Some History, A lot of Information
The History Of Ballooning
In 1783 the first balloon was constructed by the Montgolfier brothers in Paris. It was made of paper, was 122 ft in circumference and inflated with hot-air. It rose to 1,000 ft, but quickly slid back to the earth as the hot-air escaped.
Soon after Professor Charles,a physicist, used hydrogen to inflate a rubber coated balloon. This rose speedily into the clouds but fell outside Paris whereupon it was attacked by peasants believing it to be the devil.
Later in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers developed a waterproof linen balloon which ascended at Versailles the presence of Louis XVI.
Things have improved a bit since then, although it was not until the 1960’s that hot-air ballooning became safe enough to attract followers and since then the sport has flourished, particularly in Europe and the United States.
Hot Air Balloon Tasmania started in 1993 and was known as Cloud 9 Balloon Flights. John Allen, the companies Chief Pilot, and a local Tasmanian started his flying career with the World largest and most famous balloon company ‘Flying Pictures’ in 1987 whilst travelling through Europe with his the girlfriend (now wife) Clare. Flying Pictures operated 42 balloons of all shapes and sizes for promotional and filming purposes.
These included a spectacular flying Kiwi, a Gas Flame, Four Pack of beer and a Bowler hat as well as helium and hot-air airships and one man Cloud Hoppers. Their balloons featured on TV Commercials, Films, stunts as well as providing the main spectacle at Fair, Fetes and Shows around the country.
WHAT ARE MODERN BALLOONS MADE OF?
Balloon technology has, you will be glad to hear, advanced considerably since 1783 when they were made from paper.
The modern hot-air balloons comprises an envelope made of flame resistant material, a wicker basket and a burner to generate heat. The fuel is propane which is carried in special lightweight cylinders in the basket.
HOW DO THEY FLY?
Hot-air balloons fly using the ‘hot-air rises’ principle and can stay up as long as the propane lasts. This depends on the size of the balloon and the weight of the passengers and pilot. A flight can last anything between 10 minutes and a couple of hours depending on weather, type of event. location and how much the passengers are enjoying it!
CAN ANYONE FLY A BALLOON?
No balloon may be flown without a qualified pilot in command. To qualify in Australia a pilot must pass theoretical exams as well as practical flying checks after a minimum of 20 hours flying tuition. He also has to pass a medical examination. John has over 4500hrs of flying experience and has flown over 35,000 passengers safety.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?
Wind is the greatest enemy, particularly at ground level. Light rain is unpleasant but not a problem, unstable and thermic conditions are.
Hot-air ballooning is generally best carried out in the morning when winds tend to be light. Sometimes it is possible to fly all day if there is cloud cover but flying in the real heat of summer is best avoided. The decision of whether to fly or not has to be the pilots. Your safety is paramount to us and if at the last minute he decides not to fly it is in your best interests.
No one hates to be grounded more than a pilot. As we say, It’s always better to be on the ground wishing you were up there, than being up there wishing you were on then ground.
WHAT TO WEAR?
Wear sensible shoes and dress as you normally would for the weather conditions. We do operate from farmers fields so don’t wear items of clothing that you don’t like getting dirty. The balloon travels with the wind, so it’s actually warmer in the balloon. The burner gives out a lot of heat so if you are tall it’s a good idea to bring along a hat.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT TIME I ARRIVE?
If a specific time has been arrange please be there on time. It is extremely frustrating for our crew and other passengers to have to wait for you to arrive so we can move out to the launch site and inflate the balloon.
WHERE DO WE FLY TO?
The unpredictability of ballooning and the fact you cannot steer it is part of ballooning romantic charm. To the uninitiated it can be a little frustrating. We of course will do our best to ensure everything runs smoothly, but please bear with us if it does not.
HOW MANY PASSENGERS CAN A BALLOON TAKE?
This depends on the size of the balloon envelope, not the ballon basket. Our balloons carry between 4 -20 persons.