Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - What Am I?

I float high up in the sky but I don’t have an engine. I carry people in my wicker basket and my very first flight I had a hen, a sheep and a duck onboard. When it was viewed as safe my first manned journey took place in Paris in the year of 1783.

What am I?

A Hot Air Balloon!

Up Up and Away

Hot air balloons are a neat way to travel – though you wouldn’t go very far. The balloon is powered by one to four propane burners that when ignited heat the balloon as it slowly rises into the sky. Hot air balloons can reach altitudes of 500 to 3000 feet above the ground and travel at various speeds. In fact, wind has a lot to do with the amount of speed you get once up in the sky – the windier the faster you’ll go. But the fun thing is, you can’t feel the wind when you’re in the balloon, so it’s like floating!

Most rides in a balloon last for about 1 hour and travel approximately ten miles. These are given by specially trained pilots. Some professional balloonist have travelled a lot longer than that. One pair floated along for 3 weeks and covered thousands of miles. The longest journey ever taken in a hot air balloon lasted 20 days as they worked their way around the entire globe!

Balloon Basics

~ The Basket or Gondola – this is under the balloon and is where the passengers stand. It comes in two styles; Open and T-Partition (divided with a “T” shaped bar).
~ The Burner – is the “engine” and is used to propel the heat into the balloon. They are available in single, double and quad, depending on how big the hot air balloon is.
~ The Envelope – is the actual balloon which is made from long nylon sections called gores. This the same material used in parachutes.


Hot air balloons were constructed in a basic tear-drop shape, but as time went on balloon designs have soared. Now hot air balloons are being made into all shapes and critters. From cartoon characters to castles hot air balloons can be made into most anything. Check out some of these wonderful, special shapes

Do You Remember?

…what was on the first flight of the hot air balloon?
…what makes the balloon float?
…how long did it take two balloonists to go around the world?
…what’s another word for the basket under the balloon and what’s it typically made from?

If you didn’t recall the answers check back through the article. See you next time.


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