Would you ever ride in a hot air balloon? Imagine gliding 2,000 feet in the air, held up only by the density of hot air versus cold air. Only able to steer by finding the right wind pocket. Sounds amazing, right?! The entire concept of ballooning is pretty magnificent. We achieved human flight, defying gravity itself, all because someone blew hot air into a giant bag.
This past weekend, I was hit with the weight of this achievement while watching the hot air balloon classic near my hometown.
Colorful orbs dotted the sky, attesting to beauty of being airborne. Did you know that hot air balloons were actually the first form of human air travel? You can thank the Parisians.
After successfully sending a duck, sheep and rooster ballooning in 1783, we decided it was safe enough for humans. So, these two French daredevils embarked on one of the greatest human adventures of all time: human flight. Even Benjamin Franklin wrote in his journal of the iconic flight:
“We observed it lift off in the most majestic manner. When it reached around 250 feet in altitude, the intrepid voyagers lowered their hats to salute the spectators. We could not help feeling a certain mixture of awe and admiration.”
I can’t help but relate to his description when I see hot air balloons. It’s fascinating to watch them gracefully float upward, hanging like Christmas ornaments against an azure backdrop.
Compare this to today’s Blackbird jet that travels a mind-boggling 2,200 miles per hour. It’s insane how far we’ve advanced!
Yet, no matter how much farther or faster humans fly, there will always be an enchanting quality about our first form of flight. Those lazily bobbing bags of hot air will forever signify a sensational milestone in history: the day we said goodbye to the ground. The day we first traveled up, up and away.