloon flight outside of France. The 500 cubic metre balloon flew from Moorfields in England and landed near Ware. September 15, 1784

Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries became the first to fly across the English Channel. January 7, 1785


Double Eagle II Flying the Atlantic
Photo credit: eballoon.org

The first balloon flight in North America took place in Philadelphia and was piloted by .Jean Pierre Blanchard January 9, 1793

The first man-carrying free flight took place at Bruning, Nebraska, in the Raven prototype ‘modern’ hot-air balloon. The 30,000 cu ft envelope was constructed of a polyurethane coated nylon and the burner was propane powered. October 10, 1960.

The balloons used for passenger flights today were developed in the United States during the 1960's and have two advances: using rip-stop nylon, a very safe and reliable material for the envelope and running an LPG gas burner to heat the air in the envelope.

Ballooning began as a sport with a few enthusiasts in the USA and England and spread to Australia in the 1970s.Today there are over 5,000 balloon pilots in the U.S. alone.


Photo credit: Strange Cosmos

‘ARKY’ has been used as a vehicle to draw attention to the plight of abused children. ARKY is owned by Merrit Ministry and its Trustee, veteran balloon pilot Robert Schaible based in Tracy, California. ARKY has a passenger list of 28 animals beginning with Anonymous Hippopotamus to Zuba Zebra. Unlike the original Noah's Ark, ARKY holds only two "human" passengers and its pilot.

Photo credit: Strange Cosmos

A cathedral shaped hot-air balloon designed to celebrate the 200-year-jubilee of St.Gallen is prepared for its first flight in St.Gallen, Switzerland, Jan. 6, 2003.


The most complicated special shape built at Kubicek Balloons. Airborne on 1st December 2002

Photo credit: Strange Cosmos
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - Albuquerque, N.M.

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