The hot air balloon is the oldest form of flight technology used for carrying humans, following the first manned flight in 1783. The balloon itself consists of an envelope, which is used to contain the hot air, and a gondola, where passengers and a means of creating hot air are typically housed.

The heated air inside the envelope has a lower density than that of the cold air outside, and this causes the balloon to rise. Hot Air Balloon Day is an annual celebration that marks the impact hot air balloons have had on travel and leisure.

Although out of the reach of many, the most common means of celebrating Hot Air Balloon Day is to take a hot air balloon ride. Although not ideal for those that are afraid of heights, or flying, there are companies and hot air balloon owners that offer special deals for these celebratory flights.

Learn about Hot Air Balloon Day

Hot air balloons are the oldest form of technology for carrying humans, and so they definitely deserve to be celebrated. This day is simply about paying honor to this mode of transport, and to raise awareness about the history of transport.  A hot air balloon is an aircraft that weighs less than air, which consists of a bag that has heated air inside. This bag is known as an envelope. Suspended underneath the envelope is a wicker basket or gondola that carries a source of heat and passengers.

Usually, the source of heat is caused by the burning of liquid propane in order to create an open flame. The envelope becomes buoyant because of the air inside that is heated, as it has a density that is lower than the colder air outside of the envelope. The hot air balloons that we see today have been created in so many different shapes, including commercial products that have been used to advertise businesses.

History of Hot Air Balloon Day

In order to understand the history of Hot Air Balloon Day, you need to understand the history of the hot air balloon. A precursor of this invention was the sky lantern. These airborne lanterns are part of Chinese history and culture, and they were initially invented in order to create signals for the military. 

The air balloon flight occurred on the 19th of September in 1783. This is when two French brothers, Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier developed a hot air balloon in France’s Annonay area. It was demonstrated to the public, making a flight that lasted for 10 minutes. After flights with animals and unmanned balloons had been experimented with, the first hot air balloon flight with humans on it occurred a month later, on the 15th of October, in 1783. Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier was the first person to take a hot air balloon flight.

The second human ascended into the air later that day; Pilatre de Rozier. It only took a few weeks for hot air balloon rides to then become a possibility for human passengers. It was originally decreed by King Louis XVI that condemned criminals would be the original pilots for hot air balloons. However, Marquis François d’Arlandes and de Rozier were successful in their petition for the honor. In 1794, the first use of hot air balloons in the military occurred. This was during the battle of Fleurus whereby the first use of a hot air balloon happened for observation purposes. 

In terms of hot air balloons as we know them today, with an onboard heat source, these were developed during the 1950s, with a successful flight taking place a decade later, on the 22nd of October in 1960. Paul Edward Yost, an American inventor, was behind this invention. The flight that occurred in the 60s happened from Burning in Nebraska. The balloon flew for one hour and 35 minutes untethered, using the assistance of heat that was generated from a propane burner. 

Today, hot air balloons are mainly used for recreational purposes. After all, what could be more fun than taking a ride into the sky in a wicker basket, looking at all of the world around you? It’s pretty magical, right? In 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for the highest flight on a hot air balloon. He reached 21, 027 meters! The flight started in Mumbai, India, and then Vijaypay landed south in Panchale. This beat the previous record that was set in 1988 by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas.

It’s not all disappointment for Per Lindstrand, though, as he still holds the record for the longest flight in a hot air balloon, which he completed with Richard Branson. Both men flew from Japan to Northern Canada in a hot air balloon, which amounts to 4,767.10 miles. You may be wondering who Per Lindstrand is and why he was so involved in hot air balloons. Well, he’s a pretty famous Swedish adventurer, pilot, and aeronautical engineer. He is especially known for the series of trans-oceanic, record-breaking hot air balloon flights he has taken. 

How to Celebrate Hot Air Balloon Day

Of course, the most obvious way to celebrate Hot Air Balloon Day is to take a hot air balloon ride! There are a lot of companies all over the world offering this service. If you do a quick search online, you will be able to find out all about the different balloon flight locations in your area. You may even find that some businesses are offering special deals and discounts in honor of this day. 

If you are not able to go on a hot air balloon, this does not mean that you cannot celebrate Hot Air Balloon Day. there are a number of other ways that you can observe this day. This includes simply watching a day that features hot air balloons, for example, Five Weeks in a Balloon, which is a Jules Verne inspired film. We would also recommend watching the Disney and Pixar film, Up, if you have not seen it yet.

While this isn’t about hot air balloons per-say, the main character in the film uses balloons to get his house off the ground and go on an amazing adventure. It is really a heart-warming film, and a lot of people say it is one of the best that Disney and Pixar have ever produced, so get the popcorn at the ready and enjoy a night in front of the screen. There has even been an Up video game released, so you can have fun playing that if you have already seen the film. 

If you have got children, you can celebrate hot air balloon day by getting them to design their own hot air balloon picture or by engaging in some hot air balloon inspired arts and crafts. After all, most of the hot air balloons we see in the sky today are bright and colorful, so this is the perfect opportunity to have some fun with paints, glitter, and such like! Things may get a bit messy, but that’s half the fun, right?

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