Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hot Air Ballooning

Man has always wanted to fly like free birds and see the world from flying atop it. Since Leonardo da Vinci or perhaps even before his times, man would had this quest. Men died while jumping from the cliffs with actuating blades tied on their back with a hop to swing these like the birds and fly. But their efforts to fly did not cease till the Wright Brothers finally made the dream come true at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Although the first aircraft flew for just 12 seconds, it made the difference and brought in the airplanes.
But man still wanted something adventurous and indigenous. Something that he could make himself and then fly. Hence the hot air ballooning surfaced as a hobby, which has now almost become more than a sport and a thriving business. Today people of all ages, men and women soar above the rivers, mountains, deserts and jungles in these balloons and watch nature right from an open canopy, and flying very close to the birds they once longed to be.
How old or new is this hobby one would like to know. I once read that Napoleon had used hot air balloon to carry out reconnaissance. Of the recorded events, one Pilatre de Rozier is said to have sent a sheep into a hot air balloon on 19th September 1783. Pilatre later died when tried to go up in his balloon which exploded mid air.
Today, hot air ballooning is a widespread hobby around the world, but for those who can afford it as it is one the most expensive hobbies. Not only being expensive, one has to have a grasp over the flying skills and techniques to pilot the balloon as winds and weather conditions can cause turbulences and quick descents which cloud be dangerous or even fatal.
Now many international competitions bring hobbyists from around the world with their multi-coloured and sometimes interesting and funny looking balloons to put their hobby and skills to compete each other. We will talk more about it in our future posts.