Up up and away

Balloonists and their balloons are regulated by th FAA and is a federally registered aircraft.

Balloon Flying Handbook

Hot air balloons : history, evolution and great adventures
Jean Becker & Roberto Magni.
Vercelli : White Star, 2009.
Aviation enthusiasts will be borne aloft by this colorful history of hot air balloons and their creators, from the Montgolfier brothers' five-hour voyage in 1783 to the epic exploits in today's “impossible” airships. It features direct testimony from balloonists who “called upon the clouds,” along with images from their historic flights. Vintage prints and spectacular photos depict fantastic, often futuristic designs as well as the dazzling pageantry of modern-day expositions.
Lighter than air : an illustrated history of balloons and airships
Tom D. Crouch.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press ; Washington, D.C. : In association with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 2009.
Even though the speed of airplanes has made them the preferred mode of air travel, the allure of lighter than air ships continues to grow. In this sumptuously illustrated history, Crouch, a senior curator at the National Air and Space Museum, gives the history of balloon and airship travel, along with their concomitant invention, the parachute. He discusses the development of the theory and technology of ballooning before telling the stories of the first French balloonists, the Montgolfier brothers, and their contemporaries. The use of balloons for entertainment, as spies in war and for adventure is chronicled, along with the tales of the men and women who did not survive. The growth and decline of the airship is traced with its commercial demise at the beginning of World War II. Crouch also outlines early and recent scientific uses for balloons, including high-altitude and weather experiments. With a lively text to complement the pictures, this is an enjoyable book for general readers. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Balloon flying handbook
Federal Aviation Administration.
New York : Skyhorse Pub., c2007.
For pilots ready to go up, up, and away in their beautiful balloons, this official handbook is a must-have. Created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it conforms to the agency's certification standards and offers both beginning and experienced balloonists the essential knowledge necessary for safe piloting. It includes information on how to choose a balloon that best meets your needs; advice on preparing for a flight (weather checking, inspecting equipment, selecting a launch site, picking a crew); detailed instructions for inflating, launching, and landing a balloon; in-flight maneuvers for navigating in wind; regulations for balloon maintenance; requirements for earning a pilot certificate; and more. beautiful, my beautiful balloon," sang the Fifth Dimension in 1967. These flying machines consist of;

  • An envelope which is the balloon itself, is made from light weight fabrics sewn in colorful panels.
  • The basket or gondola which serves as both the cockpit and passenger compartment, can be constructed of aluminum, heavy canvess, or the more traditional wicker.
  • Burners which are the engine of the hot air balloon system, each having its own controls to adjust the flame size.

Balloons come in all the colors of the rainbow, they can depict cartoon characters, and some advertise favorite products.

Some bubbly

Don't be surprised if you receive the traditional bottle of champagne if a hot air balloon lands in your yard.

Back in the early days of ballooning, hot air balloonists flew over farmers' fields in France. Farmers were upset when the balloon needed to land on their farm because the balloon would scare the animals. As a peace offering, the balloonist offered the farmer a bottle of champagne.

A hot air balloon race is like no other race. The beginning of the race will be mesmerizing to watch with its mass ascension of the balloons as they launch one after another. Instead of the winner being the first over a finish line, the winner is determined by how close to a target the balloon pilot can drop a marker. What makes the race even more interesting is that the wind, not the pilot, decides where the balloon will go. Most balloon races are friendly competitions where having fun is more important than winning.

Attending a hot air balloon festival is fun for the whole family, a good introduction to this growing sport, and a time to think about taking a first ride. Everyone from the youngest family member to the youngest-at-heart will capture the spirit. It will be up, up and away for everyone.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff