A Brief History of Hot Air Balloons

Posted by Radmin on June 15th, 2019

Hot air balloons are often used for races, celebrations, and other special occasions such as the hot air balloon festival in Atlanta. They're like a beautifully painted canvas when they're flying in the sky. As elegant as they may seem, these flight vehicles have come a long way since they were first discovered. Continue to read this article to learn their history.

From Kongming to Passarola: The Early Years

The Chinese were recorded as the first people to make use of the small and unmanned hot air balloons known as Kongming Lanterns or Sky Lanterns. They were developed around the third century and were utilized as military signaling devices. However, they were later used as part of Chinese Festivals. These lanterns were made from oiled paper on a bamboo frame. A small candle was placed in it, which was their source of heat that allowed them to fly.

The predecessor of the hot air balloon was called the Passarola, which was envisioned in the 18th century by the Portuguese Jesuit Priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão. It was used then as an air vessel to facilitate communication.

Montgolfier Brothers and the First Manned Take-Off

French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, also known as the Montgolfier Brothers, developed the hot air balloons in France. On September 19, 1783, they made a public demonstration of an unmanned air balloon flight that lasted for 10 minutes. The riders were a sheep, duck, and rooster.

After they completed their first experiment using animals, they performed the first human boarded flight on October 15, 1783, with Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francious Laurent as passengers.

Benjamin Franklin, famously known for drafting the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, was present during the launch. Later that day, he met them to sign a witness report stating that they were the first people to conduct the hot air balloons' first manned take-off. The document was submitted to the Academy of Science to verify the brothers as the founder of this innovative idea.

The Modern-Day Hot Air Balloons

Early in the 1950s, Ed Yost developed the modern method of an onboard heat source, allowing the pilot to control the device during the flight. His work resulted in a successful launch on October 22, 1960. This paved the way for hot air balloon rides.

Since modern hot air balloons can fly very high, they were used to break the world record for the highest altitude. The current record holder is Vijaypat Singhania, who reached a height of 21,0287m. His flight began in Mumbai, India, and he landed in Panchale.

People's contribution to the development of hot air balloons made it possible for everyone to enjoy the surreal experience they offer today. So if you want to take flight, attend occasions such as the hot air balloon festival in Atlanta for a high-flying adventure.

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: April 13th, 2019
Articles Posted: 138

More by this author