Anniversary Post: Hot Air Balloon

First Public Hot Air Balloon FlightOn this day in 1783, the first public modern hot air balloon flight occurred. The idea that heat rises is very old, so it is always hard to discuss issues about hot air balloons. They have been around a really long time. The Chinese used hot air balloons for military communication in the third century. But the modern hot air balloon was created by the Montgolfier brothers — Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne. They invented what you think of when someone mentioned having brunch in a balloon.

A brother-in-law of mine has his own hot air balloon and he and his daughter take the thing up all the time (when the weather is good). I find these contraptions extremely scary. But this is just because they are extremely dangerous. A friend of mine had her arm and two ribs broken in a bad landing in a hot air balloon. It was about to land when a big wind came up pushing it sideways. The crew were much more badly hurt.

Still, I think that hot air balloons are cool. And in the 18th century, it was the “only way to fly.” Now, I’ll stick with the airplane.

But happy birthday hot air balloon!

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