Can You Fly Around The World In A Hot Air Balloon? – Our Guide
Have you ever wondered just how far a hot air balloon can go, is there a limit, or could manage to fly all around the world?
Well, a hot air balloon has indeed been flown around the world twice in fact, once by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones and a second time solo by Steven Fossett in July 2002.
We’ve composed an informative guide below which will take you through how Fosset managed to fly around the world in 2002 and insights into his journey, other historical facts about hot air balloon flying as well as how far a hot air balloon flight can go.
How Did A Hot Air Balloon Fly Round The World?
In July 2002, Steve Fossett managed to become the first person to fly a hot air balloon around the world solo, making a world record. He called his hot air balloon the Spirit Of Freedom taking from Australia, he covered a distance of 19,428.6 miles and the sixth attempt journey lasted for a total of 13 days.
At times it was said the adventurer Steve Fossett has pushed along at wind speeds of 200 mph at times due to unsettling weather conditions, but the weather was still on his side compared to previous attempts.
Other Historical Around The World Balloon Flights
As we mentioned above, Steve Fossett was not the only person who managed to fly a hot air balloon around the world, the first successful attempt in 1999 was by Betrand Piccard and Brian Jones who left the Swiss Alps.
We’ve listed a general historical timeline of hot air balloons and how they managed to develop them round the world record-breaking flight attempts below.
- 1783 – Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes first flight from Paris in the world. This was also the year for the first gas hydrogen balloon flight although very dangerous.
- 1785 – Pilatre de Rozier and Pierre Romain try to attempt to cross the English channel in their hot air balloon but fail and crash to their death.
- 1804 – A gas hot air balloon is flown up to 20,000 ft in the air by Joseph Gay-Lussac.
- 1861 – Gas balloons became very popular during the American civil war, they were also used for smuggling civilians and items out of a Prussian siege.
- 1931 – Auguste Piccard managed to get up to 52,000 feet in a gas hot air balloon being inside of a capsule rather than a traditional hot air basket.
- 1960 – The modern hot air balloon is now created out of nylon and propane and in 1978 the double edge hot air balloon crossed the Atlantic in a helium balloon.
- 1987 – Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand managed to take a hot air balloon across the Atlantic in 33 hours.
- 1999 – Swiss Betrand Piccard and Brian Jones used a hot air balloon with hot air and helium to go round the world in a modern balloon design, this took 22 days.
- 2002 – Steve Fossett went around the world in his hot air balloon solo taking just 13 days.
How Far Can A Hot Air Balloon Go?
If a hot air balloon can fly around the world, then you might wonder just how far one can keep going and why we don’t use them for long-distance travel, with most hot air balloon rides lasting just 1-2 hours.
Well, a hot air balloon can keep going depending on how much fuel is inside its tanks, the more fuel, the longer it can keep the air hot on the inside and stay afloat, time inside a hot air balloon is also dependent on the weather which can be unpredictable.
To conclude, around the world hot air balloon trip has been completed twice, once in 1999 by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones making it a historical balloon flight then a second time in 2002 solo by Steve Fossett.
Hot air balloons have come a long way since the gas balloon flight types and can travel many miles as long as they have enough fuel, however, long flights come with risk, due to unstable weather conditions which could hit at any time.
I’m Annie, a twenty-something year old girl who loves hot air balloons. So much so, that I have a full time job as a Flight Instructor and it is all I love talking about. Something about being up there in the elevated altitudes helps all my stresses float away!