How Balloons Work

The winds have welcomed you with softness. The sun has warmed you with it's hands. You have flown so high and so well that God has joined you in laughter and gentley set you back into the loving arms of mother earth. - The Balloonist Prayer

Flying in a hot-air balloon is perhaps one of the most unique and unusual methods of travel that grace's our world. 

Not only is it the oldest form of manned flght; but it might also be one of the most mis-understood methods as well.

For those who are curious we will discuss a little of the how a hot air balloon, and ballooning in general, work to help explain this unique and exciting sport.

Mechanics of Flight

To understand ballooning we must first understand some physics of why hot air balloons fly in the first place.

Hot air balloons fly because hot air floats on top of colder air. It does this because hot-air is less dense and lighter than colder air and because of this has the tendency to move up through the atmosphear.

The same principal applies to water and is similar to the reason boats float. A boat is less dense than the water it displaces.  A balloon, simlarlery is lighter than the air is is displacing so, it too, floats atop a fluid; in this case the air all around us.

By trapping air in the envelope and then artifically generating heat with a propane burner a balloon is abe to generate this lift.