What are the hot air balloons made of? What makes them rise?
The correct name for the "balloon" is the bag or envelope, and is made of rip stop material or Dacron. The material is very lightweight and coated on the inside to prevent leaks. Hot air is lighter than cold so when the air in the balloon is heated the surrounding cold air pushes the balloon upwards.
How are they inflated?
It takes about four or more people to inflate the balloon as it is difficult to manage on the ground especially in gusty winds. This can be a particularly fun part of ballooning and a definite group activity. To begin with the envelope needs to be stretched along the ground and attached to the basket that will be lying on its side. A petrol powered fan blows air into the balloon, the burner is then turned on to heat the air in the balloon causing the balloon to stand upright.
How big are hot air balloons? How fast do they go?
Usually hot air balloons range from 1840 to 2973 cubic meters in volume and stand at approximately 63 feet tall. Commercial and special shapes are usually much bigger. Once in flight, the balloons travel as fast as the wind surrounding them.
Can hot air balloons be steered?
Strictly speaking balloons are unable to be steered. There are however some limited ways of navigating through valving gas (releasing gas) to descend into different layers of different directional wind, or heating the air in the balloon to ascend into different directional wind. A drag rope can also be dragged over the ground to stabilize and slow the balloon at low altitudes.
When is the best time to fly a hot air balloon?
The best time to fly in Delaware is when the wind is at its stillest. This usually occurs just after sunrise and around sunset.
How high do hot air balloons fly? How long can they stay up?
Usually most balloons fly between 500 feet and 1000 feet high although they can fly both higher and lower than this. The length of time a hot air balloon can stay up depends on the amount of fuel (liquid propane) it carries. Most balloons will carry enough propane to remain in flight for around two hours, but the length of time that the fuel lasts depends on factors such as the weather, weight and the temperature.
What causes the flame?
The propane remains in a liquid form while pressurized in tanks. When the valves are opened the propane atomizes (turns into a gas) and is ignited by the burners, causing the flame we observe.
How do you get back after your flight?
A chase vehicle and crew follows the balloon while it is in flight and should be ready to assist the balloon as it lands. The balloon and passengers are then returned to base.
What is the difference between a hot air balloon and a gas balloon?
A gas balloon is completely enclosed and contains a gas such as helium, which causes it to rise. A hot air balloon is only partially enclosed and the air inside is heated, which causes it to rise.
What are some other uses of balloons?
Balloons can be used for reporting readings about the weather. The balloons are equipped with a weather instrument package called a radiosonde that sends readings about the weather back to the balloon's base as it passes through the Delaware atmosphere.