Boost your Balloon IQ

 Boost your Balloon IQ

While you’re lifted in a hot air balloon at the Tunica Balloon Bash, the experience might make you wonder how the 70-foot-tall balloons work. Read on to find out hot air balloon basics and how they launch from the ground.

On a hot air balloon, each long, vertical strip is called a “gore.” Each gore is divided into multiple squares, called “panels.” Inside the hot air balloon basket attached to the gores, propane tanks and other pilot equipment is stored.

In order to inflate the hot air balloon, it is spread across the ground and the basket is laid on its side. The balloon is held open and a fan is used to blow air inside. The hot air balloon is then lifted into the air and fueled by liquid propane gas.

Certain conditions have to be met for a successful flight. Early mornings and late afternoons are best for flying hot air balloons because the winds are calmest during these times. Wind and temperature changes can make mid-day flights too difficult. Balloons cannot fly in the rain because the heat from the balloon will cause water to boil on top of the balloon, and the balloon will be destroyed.

Don’t let a fear of heights discourage you from riding in a hot air balloon. Hot air balloons have two independent burner systems available, in case one goes out. In a worst case scenario where both burners fail, the balloon would float to the ground as a parachute at about 10 miles per hour.

To make hot air balloon rides even safer, they are flown by experienced pilots. Pilots have a commercial pilot’s license that they obtained by taking at least 35 hours of flight instruction in aviation training.

For more information about hot air balloons, check out these other blogs:

1st Annual Tunica Balloon Bash (includes a full event schedule)

A Hot Air Balloon History Lesson

Hot Air Balloons in Pop Culture

Our Favorite Pins, Projects and Time Passers to Prepare for the Tunica Balloon Bash

The Tunica Balloon Bash is November 9-11, and will include tethered rides, a balloon glow and $12,000 hot air balloon competition. Participate in the Balloon Bash on social media using #TunicaBalloonBash.

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