Sunday, July 8, 2007

How Do Hot Air Balloons Fly?

To explain how hot air balloons fly, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Is your home is warmer upstairs than it is downstairs?
  2. Have you ever noticed that the hot air from smoke stacks always goes up into the sky?
This occurs because warm air rises and cold air descends.

Now, if that warm air could be captured and kept warm, then we'd have a hot air balloon!

Here's a picture of a hot air balloon:
How is it flown?
Hot air balloon pilots control their altitude changing the temperature of the air inside the balloon.

Use the following illustration as a guide to a hot air balloon:
To gain altitude, pilots use burners to warm the air inside of the envelope (the balloon).

To reduce altitude, pilots open vents at the top of the balloon to slowly release the warm air.

The direction of flight is controlled by the wind.

This YouTube video has a good information on hot air balloons:

You can read more about hot air balloons here.

Pretty cool!

Dr. Dave

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