How Balloons Fly cover

How Balloons Fly

As a hot air balloon pilot, I have been asked many questions about hot air balloons and how they work. I have put the questions and my answers together in a booklet entitled "How Balloons Fly". Targeted to the middle school student, it is informative for all ages. (Ordering information)

The booklet is divided into chapters including:
History, Hot Air, About the Balloon, Weather, Up, Up, 'n Away, Going Places, The Chase, Spectator Guidelines, Common Misconceptions, Joining the Fun, Becoming a Pilot, Safety, and Legalities, plus three appendicies: Glossary, Further Reading, and U.S. Balloon Pilot Certificate Requirements.

Here are a couple of the questions and answers from the booklet.


How do hot air balloons fly?

They fly simply by getting hot. As the air inside the balloon becomes hotter than the air outside, it gets lighter. When the weight of the air inside the balloon, plus the weight of the balloon and its passengers, is less than the weight of the same volume of air outside, the balloon will begin to float in the air, much like a boat floats in the water without touching bottom.

How do you get the air hot?

Each hot air balloon has a torch pointed right up into the center of the balloon. This torch, called a burner, burns propane to heat the air inside the balloon like a home furnace would heat the air inside your house. Since a balloon usually has more air inside it than an average house, and has to heat it more quickly, the balloon burner usually produces much more heat, about as much heat as 200 home furnaces.


Ordering Information

"How Balloons Fly" sells for $3.00 plus $1.00 postage and handling per copy. Quantity discounts are available (see order form).

Use the order form to order, or print it out to pass on to a friend.


Copyright © 1996 Bird's Eye View of Vermont

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Ted Horton (thorton@together.net)
Rev. 04.12.96