How Do You Steer a Hot Air Balloon?

Steer a Hot Air Balloon

The hot air balloon was invented by brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier in 1783. This marked the first time in human history where travel by air was possible.

The hot air balloon would prove useful for making maps, exploring new territory, and winning battles. These days, hot air balloons are more fun than practical, and the knowledge of how to steer a hot air balloon is disappearing.

The good news is that we’re here to help. This article will discuss the ins and outs of hot air balloons and how to fly them.

How Hot Air Balloons Fly

Hot air balloons can best be described as floating rather than flying. While airplanes use their wings to push air beneath them and generate lift, hot air balloons capture air in their balloon and use fire to heat the air up.

It’s a scientific fact that many things respond to heat by expanding, and the air is one of them. As the air heats up, the molecules drift apart, reducing their density and making the air lighter. This causes the air to rise.

As the air in the hot air balloon is heated, it rises and pushes against the top of the balloon, creating lift.

Steering a Hot Air Balloon

Hot air balloons also differ from other aircraft in another major way–you can’t really steer them. Hot air balloons are dependent on the natural rising and falling of air in response to temperature, but they can’t control the air in any other way. This limits the number of things people can do with a hot air balloon.

They’re not entirely uncontrollable, though. Air currents move in different directions at different altitudes, so ascending and descending can help the user control direction. 

Considerations When Flying

Since hot air balloons are dependent on air currents and other natural forces to fly, it might come as no surprise that bad weather can keep them from flying. So, before searching “balloon rides near me” online, make sure the conditions are right.

Another thing to consider is how the balloon is made and what it’s made with. The nature of a hot air balloon dictates that it must be built out of light and fireproof materials.

Most hot air balloons are made from nylon, although the Montgolfoiers made theirs with silk and paper. The basket is often made from wicker, which helps absorb the impact of landing and keeps passengers from being injured.

How do You Steer a Hot Air Balloon?

How do you steer a hot air balloon? The truth is that hot air balloons can’t be steered in the same way that other vehicles can. Instead, they travel between air currents and use them to change directions.

Learning how hot air balloons work is just the first step in learning how to fly one. We encourage you to take a more detailed look into hot air balloons if you intend to fly one.

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