How does a hot air balloon fly?


After assembling the various components, the pilot carries out the usual checks and checks the on-board instruments. The nacelle is lying on the ground in the wind direction. The envelope is attached to the load frame. The crew members extend the envelope. Cold air is blown in with a fan. After attaching the "valve" to the top of the envelope and ventilating it well, he heats the inside air with the burner. In successive blows, the hot air fills the envelope, which rises and the basket. After the final checks, the passengers were boarded and the pilot continued to heat the interior of the envelope until the temperature balanced the weight of the assembly.

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To leave the ground, simply raise the temperature of the inside of the envelope. The pilot, by successive heatings, maintains a constant rate of climb and then stabilizes the balloon in level flight. At any moment, by deciding to heat or not to heat, one can change altitude and modify his trajectory by finding different air currents.

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By regulating the warm-up time, the pilot reduces the aerostatic lift of the balloon and initiates a controlled descent. After having chosen a suitable terrain (nature, surface area, access routes), he proceeds with his "approach. "In the final phase, a few metres above the ground, he switches off the pilot's pilot lights, cuts off the propane supply and opens the "valve" that controls the opening of the parachute that releases the hot air. Contact with the ground will depend on the wind speed. To release the hot air, the pilot opens the parachute completely. The envelope is oriented in the direction of the wind. After the landing it is then sufficient to fold up the envelope, put it back in its bag and disassemble the different elements of the balloon and place it in the recovery vehicle, which follows the flight.

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Source: Fédération Française d'Aérostation


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Fédaration Française d'Aerostation DGAC Atout France CNPPA EASA