Hot air balloon rides are a great way to catch the best views of the landscape below and relax after a long week at the office. However, many people don’t know very much about these unique aircrafts and what is involved in making them fly.
Below are some fun facts about the remarkable form of air travel in case you ever decide to embark on a ballooning adventure.
Hot Air Balloon Maintenance
The first thing you should know about hot air balloon travel is that the setup and teardown of the balloon is extremely labor intensive.
When the balloon is being deflated, at least one person has to tug on a rope that is attached to the top of the balloon in order to compress the air inside. This allows the air to be pushed out of the vents in the balloon.
Once the balloon is entirely deflated, it has to be folded.
Keep in mind, the balloons are huge and must be packaged correctly in their storage bin for safe keeping from the elements while they are not in use.
Picture the struggle of putting an air mattress back into the box it came in– but massive. That’s why all hands are needed on deck for it to go safely and smoothly.
Step Up and Volunteer
Because hot air balloons require so many people to keep them flying, a great way to get a free (or at least cheaper) ride in a balloon is to volunteer to help out. The companies who fly these balloons are usually looking for people to add to their ballooning team– even if it’s just for the day. Simply give them a call ahead of time to try to strike up a deal!
The Traditional Champagne Toast
Another fun fact about hot air balloons is that the champagne toast at the end of the ride is more than just a gimmick. It’s a continued piece of history from the birth of the hot air balloon.
The first hot air balloon flights took place in France, and when they were still being tested it was believed that the more smoke that was put out into the balloon, the higher the aircraft would fly.
Therefore, balloonists would burn materials that produced the most smoke, which caused soot and ash to spill into the basket. This made the individuals inside look like evil spirits flying in an unidentified contraption to the people down below.
The thought of evil spirits up above obviously scared the townspeople in the area, and often caused them to destroy the balloon and capture the balloonist upon their landing.
In order to avoid this scenario, balloonists starting carrying a bottle of wine or champagne with them, so that when they began their landing they could show the townspeople the bottle of wine and declare themselves a Frenchman in hopes that this would spare their balloon and ensure their safety.
Even though today most people know that balloonists are not evil spirits, the festive tradition continues with most balloonists engaging in a champagne toast after the balloon has successfully landed.