What is Balloon Ascension Day?

09/01/2022 Mark Features

Ask anyone who has taken a ride in a hot air balloon, and they will undoubtedly tell you it is one of the most breath-taking experiences out there. From soaring over busy towns and cities to taking in the views of famous landmarks and stunning countryside, ballooning is an exciting yet peaceful way to see the world from a different point of view.

Balloon Ascension Day takes place on Sunday, 9th January. Read on for more information about this historic day.

The history of Balloon Ascension Day

Every year on 9th January, Balloon Ascension Day is observed by many to celebrate the first manned balloon flight that took place in America. The day commemorates Jean Pierre Blanchard’s flight on 9th January 1793. Blanchard was a French aeronaut who is generally known as being the man who invented balloon flight. On this day, in front of a large crowd – which included the then President of the United States, George Washington – Blanchard flew a hydrogen-gas powered balloon approximately 1,200 feet, reaching an altitude of 200 fathoms.

The flight took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the balloon taking off from opposite the Walnut Street Prison. The flight is considered the very first aerial journey in America. Records state that the flight was a short one, lasting only 46 minutes. Steering was very limited during the flight, and so Blanchard apparently drifted to a farm, where he landed and asked locals to assist him with travelling back to Philadelphia.

Blanchard was very successful in creating a buzz around the flight, which encouraged great interest and large crowds. This wonderous achievement is said to have ignited American’s fascination with ballooning.

How to celebrate the day

Since 2011, people have celebrated this special historical moment on 9th January by taking to the skies. Whether an experienced ballooner or a complete novice, this would be the ideal time to take a flight and honour Jean Pierre Blanchard’s achievement. You could take a flight with family or friends to enjoy the sights, the rush of the wind and the euphoria that comes with flying. What a memory of a lifetime this would make!

The weather at this time of year is not always suitable for ballooning, so instead, Balloon Ascension Day could be celebrated by planning a trip for the near future. Perhaps there is a special location you have always wanted to visit or landmark you have wanted to explore. There is no better way to take in all of the views than soaring over these places in a hot air balloon. Another thrilling way to celebrate Balloon Ascension Day is to find out where flights are going to be taking place from and witness the spectacle of them launching and soaring through the sky for yourself. It is quite a sight and might inspire you to take your first or next flight.

The joy of hot air ballooning comes from the exhilaration of being able to enjoy spectacular views from such unique vantage points, and there is one key question: where will your next flight take you?

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