was the first balloon flight?On September 19, 1783, a sheep, a duck, and a rooster become the
first passengers in a hot air balloon launched by the Montgolfier
brothers, Joseph and Etienne in Versailles, France.
No one knows
if these three were served a bag of peanuts and a soda on their
The first manned
balloon flight occurred on November 21, 1783, in Paris. Built from
paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers, this balloon was piloted
on its 22 minute flight by two noblemen from the court of Louis
XVI and Marie Antoinette. From the center of Paris they ascended
500 feet above the roof tops before eventually 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.
The first flight
in America was on January 9, 1789, from Philadelphia, PA, to across
the Delaware River to Deptford, NJ. George Washington was in attendance
to see the launch. Having already crossed the river once before
in boat, he declined the offer this time.
How do hot air balloons fly?
Balloons operate through the basic principles of gravity and heat
transfer. In other words, Hot-Air rises and Cold Air descends!
As air inside
the balloon is heated, it rises. As the air inside the balloon cools,
it descends. To make the balloon fly, an inflator fan first fills
the envelope with air, which is then heated with the burners.
How do you steer a balloon?
Winds determine a balloons direction. And winds flow in different
directions, at different speeds, and at different altitudes.
can steer a balloon, to a limited extent, by adjusting the balloons
altitude to make use of different wind speeds and directions.
In other words,
we put heat in to rise and gain altitude or we let air out or cool
to descend to get into the layer of air moving in the direction
we want to go.
How long does a balloon flight last?
All flights last approximately one hour and are totally dependent
upon the good graces of Mother Nature. It depends upon the weather,
the winds, fuel consumption, and landing site availability.
ballooning experience, including pre-flight preparation, flight,
and post-flight celebration, may take anywhere from three to four
What fuel do balloons use
and how high do they fly?
Sport Hot-Air Balloons carry 20 to 45 gallons of liquid propane
in stainless steel fuel tanks.
fly from treetop level all the way up to several thousand feet,
depending on what the pilot is trying to accomplish. The world record
in a stock Aerostar hot air balloon is over 32,000 feet!
Why do balloons fly in the
early morning and late evening?
Winds are generally most favorable the first hours after sunrise
and the last hours before sunset. The sun's uneven heating of the
earth's surface causes strong, variable winds. In the morning, it
takes a few hours for the sun to heat the earth's surface enough
to generate the thermal activity that creates wind. In the evening,
the suns intensity has diminished enough to reduce winds to acceptable
flight levels. Ideal winds are 3 to 6 mph.
Do you need a pilot's license to fly a Hot-Air Balloon?
Yes you do. There are two levels of balloon pilot ratings.
The first is
a private pilot. The pilot must have at least 10 hours of flight
time in free balloons, which must include six flights under the
supervision of an instructor. The private pilot must pass a written
test, an oral test, and a flight check prior to being issued a private
The second rating
is a commercial pilot. The commercial pilot must have at least 35
hours of flight time, of which at least 20 must be in hot air balloons (the
remaining 15 hours may be in other aircraft). The commercial pilot
must pass an additional written, oral, and flight check prior to
being issued a commercial pilots license. The holder of a commercial
pilots license may operate a balloon for hire and may give flight
requirements on both ratings, please consult FAA Regulation Part
61 for details.
How many passengers can you
take at a time in the balloon?
Just as there are different types of cars that can carry anywhere
from 2 to 10 or 12 people, the same is true for Hot-Air Balloons.
The size of
the envelope determines how many passengers, or to be more specific,
how much weight you can carry. The bigger the envelope, the more
weight you can carry. Consequently, the bigger the envelope, the
more people you can carry.
With Magic Sunrise
Ballooning, there are anywhere from two to four passengers in the
basket with the pilot on your flight.
What's it like to fly in a Hot Air Balloon?
Flying in a Hot-Air Balloon is the closest thing to being a cloud.
It is a magical and mystical moment for everyone. Call us at 866-606-RIDE
to take your flight!
should I wear?
Dress comfortable! Wear casual cotton clothing for an outdoor activity
like a picnic in the park or a walk in the woods. Dresses are not
recommended! Wear hiking boots or tennis shoes that you don't mind
getting a little wet. Please do not wear sandals or heels since
we will be walking in fields and the ground is usually wet with
dew. Dress in layers wearing natural fiber type clothing for cooler
I bring a camera?
Yes, we encourage it. Some of the greatest pictures of the surrounding
area can be taken from 500 feet in the air. Don't forget to bring
lots of film and a protective case for landing...we don't want to
scratch anything. We are not responsible if you decide to throw
that expensive camera off the basket though!
do I book a Balloon Ride?
It's simple...Just give Magic Sunrise Ballooning a call and we'll
give you all the information you need to book a flight, 866-606-RIDE.
Or book online here.