10 Mind-Blowing Hot Air Balloon Facts You Didn’t Know

If you’re an aircraft enthusiast, you’re going to love these mind-blowing hot air balloon facts. Enjoy this rare trivia, and then take a hot air balloon ride.

By: www.AerogelicBallooning.com

Most people know what a hot air balloon is, but have you ever wondered how these beautiful aircrafts came to be?

There’s such an interesting history behind hot air balloons that’s worth reading up on regardless of whether or not you’d like to ride in one. However, you should definitely take a hot air balloon ride if the opportunity ever presents itself!

Even if you’ve already taken many a ride in these lovely baskets, you should take some time to learn a few hot air balloon facts. Growing your knowledge of these balloons will make your experience riding in them and/or looking at them from below that much more enjoyable.

Here are 10 interesting hot air balloon facts you should know!

1. The First Pilots Were Almost Criminals

The first hot air balloon was invented in the late 1700’s in France. During that time, the French government was big on using executions on criminals.

As such, the king figured it would make sense to put two criminals in charge of the first hot air balloon flight. He thought that if the flight went poorly, the two men would have died anyway so there would be no loss in the matter.

But somehow, the king was convinced otherwise and two French scientists became the first pilots instead. The flight was a success and the men returned to land safely.

2. One of the Actual First Pilots Died in Another Hot Air Balloon

Although the first flight went well for the two French scientists, one of them was not so lucky later on. Jean-Francois Pilatre De Rozier loved that flight so much that he continued to fly hot air balloons regularly. He came to be a well-known hot air balloon pilot in addition to being a highly recognized scientist.

One day, he decided to attempt crossing the English Channel from France to England in a hot air balloon. But, he wanted to see what the flight would be like in an aircraft that was powered in part by hot air and by hydrogen, too.

This didn’t go well for De Rozier. He became the first victim of a fatal hot air balloon accident.

3. The French Used Hot Air Balloons in Battles

Image result for french war balloons
Observation Balloon

The hot air balloon was mostly something the wealthy people of France would use for entertainment, and soon after, other countries caught on. The French also used their hot air balloons in battle, though!

They would take a few balloons out to their soldiers’ camps and raise them up to spy on incoming enemies. The birds-eye view was thought to give the French an advantage as they took note of how their attackers would set up their men.

4. The American Civil War Had a “Balloon Corps”

Abraham Lincoln knew a thing or two about hot air balloon facts and was inspired by their use of them in battles – to the point that he created a Balloon Corps during the American Civil War.

Lincoln thought this would give the Union a valuable advantage in battles. The Balloon Corps was used to spy on incoming enemies, but only for a short while. The Confederates figured out how to make a hot air balloon of their own, and they started sending men to shoot down the balloons of the Union.

The Balloon Corps was soon disbanded.

5. Hot Air Balloons Have a Chase Crew

Hot air balloons may not be used in battle anymore, but they do have a chase crew. This is a team of people who follow the hot air balloon on land. It’s made of only one or two individuals.

The real importance of a chase crew is that the team is driving a vehicle big enough to bring the basket and deflated balloon back to their original destination. The chase crew also gives passengers of the balloon a ride back.

6. Drinking Champagne Is Tradition After Landing

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Aerogelic Ballooning Champagne toast

Going back to the times of the French, it was customary for them to share a few glasses of Champagne after a trip in a hot air balloon. This tradition continues today. It’s an added touch that many hot air balloon enthusiasts and first-time riders enjoy.

7. Richard Branson Co-Piloted the Longest Hot Air Balloon Flight

You may know Richard Branson as the man behind Virgin Airlines (as well as other Virgin companies). But, Branson has dabbled in many a business venture and adventurous hobbies in his time.

In 1991, he co-piloted the longest recorded hot air balloon flight. The voyage was the first to cross the Atlantic, traveling from Japan to Canada. It lasted about 46 hours total, and it was actually the second cross-ocean journey Branson had completed in a hot air balloon. The first was his flight across the Pacific in 1987.

8. There’s a Glass Bottom Hot Air Balloon

Traditionally, hot air balloons are made with large baskets to hold passengers comfortably as they stand and enjoy the view. Branson’s was much more complex for his cross-ocean journeys, and there are some other variations out there as well.

One of the most interesting is arguably the glass bottom hot air balloon. As if looking out to the world below you isn’t good enough from a standard hot air balloon, a glass bottom takes this to an entirely different level. It may not be ideal for the faint of heart, but it is an amazing experience.

9. The Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festival Is in New Mexico

Hot Air Balloon Festival
Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

You can see everything from glass-bottom baskets and interesting balloons at hot air balloon festivals. There are many of these events hosted all over the world, but the biggest is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This festival hosts an average of 700 hot air balloons every year!

People come from far and wide to pilot their balloons and to be a guest on one as well. Many also enjoy the view from below and all kinds of other activities are available on land, too.

10. Hot Air Balloons Have No Steering

The final hot air balloon fact is that they don’t technically have steering. In a standard hot air balloon, the way to navigate is to use weather predictions and fly with the wind.

Pilots turn the air burners on/off throughout flight to get to where they want to go and to land safely. It’s an intricate control system that takes lots of practice and patience to learn.

Other Hot Air Balloon Facts That Will Blow You Away!

Here are a few more interesting hot air balloon facts you should know:

  • the first hot air balloon took flight in 1783
  • 3 animals were the first passengers, not people
  • it’s not safe to fly a hot air balloon in the rain
  • the champagne tradition mentioned above originated as an act of peace

As interesting as all of these facts are, you’re sure to appreciate them more once you’ve actually been in a hot air balloon yourself. There’s really nothing else like it, and there’s no better opportunity than at a hot air balloon festival!

The next time a festival comes to your area, make sure you go. You won’t regret it.

A Guide To Dressing Comfortably For Hot Air Balloon Flights

Dressing Comfortably For Hot Air Balloon Flights

To fully enjoy your hot air balloon ride, dressing appropriately is key. Check out our guide to dressing comfortably for hot air balloon flights.

Before people head up, up, and away in their romantic hot air balloon flights, it’s important to outline the correct dress code.

What you wear to an event such as riding in a hot air balloon really matters.

It also depends on what time of year you wish to participate in hot air balloon flights.

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Read on to discover what you need to wear in order to feel the most comfortable on your journey into the sky.

Outfits For Hot Air Balloon Flights In the Summer

If you plan on riding in a hot air balloon during the summer months, consider the location you take off in.

Are you traveling in an area such as Phoenix, Arizona that is typically warm? You’ll need to dress in the right clothes for that climate.

The higher you travel into the sky, the more likely the weather will change dramatically with the increase in altitude. Even though the weather could feel hot during most of the day, you can experience cooler temperatures as you move through the air.

Make sure your outfit is as flexible as the weather will be. Be prepared for sudden changes in temperature with the right clothing and accessories depending on the location you choose.

Some more accessories to consider taking with you on your hot air balloon flight is a hat and sunglasses.

While the sun is still out blazing away, you will need to protect your skin from the rays that you will inevitably be closer to as you make your way into the air. You don’t want to miss out on getting the most joy from your trip by not bringing the right accessories during the summertime.

Outfits For Hot Air Balloon Flights In the Winter

The wind-chill is something you must consider if you plan on taking a hot air balloon ride during the winter months.

In places such as Scotland where the weather is typically in the lower 50s, you will want to wear a heavy coat and boots. If your trip takes place anywhere near the mountains, you should also consider wearing a scarf and earmuffs for added protection.

There are long dark winter evenings to think about when you travel to a destination that is cold for a hot air balloon ride, too. Watching the sunset over the mountains will be quite the experience to remember if you dress the part. When the sun does start to set, you can bundle up in your thick coats to enjoy the remainder of your hot air balloon ride in a warm and cozy state.

Don’t skimp on the layers because once you are up in the sky, there is no turning back for at least a few hours. It’s best to bring more and slowly remove the layers as the day goes on. You don’t want to be stuck in the sky while the temperature drastically drops!

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The layers you wear will be your best approach to handling the switching temperatures in a moderate climate. If the weather is warmer during the afternoon and then changes to feeling a shift in temperature, you can easily remove the winter coat you bring with you.

Keep Your Expensive Clothes At Home

We do not recommend wearing your most valuable items while on your journey through the sky.

As one prepares for their ultimate hot air balloon flights, it’s important to note what types of clothes they decide to put on.

If you are a woman, you may not want to wear a skirt or a dress for your hot air balloon ride as the winds will pick up over time.

Eliminate the stress of holding down your skirt every five minutes and choose some comfortable pants instead. The basket will also pose a potential issue if you have on a skirt or dress when you get in and out of it.

You may be tempted to put on a gorgeous new dress, but we recommend you find an alternative combination that will be acceptable for the duration of your air ride. You could always wear a comfortable pair of dress pants for the occasion.

Save your most expensive items for a dinner out after enjoying one of the finest hot air balloon flights of your life.

Also, no matter what time of the year you plan on venturing out for a hot air balloon ride, we recommend headgear of some type.

Accessories to Bring for Your Hot Air Balloon Ride

Men usually prefer to wear ball caps while ladies will be comfortable in wide brim hats of their choice. Heat will eventually radiate down from the top of the balloon which can lead to an uncomfortable rise in temperature that most people report feeling from time to time.

When it comes to shoes, you also need to be particular about the footwear you have on during your hot air balloon excursion. We don’t want anything to happen to your feet throughout your experience. Preparing for your ride means wearing the right footwear.

As for the correct footwear, we do recommend that you wear closed-toe shoes.

Wearing flat sole shoes is also your best plan because you will be jumping in and out of the basket. Super high-heels are not recommended for this hot air balloon journey. You do not want to trip while exiting the basket.

Creating a problem-free environment will make your trip that much more enjoyable, so leave the heels at home!

Learn More about Hot Air Balloons

If you are interested in learning more about hot air balloon flights around the world, feel free to reach out to us at any time.

We hope that reading this article provides you with a better look at what types of clothing you need to wear during the summer and winter months in order to have the best hot air balloon flights.

Of course, our team is devoted to helping you enjoy the most out of your hot air balloon experience so continue reading more content posted on our helpful blog page!

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