The Hot Air Balloon

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When I was still working, I never fail to attend the annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark Field, Pampanga -- a former United States Airforce Base situated 80 kilometers north of the Philippine capital city of Manila.

This yearly event is participated in by various international hot air balloon enthusiasts. I get mesmerized whenever I see these huge balloons of every shape, size and colors take off one by one at dawns early light. I always wondered how these balloonists manage to rise and drift away with only a slight breeze.

Unlike an airplane that has an engine and directional control, these balloons remarkably reach their pre-planned destinations all the time. What if a strong wind current suddenly blows them toward the sea or a mountain? These thoughts come to my mind as I know nothing about the mechanics of flying a balloon. I am just a mere spectator awed by such marvelous heavier than aircraft.

I know a bit about aviation and I am very familiar with light aircraft. I spent twelve (12) years working for an aviation company.


Forgive my ignorance, but still I can't figure out how a hot air balloon can get you from point A to point B by just drifting away. It sure is a magical ride on a hot air balloon. I can't imagine myself standing inside that large wicker basket or gondola while floating away at less than two thousand feet I suppose. The view up there must be extremely thrilling and exhilarating. It is a kind of open-air flight all the way. I am pretty sure I'd rather be sitting on the basket floor all through out the flight rather than standing up and watching the world go by. 

Hot Air Balloons are said to be the oldest successful human carrying flight technology. It all started in France back in 1783. Because it simply drifts with the wind, they are also known as THERMAL AIRSHIPS. Although I have never flown in one, my fertile imagination tells me that flying on a hot air balloon can be the most breathtaking and amazing experience of a life time.

Can someone tell me how much will it cost to buy a hot air balloon? JOKE JOKE JOKE! I don't even have a dollar in my wallet. Perhaps a toy balloon will suit me fine! Up up and away!

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