Archives for May 2018


I never gave a thought to hot air ballooning until one day while living in Dubai I looked up and saw about 30 colourful balloons glide silently across the sky. I was transfixed by the sight. The pale blue sky, tinged with orange, provided a Hollywood style background to the floating balloons. The stillness only added to the uniqueness of the moment as the cluster of balloons moved over the rows of villas surrounding me.


The Chinese used unmanned hot air balloons as far back as 220AD. Called sky lanterns, these flying objects were used for signalling between armies. However, it was many centuries later before flying balloons were suitably designed to carry humans. In the 1780s, the French Montgolfier brothers developed their hot air balloon and on September 19th 1783, it drifted aloft in a 10 minute tethered flight. The first free flight with human passengers was made a few weeks later, on November 21, 1783. Since then, hot air balloons have been used for military purposes to provide a bird’s eye view of battle fields and also for spying. By the 1960s, hot air balloon technology had developed to the point that created the machines we see in the sky today. In the past 20 years, they have become increasingly popular for leisure and tourist activities. read more