Ballooning History

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Ballooning History

Ballooning History During the 13th century Roger Bacon, the great English friar and philosopher, wrote that man could fly if he was fastened to a large hollow ball of thin copper, filled with liquid fire or air. As centuries passed other dreamers postulate similar ideas, but it remained for the Montgolfier brothers of France to reduce the dreams to reality. They learned how to put a pan of burning charcoal beneath a hole in a large cloth bag. In September of 1783, with King Louis XVI watching, they put a duck, a rooster and a sheep in a basket slung beneath their cloth balloon. These landmark creatures, an early-day version of Ham, the intrepid monkey who was rocketed into space nearly two hundred years later, flew for eight minutes and landed unharmed. Plans were made for a man to fly the balloon. Louis offered a condemned criminal for the maiden flight but his historian, Pilatre de Rozier, said it would be an honor to be the first and he requested permission to make the flight. On October 15, 1783, he became the first man in space, as it were. He stayed in the air for 4 1/2 minutes at an altitude of 84 feet, the length of the tethering rope. Multitudes of inventions and quantum leaps in technology have been made since that red letter day. Practically everything man uses has been invented or improved since then. Everything, that is, except the hot air balloon. It is the same basic mechanism the Montgolfiers devised, improved only in detail; propane burners being substituted for charcoal and nylon replacing the paper lined cloth bag. True enough, it is more sophisticated, more maneuverable and much safer mechanism, but the idea of it all has not changed. Hot air weighs less than cold air and when it is confined in a balloon, the balloon goes up.


Effective beginning 5/12/23 New meeting location!

Arizona Balloon Safaris

Meeting at the Fry's Marketplace Shopping Center,

2800 W. Dove Valley Rd.,

Phoenix, AZ 85085

Phone. 480-502-7640


We meet in the parking lot near the Fry's fuel station. Look for two Ford vans and a Ram truck with 30' trailer.