Thursday, 26 July 2012

History of hot air balloon

Premodern and unmanned balloon

Technical illustration from 1818 showing
early balloon designs

Unmanned hot air balloons are popular in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, in the Three Kingdoms era (220–280 AD) used airborne lanterns for military signaling. These lanterns are known as Kongming lanterns (孔明灯). There is also some speculation, from a demonstration led by British modern hot air balloonist Julian Nott in the late 1970s and again in 2003,that hot air balloons could have been used by people of the Nazca culture of Perusome 1500 to 2000 years ago, as a tool for designing the famous Nazca ground figures and lines.The first documented balloon flight in Europe was demonstrated by Bartolomeu de Gusmão. On August 8, 1709, in Lisbon, he managed to lift a balloon full of hot air about 4.5 meters in front of King John V and the Portuguesecourt.

                                                             First manned flight

A model of the Montgolfier brothers' balloon
at the London Science Museum
The first clearly recorded instance of a balloon carrying passengers used hot air to generatebuoyancy and was built by the brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier inAnnonay, Ardeche, France. After experimenting with unmanned balloons and flights with animals, the first tethered balloon flight with humans on board took place on October 15, 1783. Etienne Montgolfier made at least one tethered flight from the yard of the Reveillon workshop in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. It was most likely on October 15, 1783. A little while later on that same day, Pilatre de Rozier became the second to ascend into the air, to an altitude of 80 feet, which was the length of the tether. The firstfree flight with human passengers took place on November 21, 1783. King Louis XVI had originally decreed that condemned criminals would be the first pilots, but de Rozier, along with Marquis François d'Arlandes, successfully petitioned for the honor. The first military use of a hot air balloon happened during the battle of Fleurus (1794) where the French used the balloon l'Entreprenant as an observation post. The first manned flight of a balloon in the United States took place on June 24, 1784.

*credit by:wikipedia