AERO SPORTS: Hot Air Ballooning



INTRODUCTION: This activity is an all time favourite of most of adventurists or average tourists of all ages since it does not require very high skills for basic and fixed flight operations. The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is part of a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Annonay, France, the first untethered manned flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created on December 14, 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than just being pushed along by the wind are known as airships or, more specifically, thermal airships.

WHAT IS A BALLOON: A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that is capable of containing heated air. Suspended beneath is usually a wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule is fitted). This Gandola (basket) is used to carry passengers during the flight. This basket is usually also the source of the stream of flame which heats the air inside the main balloon (envelope). The heated air inside the envelope start pulling the balloon upwards in air by virtue of it being lighter than the surrounding comparatively cooler air. A hot air balloon's envelope is generally made from nylon fabric and the inlet of the balloon (closest to the burner flame) is made from fire resistant material such as Nomex.

PREFERABLE TIME OF ACTIVITY: A clear sky and weather is most desirable for this sport. A cold weather is most supportive for the conduction of this sport since hot weather proves to be a provoker of baffling of flight handling. It is advisable that people should start this activity at the time of sun rise during summers and pause it after the day temperature starts shooting up. The activity can be resumed in afternoon when it start getting cooler during summers. This sport should not be conducted in dark or insufficient light and during heavy winds or rain. In terms of ballooning winds at ground level above 10 mph or 16 kph can result in very unpleasant and cause potentially dangerous landings. There are other legal requirements on the minimum visibility and lowest allowable cloud cover. The absence of any of the suitable or legally required factors in terms of weather support may hamper the operations or may result in total cancellation of this activity.


WEAR: Casual and robust outdoor clothing with sturdy shoes is required. Natural fibre clothings are preferred because of their better resistance to heat. You will need to be able to climb into and out off the basket and bear in mind that take off and landing may well be in a muddy field. Expect the air temperature to decrease with altitude. The temperature drop is approximately 3.5 degrees per 1000 ft, (you are unlikely to fly at more than 5000 ft) even in a free flight.


PASSENGER CAPACITY: Balloon are designed to carry different passenger load. Their capacity may range from 2 to 12 passenger in each balloon. The balloons with a higher capacity (8 to 12 passengers) are used usually for commercial ballooning in India.


CARRY LIST: Camera (preferably with UV filters), Water Flask, Personal Medicine.


Suitable Weather is a most important aspect for all Aero sports. When the weather conditions are perfect it is possible to stay in the air for more than five hours and rise to a height of 6000 ft. Mid February to mid July and mid September to end of November are the best seasons for paragliding.


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