There's nothing quite like flying in a hot-air balloon. Here are a few common questions about them-and their answers.
How do they work? Hot air rises. A burner heats the air within the balloon. As the air heats up, it becomes warmer than the air around it. This causes it to rise, taking the basket and its contents along with it.
What is the balloon made of? Most of the "envelope" on many hot-air balloons is made from nylon. Nylon is airtight, lightweight and strong, and most importantly, it withstands heat well without melting.
Why is the basket always made of wicker? Wicker is lightweight, strong, and flexible. When a balloon lands after a flight, it can sometimes hit the ground with a bit of a bump. The flexible wicker absorbs most of the shock of the landing.
What's it like to fly a balloon? A pilot can only move a hot air balloons up and down. In order to move left or right, a pilot can raise or lower the balloon to catch a wind current that's going in the right direction. A good balloonist knows the prevailing wind directions in his area and can find the right level for each direction he wants to go in.
What's it like to ride in a balloon? Riding in a balloon is surprisingly peaceful. Balloons can only go as fast as the winds around them, which isn't too fast-generally around 8 to 16 kph. Because there are no motors or propellers, the ride is quiet and tranquil.
No matter the occasion, there's nothing quite like drifting above the earth, seeing things from a new perspective as you ride the winds. A hot-air balloon ride is a wonderful event for all occasions.
Janette Vince is managing director of the ECommerce experience day company <http://www.thanksdarling.com/> For a range of experience days including hot air balloon rides in Kent, Essex, Sussex, Devon & Oxfordshire visit <http://www.thanksdarling.com/categories/balloon-flights.htm>
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