History of Ballooning

MontgolfiereBallooning first started in 1783 when the Montgolfiere brothers, who where paper makers at the time, built a large ornate paper balloon over an open fire, and heated up the air inside the balloon before releasing it into the atmosphere. They actually thought at the time, that it was the smoke that gave them lift not realising it was the the hot air and therefore fed the fire with anything to make a lot of smoke. Taking off and leaving the heat source behind was not very satisfactory as the balloon could only stay aloft for a very short time. Soon after the first manned flight in a Montgolfiere balloon, a “lighter than air” gas was invented. This was used with a sealed envelope and sand bags released to lighten the balloon, for over 100 years this was really the only form of manned aviation. Modern hot air ballooning came back into popularity with the invention of the Propane Burner in the 1960s which is much more controllable than “lighter than air” gas and far more available, to inflate the balloon.