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Five weird facts about hot air ballooning

30/07/2022 amy Features

If you take to the skies in a balloon, you will be participating in the oldest type of manned aircraft flight. The first balloons were soaring above us over a century before rivals like the aeroplane appeared.

Given its long history, it is perhaps not surprising that many eccentric facts have built up around hot air ballooning. These are some of the strangest ones.

1. The first passengers were animals

Humans were not the first ones to experience a hot air balloon flight; instead, that honour went to a sheep, a duck and a rooster. They were on board the Aerostat Reveillon balloon built by the famed Montgolfier brothers.

All made it through the flight safely, but no one knows whether they enjoyed it or not.

2. Criminals were planned to be the first humans to fly

People were not always as sure that hot air ballooning is safe as they are now. Indeed, King Louis of France was so uncertain that he wanted convicted criminals to be used for test flights, as it would matter less if they died!

This plan did not go ahead, but only because someone able to fly the balloon had to be on board.

3. The first successful cross-Channel balloonists wore no trousers

A major step forward for hot air ballooning was the first successful flight over the Channel. The dignity of the moment was rather undermined by the fact that the balloonists arrived at their destination minus their trousers though.

They had been forced to jettison everything non-essential halfway across, when the balloon started to drop.

4. A hot air balloon duel once took place

If there is any one purpose that hot air balloons are least suited to, it is fighting a duel. That did not deter two men in Paris during 1808, when they clashed over their shared passion for a dancer.

The men climbed into their balloons, but instead of racing, they started shooting at each other with blunderbusses! Whether the female dancer was impressed or not has not been recorded.

5. People were injured by early balloons

These injuries were not caused by the hot air balloons failing, or from items within them falling and hitting people below. Instead, the spate of injuries were due to curiosity.

People could not stop looking up at the wondrous and colourful balloons, causing cricks in their necks.

If you fancy taking a hot air balloon over Bristol, Bath or South Wales, call Bailey Balloons today to book your flight.

 

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