Hot Air Balloons!

Last weekend there was the annual Plainsville, CT Hot Air Balloon festival.

While the name ‘Plainsville’ does not conjure up any thoughts of wild adventure, follow it up with ‘Hot Air Balloon’ and you’re sure for a good time. I went out Sunday morning to see the morning launch. It was pretty spectacular.

Hot Stuff

Upon arriving the balloons were just getting fired up. The red balloon on the left in the image above, was definitely my favorite. Many of the other balloons (there were about 20) had dark colors that did not compliment the flame. When the operator of the balloon above ignited his burner the light colors glowed vibrantly and the results were stunning.

The only unfortunate part was that it was a bit cloudy. But it didn’t matter too much. Little kids were still running around pointing with jaws agape as balloon after balloon entered the sky. It was quite a sight.

Many Balloons

I realized, I knew very little about hot air balloons. So here are the questions that I couldn’t help but think of while there, and the answers that I just researched.

Q. Hot hot does it get inside the balloon itself?
A. Most balloons operate with an internal temperature of about 250 degrees fahrenheit

Q. What’s the melting point of the fabric?
A. The fabric is typically Nylon which, depending on the variety, won’t melt until over 500 degrees fahrenheit.

Q. What is the fuel typically used for Balloons?
A. These days, propane.

Q. How do they steer?
A. They can’t. The best they can do is ascend to different levels in the atmosphere. Often times wind blows in different directions at different altitudes, so the experienced balloon pilot can manage to move himself/herself in the desired direction.

Q. I wonder if it’s windy when you’re in the balloon basket?
A. It’s not. The balloon moves with the wind, so any passengers won’t feel the rushing air. Apparently this makes the ride super serene.

Here’s a video of two balloons getting inflated. It was pre-sunrise for this video, so you can get a feel for the illumination from the burners.

This second video shows four of the balloons up and ready to go.

This event was super fun, I think I will make an effort to attend next year as well.

4 thoughts on “Hot Air Balloons!

  • 8/30/2006 at 7:45 am

    Hey, it’s Plainville, not Plainsville! Though the name is apt.

  • 8/30/2006 at 10:54 am

    That is so cool! I’ve loved hot air balloons since I was little. Every Labor Day in Colorado Springs, they have a hot air balloon race. The first balloon was always the one that looked like Mr. Peanut. I don’t know why he was always first. Maybe he was the pace balloon or something. I wonder how long it takes to learn how to pilot one of those things.


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