A HOT AIR BALLOON is a unique flying craft which works because of hot air rises. By heating the air inside the balloon with the burner, it becomes lighter than the cooler air on the outside. This causes the balloon to float upwards, as if it were in water. Obviously, if the air is allowed to cool, the balloon begins to slowly come down. Pilots have a great deal of control over the altitude of the balloon which they monitor with various instruments. They
develop incredible anticipation skills over time and can often control a balloon’s
descent within centimetres.
Balloons travel in the direction of the wind, which varies at different altitudes. Pilots skilfully use this as a way of changing direction by burning to ascend, or allowing the air to cool down to descent, and catch different airstreams at different heights.
Pilots land the baloon, usually after around an hour in the air on a passenger flight, when they see a safe open space in the countryside.
The pilot asks all passengers to crouch down in the seated landing position (knees bent, back facing in the direction of travel and holding ropes provided). As the balloon approaches the ground, the pilot releases the vent at the top of the balloon letting the hot air escape.