Hot Air Balloon: Who Invented, Types, Applications

A hot air balloon is an aircraft that is lighter than air and consists of a bag, known as an envelope, which contains heated air.

Below is a wicker basket or gondola, which can carry passengers, and a source of heat, which is, in maximum cases, an open flame caused by a burning liquid called propane.

The French brothers Jacques-Etienne and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier created a hot air balloon in Annoanay, Ardeche, France. The demonstration was held on 19th September 1783.

The first hot air balloon passengers were a duck, a sheep, and a rooster, and the balloon stood in the air for around 1o to 15 minutes before returning to the ground. The first hot air balloon flight with humans was performed on around 15th October 1783.

Jean-Pierre Blanchard was the first person to fly a hot air balloon in multiple countries, including the Netherlands, the United States, and Germany.

The hot air inside the envelope turns it buoyant, as it has a lower density than the colder air outside it. Like all aircraft, a hot air balloon cannot fly beyond the atmosphere. There is no need to seal the bottom part of the envelope, as the air inside it is similar to the pressure of the surrounding air.

Types of Hot Air Balloons

There are basically two significant types of hot air balloons, such as:

  • Montgolfier-type balloons.
  • Hybrid balloon.

The Following Are Some Examples of Hot Air Balloons

There are various kinds of hot air balloons, such as:

Montgolfier Hot Air Balloon:

This was the first hot air balloon that was famous for carrying a human being. It was created by the Montgolfier brothers, who were balloon pilots.

Sky Lanterns:

These were famous as the forerunners of manned hot air balloons. It is mainly a small version of a hot air balloon and is made of thin paper and a bamboo frame.

Roziere Hot Air Balloons:

This was another very popular kind of hot air balloon that reached the speed of mph. The gondolas in these balloons were actually capsules that could protect the crew from dangers like cold temperatures and low oxygen levels.

Racing Hot Air Balloons:

This kind of hot air balloon has become a very popular outdoor activity and is used by many people to compete with each other.

Observation Balloons:

These types of hot air balloons were used during the first World War to observe what the enemy was doing on the battle frontline.

Novelty Hot Air Balloons:

These are the modern hot air balloons that are created without compromising the actual integrity of the fabric.

Applications of Hot Air Balloons

Different types of hot air balloons have different types of applications, such as:

Conservation Hot Air Balloons:

Hot air balloons are used to assist with tasks related to wildlife preservation. The hot air balloons can fly without disturbing the area’s natural atmosphere and the animals’ behavior. This helps scientists to observe animals without disturbing them.

Tourism Purposes:

Hot air balloons of the traditional style are used mainly in the tourism industry. These balloons and powered by burned propane and have wicker gondola baskets.


Hot air balloons like sky lanterns were mainly used as a vital part of festivals and even religious events. In China, they were also used as a means of giving signals.

Observation Purposes:

During important wars, some kinds of hot air balloons were used to observe the enemies on the frontline.

So, this article discusses some vital factors regarding a hot air balloon.

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