9 Fun Facts About Hot Air Balloons [2024]

several hot air balloons flying in the sky

If you’re thinking about taking a romantic balloon ride over wine country, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with hot air balloons. A little research before your adventure wouldn’t hurt, and learning these interesting facts about hot air balloons may improve your experience.

1) Hot Air Balloons Weren’t Initially Invented In The 1700s

While hot air balloons as we know them were invented in France during the 1700s by the Montgolfier brothers, the first-ever experiments with hot air balloons were actually done in China, with the earliest tests in the 3rd century BCE.

2) The First Passengers Were Animals

The Montgolfier brothers tested earlier models of hot air balloons with animals on board before running the first manned flight. A skilled physician was kept on-site before, during, and after the flight to ensure the animals were alive and well.

3) The First Human Pilots Were Almost Criminals

After the successful animal test, King Louis suggested the first manned flight should carry condemned criminals. But Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Marquis François d’Arlandes retorted that while morally they don’t object, at least one of the passengers should know how to operate the craft, and since nobody would want to get on with a convicted criminal, they went instead.

4) Champagne Became A Tradition Thanks To Farmers

While many were excited at the prospect of hot air balloons, farmers near the inventors weren’t too happy. As new tests took flight, they started landing in the fields of local farmers, and as a way to ease tensions, they started offering champagne as a way to soothe and thank the farmers. 

5) The Air Inside A Hot Air Balloon Is Hot Enough To Boil Water

Hot air balloons weren’t able to soar in popularity after being invented because the materials used at the time couldn’t keep up with the heat. But thanks to modern materials and construction methods, hot air balloons are durable enough to handle high heat for extended amounts of time. Leading them to become a more common activity today.

6) Hot Air Balloons Can’t Fly In The Rain

Ever wondered why you never see a hot air balloon in the rain? That’s because they can’t fly during adverse weather conditions. In an effort to maintain safety, hot air balloons aren’t permitted to fly when it’s raining, snowing, or excessively windy. It’s also difficult for pilots to navigate the craft.

7) The Longest Recorded Flight Lasted 20 Days

The longest recorded hot air balloon flight lasted 20 days and was manned by Bertrand Piccard, Briton Brian Jones, and a Swiss psychiatrist on a trip around the world. This was the first non-stop flight globally, and it used the Breitling Orbiter 3.

8) The Fastest Hot Air Balloon Hit 245 Miles Per Hour

The Pacific Flyer is the fastest-recorded hot air balloon at 245 miles per hour (394 km/h). It was designed with a 74,000 cubic meter envelope that could take advantage of the trans-oceanic jet streams. Allowing it to set a world record in 1991 that still stands today.

9) The Highest Recorded Hot Air Balloon Hit 69,850 Feet

While the highest hot air balloons are permitted to fly today is 3,000 feet, Vijaypat Singhania and his balloon, the Envelope, high a world record of 69,850 feet above sea level in 2005.

Conclusion: Exciting Facts About Hot Air Balloons

Hot air balloons have a rich history, unique traditions, and impressive accomplishments. They are more than just a scenic experience, that requires specific weather conditions. Feel free to ask your pilot any questions about the balloon, flight plan, or anything else on your mind.

It’s a world full of magic, innovation, and adventure that you could book today.