Hot Air Balloon History

Believe it or not, hot air balloons have a long and fascinating history. For all of you hot air balloon fans out there; knowing a bit more about the hot air balloons history, might make your next flight all the more impressive.

Hot Air Balloons History in Ancient China: Some ancient uses for the hot air balloon may be found in Chinese history. In the Three Kingdoms Era of 220-280 AD, Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, used hot air balloon technology i.e. airborne lanterns, as military signals. These “lanterns” are the oldest of hot air balloons history. They were made with oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. Inside, the hot air balloons contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material. Once the candle was lit, the envelope would heat-up and begin to float. These sky-borne lanterns were even used in festivals or to celebrate various holidays and special occasions.


Hot Air Balloons History in Europe: The hot air balloons history in Europe is a great one. On October 19, 1783; the first manned hot air balloon took flight in Annonay, France. This historical flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, who was a young physician and an army officer named François Laurent d'Arlandes. These two men were able to rise up to 3000feet in the air and they stayed in the air for approximately 25minutes over a distance of 5miles. Without the use of modernized hot air balloon systems, Jean and Francois had to control their hot air balloon by adding straw to the balloons miniature fire pit.


This first hot air balloon was invented by the Montgolfier brothers and later that year, in recognition of their achievement; their father Pierre was elevated to nobility and the heritable title of de Montgolfier by King Louis XVI of France. As you can imagine, this was an astonishing and daring accomplishment for the time. As such, this first flight of man was widely publicized and ever since, the human-carrying hot air balloons history evolved very quickly.


Modern Hot Air Balloons: Hot air balloons have been used for many reasons. Nowadays, they are mostly used for recreational purposes. On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world record for highest hot air balloon flight. Vijapat flew his hot air balloon to 68,986 feet in the air! He took off from downtown Bombay, India, and landed 149 miles south in Panchale!