Thursday, June 11, 2015

A sheep, a duck, and rooster went up in a hot air balloon

           I think Man's urge to fly started when
              the first man (or woman) saw the first bird.

     And thanks to my adventurous and generous sister, several family members and I got the chance to experience what it is like to be a bird

We arrived at the Fair Winds take-off site EARLY in the morning.
 They readied the baskets. 
Lots of ropes and lines to sort out.

Our balloon, flat and forlorn, waited nearby as we munched on delicious snacks and juices.

                        Finally it was time. First the balloon is filled with ambient air blown in by a fan. 

Before long, it had enough air 
     for one of the crew to walk around inside of it. 

Then the winds came...

Unfortunately, that meant they had to let all the air out 
and the waiting began. Because we were so excited to take-off, it seemed longer than it really was. But soon the process began again. Once the balloon was refilled with "normal" air, the basket (turned on its side) allowed them to blasted hot air in from the propane tanks. 
The balloon was HUGE 

and we were ready for take-off.
                                  UP, UP, and AWAY

 I don't like heights, but there was no way I was going to miss this event. After all, in my romance novel Victorian Dream, the heroine is kidnapped by the villain and forced to take a balloon ride (saved midair by the hero of course) so how could I put her through that harrowing experience and not try it too?

It was so exciting. A bird's-eye view of life, and except for the roars and growls of the tanks breathing fire like a dragon, it was totally silent.  

With the mountains as a backdrop, it was a breathtaking view.

                                         We went up, 
                                     and we went down, 
                                   why we even turned around,
   seeking a breeze to send us eastward to our landing site. 

Just a shadow, silently passing by. 

We weren't ready for the wonderment to end, but 
an hour later, we made our decent. 
Right over the highway, YIKES 

The landing was totally exciting, hopping along the ground.

The chasers found us quickly, and after we 
got our "sea-legs" back 
we helped them pack up the equipment. 
Bye bye basket. 

What a unique and memorable experience!
Thanks Kathy, and thanks Mary for the great photos, 
especially the Us-ies.

                                    For a bit of history,
                and cool photos of  unusually shaped balloons, 
                                    please keep reading. 

    The Chinese launched unmanned lanterns and military signals a thousand years before Rozier and Montgolfier came on the scene. But these two men, in 18th Century France, perfected the long standing theories offered by so many scientists before them. 
                                Pilatre de Rozier.jpg

The Montgolfier brothers worked in paper manufacturing and noticed ash rising in the heat of fires. They are credited with sending the first non-human creatures up into the air. It almost sounds like a stand-up comics joke."A sheep, a duck, and a rooster, go up in a hot air balloon." Actually the animals were chosen with some degree of logic. The sheep was close in size and human physiology, the duck could already fly to high altitudes, and the the comparison animal a rooster was also a bird but flightless. The trip lasted about 8 minutes went 2 miles, was witnessed by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, ending with a bumpy but successful landing .

Later de Rozier and Laurent went up 500 feet and traveled about 5½ miles before landing safely 25 minutes later. Balloons were powered by hot air and then gas. Rozier and Romain lost their lives crossing the channel when the gas they used ignited. 

The material for the balloon itself started out as silk lined with paper, 

In 1836, the “Royal Vauxhall” balloon which was used as a pleasure balloon in Vauxhall Gardens was used by Charles Green with two crew and after 18 hours came down safely at Weilburg in the German Duchy of Nassau, setting a record unbeaten until 1907.

1 comment:

  1. How totally awesome, and how brave you all were! The pictures were amazing!!!!!!!!!!