While hot air balloons are generally thought of as high-flying vehicles, the fact is that in normal conditions, their altitude is quite low. The highest altitude any hot air balloon has been taken to is around 8000 feet.
This is achieved by letting the balloon fly up to altitudes between 7000 and 8000 feet, and then dropping altitude so the balloon is no longer held aloft by the hot air surrounding it. It’s not as high as a balloon that is in free-flight, but it’s significantly higher than it would be if it were in the air.
Highest Helium Balloon Flight
This year will be remembered as the year of the super-hot-air-balloon, as we witnessed the world’s only hot-air-balloon that hefted a payload of over 700 kilograms (or 1,500 pounds) soar to the edge of space.
The Rainbow Warrior II reached heights of 32,000 feet (9,800 meters), and stayed there for 34 minutes, before descending back to Earth. The feat has set new world records for altitude and duration, and also set the bar for future balloon flights.
In February, American hot air balloonist Paul McRoberts became the first person to fly a balloon at more than 100,000 feet when he achieved a record-setting flight last year.
McRoberts, who works for the Goodyear-owned company Weather Balloon, made two trips to the stratosphere to reach 100,000 feet, and in his third flight he reached 108,500 feet.
To record the flight, McRoberts needed a camera that could withstand the extreme cold, so he used a Nikon camera with a thermal imager, which takes pictures in infrared light.
Fedor Konyukhov Sets Sights on Hot-air balloon altitude record
Over the years, hot-air balloon pilots have seen their efforts grow from a curiosity, into a profession, and even into an art form, albeit an expensive one.
The heavy-lifting they undertake when they take to the air can be a real challenge. In the past, there was little by way of equipment that could be used, so pilots had to rely on their bodily strength.
Flying stratospheric balloons can be a risky business. In the past, hot-air balloons have suffered from mechanical failures, high winds, and uncontrolled fires.
But on July 15th, 2016 a Russian hot-air balloonist will attempt to break the current world altitude record for a hot-air balloon flight, and he’s going for the most controversial prize of all: the record that stands at 97,524 feet.
Is there any altitude level limitations for air balloons?
Air balloons are great and all, but they have one major flaw. They aren’t very practical if you want to reach the stratosphere.
The problem is that air temperatures at the upper reaches of the atmosphere get so cold that air balloons can’t keep the gas inside the balloons in a liquid state.
You know how you can fly in a plane and go to just about any altitude, several thousand feet above the ground? Well, it turns out that you can do the same thing with hot air balloons.
It’s no secret that hot air balloons can reach heights of 4000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level. The record-holder is a balloon in China that reached an altitude of 4,312 meters (14,123 feet).
Additionally, balloons can easily reach altitudes of over 10,000 meters (33,000 feet), but the air is too thin and the balloons too fragile to safely stay up there for long.
Specially designed air balloons are not limited by altitude limitations. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the one to address this question.
The maximum altitude that you can fly at with a standard hot air balloon is 12,000 feet. The reason is that the temperature at this level causes the envelope to get stiff and it would collapse if you go higher.
Can you fly a balloon without oxygen?
Yes, hot air balloons can fly without oxygen. Hot air balloons require some oxygen, but it can be incredibly thin.
The idea of flying a hot air balloon without an oxygen supply isn’t as far fetched as it seems. In 1938, the first hot air balloon flight without airbags took place, and it took place at the balloon’s launch site.
Today, the majority of hot air balloons don’t use parachutes. Instead, if the balloon is above the ground, it will use the force of gravity to land on the ground, and if it’s not, the balloon will use its own buoyancy to fall to earth.
What is the air temperature and pressure in the stratosphere?
The air temperature at the edge of the stratosphere is approximately -80 °C (-112 °F) and air pressure is about 1/1000th that at sea level.
The stratosphere is the second highest layer of our atmosphere, located between the troposphere and the mesosphere.
The stratosphere is divided into two parts: the lower stratosphere, which extends from about 10 kilometers to 50 kilometers above the surface, and the upper stratosphere, which extends from 50 kilometers to 90 kilometers above the ground.
Air temperature and pressure is generally uniform. The air is very thin in this layer and cannot support floating objects such as airplanes and hot air balloons.