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Hot Air Balloons History

By Hanna Nilson


Believe it or not, hot air balloons have a long and fascinating history. For all of you hot air balloon fans out there; knowing a bit more about the hot air balloons history, might make your next flight all the more impressive.

Hot Air Balloons History in Ancient Peru: Hot air balloons history is filled remarkable stories. For example, it’s been suggested that the earliest use of unmanned hot air balloons might have been in Peru, about 1,500 years ago, during the creation of the Nazca Lines. These figures and lines or geoglyphs were created on a high mountain plateau that stretches more over more than 50miles. Some scientists believe that hot air balloon devices were used to help with the drawing perspectives for these mysterious designs. For an ancient culture of farmers to use hot air balloon technology in order to sketch giant geometric lines, shapes and figures, (some reaching up to 886feet long) is truly a wonder.


Hot Air Balloons History in Ancient China: Some other ancient uses for the hot air balloon may be found in Chinese history. In the Three Kingdoms Era of 220-280AD, Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, used similar hot air balloon technology i.e. airborne lanterns, as military signals. These “lanterns” are the oldest of hot air balloons history. They were made with oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. Inside, the hot air balloons contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material. Once the candle was lit, the envelope would heat-up and begin to float. These sky-borne lanterns were even used in festivals or to celebrate various holidays and special occasions.


Hot Air Balloons History in Europe: The hot air balloons history in Europe is a great one. On October 19, 1783; the first manned hot air balloon took flight in Annonay, France. This historical flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, who was a young physician and an army officer named François Laurent d'Arlandes. These two men were able to rise up to 3000feet in the air and they stayed in the air for approximately 25minutes over a distance of 5miles. Without the use of modernized hot air balloon systems, Jean and Francois had to control their hot air balloon by adding straw to the balloons miniature fire pit.

This first hot air balloon was invented by the Montgolfier brothers and later that year, in recognition of their achievement; their father Pierre was elevated to nobility and the heritable title of de Montgolfier by King Louis XVI of France. As you can imagine, this was an astonishing and daring accomplishment for the time. As such, this first flight of man was widely publicized and ever since, the human-carrying hot air balloons history evolved very quickly.


Modern Hot Air Balloons: Hot air balloons have been used for many reasons. Nowadays, they are mostly used for recreational purposes. The first “modern-day” hot air balloon was the Bristol Belle and it was built in the United Kingdom in 1967. Hot air balloons history has yielded a safer onboard heating source (which was invented by Ed Yost in the 1950s) and an overall safer; more enjoyable flight experience for anyone willing. Hot air balloons are now also able to fly to higher than ever before. On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world record for highest hot air balloon flight. Vijapat flew his hot air balloon to 68,986 feet in the air! He took off from downtown Bombay, India, and landed 149 miles south in Panchale! All inclusive, there are a few different types of modern hot air balloons, such as the Hybrid and Solar balloons. Furthermore, there are now some 7,500 hot air balloons operating in the United States. So, now that you know your hot air balloon history; seek one out and enjoy your own piece of hot air balloons history.







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