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Fun Facts About Hot Air Balloons

Aug 17, 2007
Hot air balloons are an odd flying apparatus. They don't look like anything else that flies. They aren't used like other flying objects to get people from one place to another. They only are flown at certain times and in certain conditions. They don't have a motor or anything that mechanical with moving parts. Hot air balloon rides operate solely based on the magic and simplicity of science and physics.

The other thing about the hot air balloon experience? Its one of the most unique events you'll ever encounter. Even those who have only gone up once still remember their ride, just like it was yesterday. It just seems to stands out in your mind. Why? Because theres simply nothing quite like it.

Here are a few other interesting bits of information about the always fascinating hot air balloon:

* Hot air balloons were discovered in France in 1783.
* At that time, in the laboratory, it was discovered that a fabric bag filled with hot air could rise.
* In the beginning, to test for safety, balloons without passengers were sent up and observed.
* The next step was to send animals up to experiment with different weights. Sheep, chickens and even ducks were used.
* When everything was proven totally safe, a balloon with two men traveled over Paris for 5.5 miles, staying up 23 minutes.
* This was the very first attempt made by man to fly.
* Balloons have been critical to science as they have helped us study the weather and the atmosphere.
* On a hot air balloon ride, an apparatus called a "skirt" helps direct the hot air into the balloon.
* Every hot air balloon has a long section called the "gore".
* Smaller pieces of the gore are called "panels".
* In order to fly, Balloon pilots need a commercial balloon LTA pilot's license.
* Pilots must have under gone the following:
o Flight instruction of at least 35 hours
o Ground school attendance for basic aviation training
o Passage of a written test for hot-air balloon knowledge
o A flight check from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) official.
* If a balloon is in a controlled air space, it must meet air-traffic control requirements and pilots must have radio contact with controllers. (FAA Rules)
* Besides having basic knowledge of who they are flying with and their qualifications, there are no official safety requirements for passengers.
* Accidents are rare.
* Why do hot air balloons not fly in the rain? because balloon heat can cause water to boil at the top of the balloon, and boiling water can destroy the fabric.
* Depending on balloon size, area balloon operators can carry from two to 10 passengers at a time.

So, now that you know something interesting about hot air balloons, when are you going to go up in one? If there is one bit of advice to give it would be this: dont let a perceived fear stop you from enjoying the adventure. Even though it may look a little risky - it really isn't. As was mentioned previously, accidents are very rare. It almost never happens. Pilots are well trained before they ever take anyone up. Plus, you can do your part by ensuring that you use a hot air balloon company that has a great safety record. There are many reputable ones out there.

When you do decide to take a ride, you'll not only have a great time, but you'll experience a thrill of a lifetime!
About the Author
(c) 2006 California Dreamin, offers hot air balloon rides and biplane rides since 1977. Featuring sunrise flights in the Temecula valley wine country and sunset flights over the Del Mar coastal valley. To take a flight, contact http://www.californiadreamin.com/ or (800) 373-3359
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