Sunday, April 28, 2013

hot air balloons

For someone who is terrified of open tread stairs and elevators with windows and really does not do well with flying in airplanes, it is odd that there is a part of me that would love to go up in a hot air balloon.

it has been 130 years since the Montgolfier brothers, Jacques and Joseph invented the hot air balloon. the first flight flight contained a goat, duck and chicken on board, when all returned to the ground safely and alive, a manned flight was planned two months later. that one lasted for twenty minutes over Paris. I can barely imagine the reaction of the crowds watching below!

The balloon is made of the envelope, a burner and a basket. Safety has improved over the years, but  the basic components are just the same as when the first balloon rose into the air.

Wicker is used for the basket as it is extremely stable, durable, flexible. It is ideal for balloon baskets, since it is able to withstand the impact of landing, and also absorb some of the shock, keeping the balloon passengers more comfortable.

The rip-stop nylon that the envelope is made from is durable and fireproof, so there's little chance of the the wind tearing it open, nor of the burner flame setting the envelope on fire, unlike early balloons, which were actually quite fragile.

The original burners were little more than an open fire pit in the basket. Most modern burners utilize propane gas, which is stored in the basket in cylinders. A thin pipe carries the propane to the pilot light, and a thick one takes propane to a special high-pressure valve. When the pilot opens this valve, a stream of propane gas is ignited by the pilot flame, heating the air inside the balloon and causing the balloon to ascend.
(info from hot air balloons)


  1. Great stamps, the designs on the Cuban ones are particularly eye-catching.

    1. yes, our balloons seem more generic than interesting. the Cuban ones have more flash.

  2. I love to see them against the sky but I'm afraid I'm way too much of a chicken to go up in one.

  3. its my dream to fly in one of these! i also have a fear of hights but not on a plane so maybe i can pull it off...great stamps, i love both sets :)

  4. The Canadian stamps have the bonus of being triangular! The balloons on the Cuban stamps are more individual.
    Thank you for joining us this week.

  5. The Cuban blue and gold balloon looks really nice! But nope, I would be too scared to try.

  6. I always like seeing hot air balloons, but the I get the Fifth Dimension's song stuck in my head. As it is now.

  7. I like the floating feel of the Canada sheet, the Cuban one on the left looks like a piece of porcelain. I remember reading an article about the siege of Paris when they floated mail in and out in balloons running the gauntlet of being shot down. I drooled over that piece of postal history.

  8. Beautiful balloon stamps and illustrations! Loved reading about them as well. We went to the Albuquerque hot air balloon fiesta once many years ago and really loved seeing hundreds of them in the sky!

  9. I always wanted to go in one - bought a flight for our 15th wedding anniversarry 24 years ago - spent two years and six attempts but each time the flight was called off because the weather wasn't right - never went - never got our money back. Tried again in New Zealand in 2001 and again the weather wasn't right but at least we hadn't paid for it.


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