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How To Make A Hot Air Balloon Fly Without Fire?

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Can You Make A Hot Air Balloon Fly With No Fire?

The burner of a hot air balloon is one of the most important parts since it’s where the fire heats the balloon, but what happens if this fire stops, can the hot air balloon still be able to fly?

The answer to this is no, a hot air balloon cannot fly without fire, since this is essential for heating air inside, without warm air, the hot air balloon cannot rise since it would have the same density as the cold air outside.

To find out more about the importance of a fire in a hot air balloon, we’ve composed a guide below which will discuss why fire is important, whether it could catch fire, if it can be controlled and how to make your hot air balloon with fire.

Why Fire Is Important For a Hot Air Balloon?

The fire in your hot air balloon is made from the propane gas burner located under the basket on a hot air balloon, this is super important for a hot air balloon for it to be able to rise through buoyancy.

The fire in a hot air balloon will heat the air inside of the balloon to around 100-degrees, this then makes the air inside expand and less dense due to the warmer temperature, this difference in density compared to the outside air allows the balloon to rise.

Without a fire, the air of the balloon cannot be heated therefore cannot rise high.

Could a Hot Air Balloon Catch Fire?

The chances of a hot air balloon catching fire are very unlikely since the nylon material has a special coating to stop it from catching fire, this is the same material used by firefighters. Hot air balloons also have temperature indicators to show if they are becoming too hot, the pilot has full control over the burner.

Can Fire Be Controlled On a Hot Air Balloon?

The propane gas cylinders to make fire on a hot air balloon can be controlled by the pilot, if there are multiple burners, they can be turned on and off to make the balloons go higher or lower, gas will be limited when the balloon needs to land and increased when the balloon needs to go higher.

There is also a fuel pressure gauge to control the valve with.

How To Make Your Own Hot Air Balloon With Fire

To show why you need to fire for a hot balloon, you can try making your mini one at home with a small fire.

Materials Needed

  • Foil.
  • Birthday candles.
  • Scissors.
  • String.
  • Lighter tape.
  • Plastic straw.
  • Thin garbage bag.


  1. Begin by cutting aluminium foil into 4×4 inches to make the basket of your balloon then take your lighter and melt the end of your candle one inch from the corner of your foil.
  2. When the wax starts to harden secure the candle in place by pressing it on the corners of the foil, repeat this for all the other corners of the foil, fold the edge of the foil a 1/2 inch over to make a basket for the candles so as it can contain the wax.
  3. Now make your straw frame by measuring the opening of your plastic bag, fasten the straws in identical lengths to make the frame, you can connect them by making slits in each straw for stability.
  4. Allow the straw frame to have some distance from the candles and tape on the basket with the wicks pointing into the envelope of your balloon.
  5. Do this for the second half of your frame, find the middle of your straws and tape them in an X shape, place inside of the opening of the bag, take the balloon to an open space and get someone to hold the end of the balloon away from the basket, light the candles and watch the balloon float!

Frequently Asked Questions About Hot Air Balloons And Fire

Why does hot air help a balloon float?

Hot air helps the envelope of a balloon to expand, making the air less dense than cooler air on the outside, this then rises through convection and increase its buoyancy to allow it to lift off from the ground.

How is the fire made on a hot air balloon? 

The fire on a hot air balloon is a result of air being mixed with the propane tank, this is controlled for heating the air inside of the balloon for take-off and landing. Some larger hot air balloons have multiple gas tanks to increase the flame and temperature.

How hot does a hot air balloon become?

A hot air balloon needs to be hotter than the air on the outside the crown can reach temperatures of 100-degrees but it depends on the balloon shape.

Final Words

To conclude, a hot air balloon cannot fly without fire since this is needed to maintain the hot air inside the balloon, without the hot air, a balloon cannot rise since the air will not rise and remain as heavy as the cooler air outside.

Fires for hot balloons are created from the propane gas tanks at the bottom of the basket on a hot air balloon.

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