Have you ever dreamed of flying? Are you terrified of heights, or do you yearn to soar above the mountains, streams, and trees? Hot air ballooning is one of those hobbies that can be enjoyed by all–young and old, newcomers and of course, experienced hot air balloonists.
And hey, if you’re scared of heights…well, what better way to conquer your fear than to take a ride in a hot air balloon?
So a Sheep, a Duck, and a Rooster Walk into a Hot Air Balloon…
No, this isn’t the beginning to an awful joke. On September 19, 1783 a sheep, a duck, and a rooster really did take a 15 minute ride in the “Aerostat Reveillon,” the world’s first hot air balloon, launched by the scientist Pilatre De Rozier. The Caldecott Honor picture book, Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman tells this story in vivid detail and is great for the young hot air balloon hobbyists in your life.
Two months after this launch, two French brothers named Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier launched a hot air balloon from the center of Paris and flew for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, Pilatre De Rozier attempted a launch this same year and was killed when his balloon exploded. This was due to his design of a hot air balloon and a hydrogen balloon tied together.
For more information on the history of hot air ballooning check out: The History of Hot Air Balloons.
Basics of Hot Air Ballooning & Becoming a Pilot
There are 3 main components to the hot air balloon:
Envelope: This is the actual balloon that holds the air
Burner: The equivalent of the engine; moves the hot air into the envelope
Basket: The place the pilot and the passengers stand
If you’re planning on piloting a balloon anytime soon, you’ll need to know a few more points of information. To move the balloon upward, for instance, the pilot opens the “propane valve.” To move it downward, he or she uses the “parachute valve.”
Of course, if you’re planning on piloting a balloon (and are neither a sheep, a duck, or a rooster), you’ll need a commercial balloon pilot certificate. For more information on becoming a hot air balloon pilot, check out the pilot’s corner of hotairballooning.com.
Why Hot Air Ballooning is Such a Great Hobby!
Hot air ballooning isn’t an everyday hobby, and it’s not something most people have the chance to experience. Hot air ballooning is the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. You can sit back and relax while enjoying the scenery (unless you’re the pilot of course).
And hey, why not take your hot air balloon ride over Tuscany? There’s no need for further explanation as to why hot air ballooning is a great hobby. This video pretty much says it all:
Cost & How to Find a Balloon Ride
In the United States, a hot air balloon ride costs from around $150 to $275.
This website is a great reference for finding a hot air balloon ride in your area. Good luck!