A Napa hot air balloon is the perfect way to experience flying as well as see the beauty that Napa has to offer. Going beyond the basics, the functionality of hot air balloons is built upon simplistic scientific principles that are in actuality, very basic.
The science behind hot air balloon Napa rides rests upon the underlying principle that warm air will rise in cool air due to a reduction in mass per unit of volume that results from heating the air. Heating air to 100 degrees Fahrenheit reduces its weight by approximately grams so that each cubic foot of air is able to lift approximately 7 grams.
To make the balloon rise, the air needs to be reheated. This is accomplished by means of a burner. The type of gas modern hot air balloons use is propane which is in the form of a compressed liquid. To start the balloon flight, the burner is first started through ignition of a pilot light. The resulting flame will heat the metal in the surrounding tubing that in turn will heat the propane, which turns to a gaseous form prior to ignition. This propane gas results in a stronger flame and provides for improved efficiency in relation to fuel consumption.
The majority of hot air balloons contain wicker baskets to hold passengers, propane tanks and any navigation equipment. Other baskets may be used but wicker baskets offer the advantages of sturdiness, flexibility and are of much lighter weight. Flexibility is important as this particular characteristic allows for lower impact balloon landings through the absorption of some energy.
Piloting a Napa hot air balloon is a pretty simple task. Controls are easy to master and consist of a lever for the propane valve to control the flame and a Kevlar cord for controlling the parachute valve. Both of these controls serve to make the balloon rise and sink.
To maneuver horizontally requires changing of the balloon’s vertical position in order to catch different wind currents. In general, the speed of wind will increase with a rise in the atmosphere; therefore the horizontal speed of the balloon is controlled by changing the altitude. It is important to note that it is impossible to maintain complete control of the balloon’s flight path and that piloting a balloon is mostly improvised. This is why crew members follow the balloon on ground with a vehicle to collect the passengers and equipment when it lands.