For my 30th birthday my partner took me on a hot air balloon ride. It was a magical, surreal experience. To be floating through the air in a wicker basket dangling from a balloon…It was really very calm and peaceful. The ride itself was followed up by a champagne breakfast, and the champagne part at least is tradition; after every balloon ride you’re supposed to toast the journey apparently. So for the post this week, I thought I’d take a little look at that history.
When we were ballooning we were told that ever since the first manned flight in 1783 pilots and passengers would toast the balloon ride afterwards as a thanks for a safe journey. Or rather a celebration that they survived the ride! There are also other rumours that champagne was actually carried on board to help calm down any spectators who happened to be around at the landing site and were lets say, not very happy about having a hot air balloon possibly landing on them…
Some other interesting facts about hot air balloons:
- Hot air balloons as we know them, weren’t actually developed until 1960 when Ed Yost developed a propane burning system and a nylon balloon.
- In 2005 the record for the highest balloon flight was set, the height was 21,290 metres.
- The fastest speed of a hot air balloon has been recorded as 394 km/h.
- The longest journey in a balloon, both in time and distance is 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes over a distance of 46,759 km.
That’s pretty darn impressive if you ask me!