Hot air balloons are statistically one of the safest methods of air travel. Only 775 hot air balloon accidents have occurred since 1964. Less than one person per year dies ballooning on average.

So how do hot air balloons work? The answer is through a process of convection heating that allows balloons to lift high into the sky. Rooted in science, hot air ballooning has been around for hundreds of years.

Check out this informative article if you want to learn how to fly a hot air balloon. Here, we discuss the history of hot air balloons, how they work, and how to operate one. Read on to find out what you need to know.

What Are Hot Air Balloons?

A hot air balloon is an aeronautical vessel used to transport people high above the ground. Most consist of a large bag (or balloon) filled with hot gas, a propane burner, and a basket for carrying passengers.

When Were Hot Air Balloons Invented?

In 1783, French brothers Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier invented the first hot air balloon. Their initial demonstration for the Académie Royale des Sciences ushered in a new era of balloon travel.

How Do Hot Air Balloons Work While Flying?

Hot air balloons work via the principle of convection heating and the fact that warm air rises through cold air. When the air inside the balloon is heated, it becomes lighter and rises into the atmosphere.

The operator uses a propane burner at the base of the balloon to heat the air trapped within it. The more the burner is engaged, the higher the balloon rises. The operator lowers the balloon by letting hot air out via a parachute cord.

What About Horizontal Movement?

The one drawback about traveling via balloon is that you are at the mercy of wind currents when it comes to horizontal movement. However, a skilled pilot can navigate air currents to travel horizontally through vertical movements.

Transport winds change direction at different layers in the atmosphere. A skilled balloonist can find these directional currents. Even so, horizontal movements are planned around wind direction and weather.

How to Fly a Hot Air Balloon

Are hot air balloons safe to operate alone? If it is your first time, the answer is not by yourself. You should find a skilled pilot if you have never flown in a hot air balloon before. Do not operate a hot air balloon alone for your first trip. 

You can check out Aerogelic Ballooning if you want a source of experienced balloon operators. That way, you can learn how to operate a hot air balloon with a professional, rather than on your own.

Give Ballooning a Try

Floating through the sky nestled in the basket of a hot air balloon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now that you know the answer to the question “how do hot air balloons work?” you can take your journey a step further.

Use the information in this guide to get your first ballooning experience off the ground. Check out our page for more content like this if you enjoyed what you read here today.