How do balloons fly? Warmer air rises in cooler air. Heating the air in the balloon with the use of fire causes the balloon to rise. The air must be reheated by firing the burner to keep the balloon in flight.
How do you steer a balloon? The short answer is that you don’t! However it isn’t as uncontrolled as it seems. Prior to flying, the pilot releases a small helium balloon (called a “pie ball”) to get the direction of the winds aloft. Once the hot air balloon is air borne, the pilot can move the balloon up and down to utilize the varying directions of wind to change course.
What are balloons made of? The big fabric part, called the envelope, is made of nylon. The lower portions around the opening are made from a fire resistant material like Nomex. The baskets are made of wicker since it is strong, lightweight and flexible enough to hold up under the stress of repeated landings.
What fuel do hot air balloons use? Propane is the most common fuel. The fuel is carried in aluminum or stainless steel tanks that fit inside the basket. Average fuel consumption is about 15 gallons per hour for an average sport size balloon.
How long do balloon flights last? The length of the flight depends on the wind speed, direction of flight and the availability of landing sites. ALL balloon flights are completely dependent on weather conditions.
When is the best time to fly? Temperature plays a role in the ability for a balloon to fly. High temperatures greatly reduce the amount of weight a balloon can lift. Colder temperatures are better for the balloon’s performance… the colder the better! So, typically early mornings are the best time to fly.