How a Hot Air Balloon Works

Inside the fabulous hot air balloon


By: Maximus Seminaro, Journalist

balloon_descriptionI have always wondered how hot air balloons work and why they are called “Hot air balloons”, and it’s actually pretty simple. To inflate a balloon, the envelope is stretched out on the ground and attached to the basket and burner all of which are laying on their side. A small gasoline-powered fan blows air into the balloon. Then the burner is turned on, and the air in the envelope is heated. The hot air rises. The average duration of the flight by air balloon is one hour, even though technically it could fly 2-3 and more hours, But just in case so the burner doesn’t go out and kill the people inside. The Envelope: The actual balloon which holds the air is made of a reinforced fabric called rip-stop nylon. The Burner: The unit which heats the air inside the envelope. The Basket: Where the passengers and pilot stand. The baskets are made from rattan or wicker and each one is individually woven by hands, lifting the balloon upright. Modern hot air balloons heat the air by burning propane, the same substance commonly used in outdoor cooking grills. As winds at varying altitudes blow in different directions and at different speeds, all you have to do to steer a balloon is to climb or descend to an altitude where the wind is blowing in the direction you want to go. To make a balloon rise the air inside the envelope is heated. To descend, the pilot allows the air to cool.

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