The principle of Balloon Flight.
Hot air rises. The envelope (the main
multi-colored compartment) traps a large bubble of hot
air. If the air in the envelope is heated by a
burner, the balloon will rise. If the air in the
envelope is allowed to cool or if the hot air is
"vented" (allowed to escape) from the top or side of the
envelope, the balloon will descend. An altimeter
(to measure altitude), a rate-of-climb meter, and an
envelope temperature gauge are the only instruments used
in the balloon. Amazingly, the pilot can control
the altitude of the balloon within a matter of inches.
Balloons can go as fast as the wind blows. But
if the wind is over 8 miles per hour at ground level,
balloons normally are not going to be inflated because
of the increased possibility of burning the fabric and
because landing would likely be rough and require a
How high do balloons go? Flights in hot air
balloons have been recorded at over 60,000 feet,
However, the sport of ballooning is most enjoyable when
flying 200 to 500 feet - just above the tree tops.
Most balloons can fly for 3/4 - 2 hours depending on
the outside temperature and the weight carried. On
a cold day with only one person flying, a 3-4 hour
flight would be possible. Balloon flights are normally
scheduled for daybreak and 2 hours prior to sunset, when
the air currents are most favorable for ballooning.
The exception to this rule is during the summer in the
south, when the afternoon temperatures are too hot
causing conditions to be unstable. (i.e. thermals)
Comfortable clothing is recommended, such as long pants
and flat shoes.