The oldest form of technology that can carry humans, the hot air balloon has been at the center of a great many exciting air trips. The idea of a balloon ride as a way to explore the skies has captured the imaginations of people ever since the first one lived in Paris, in 1783. The people of Paris stood in awe of this spectacular invention, as it drifted up over the Paris skyline. But there have been many a famous balloon ride occurring through history. This article looks at the most memorable.
Hot air balloons are a remarkably simple yet effective way to get oneself into the air. The balloon itself is an envelope containing heated air. As this air is at a lower density than the surrounding cooler air, the balloon rises, carrying a happy bunch of balloon ride enthusiasts into the stratosphere, usually swinging in a basket or other capsule.
If you're wondering what constitutes a really memorable balloon ride, or rather, epic flight – then Richard Branson's Virgin Pacific Flyer must be a good example. In 1991 Branson and Per Linstrand flew from Japan to Northern Canada. As well as being an incredible achievement, the flight was also a superb piece of promotion for the Virgin brand. The famous red and white logo will forever be linked to the idea of intrepid adventurers. The risk, some say, is that if something tragic happened the brand would have something negative images associated with it. The 4767.10 miles covered in this particular balloon ride represent a remarkable achievement. They also reached a ground speed of 245 miles per hour which remains a world record.
More recently Vijaypat Singhania took off from downtown Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on November 26, 2005. His particular balloon ride into the stratosphere is notable as he reached a height of 68,986 feet, which broke the previous record of 64,997 feet set by per Linstrand on June 6 1988, in Texas, USA.
In terms of the longest duration of a balloon ride, Michio Kanda and Hirosuke Tekezawa from Japan hold this accolade, with 50 hours and 38 minutes. This remarkable benchmark was achieved on January 2, 1997.
There are certainly fewer natural highs than taking a balloon ride on a fine day. If you're lucky enough to experience a balloon ride on a clear day and you have clear visibility, then all your senses are in for a treat.
See for miles and miles. Perhaps you'll take off near to your home, so you can see your local area from a completely different perspective. You'll feel the wind on your face as you soar upwards, and fresh, clean air in your lungs. Your ears, too, will experience the silence of the air, coincidentally broken by an extra burst of gas, lifting you even higher.
You may not feel like trekking across the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon, but a more modest flight is sure to be a most memorable experience. Surely one of the most relaxing ways to travel, many people take balloon rides again and again after their first taste.