Will the FAA ever let a hot air balloon be considered a specified air vehicle (SAV) and added to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) register? The answer in the affirmative is unlikely, but the answer in the negative is also unlikely.
The debate over whether or not a hot air balloon is an aircraft has been going on for more than 200 years. The question itself was first asked by British Parliament member Robert Adair in 1785.
The term aircraft refers to any vehicle that flies in the air. Hot air balloons are piloted craft that rise into the air using hot air.
Even though you may see the balloon floating above the ground, the craft is not supported by the ground below, and the pilot must steer it into the air.
The craft must also be loaded with enough hot air to keep the pilot aloft for a certain period of time. And today air balloon is consider a type of an aircraft.
Did you know hot air ballooning is a regulated form of aviation? You don’t know what an aircraft is, right?
What is an aircraft?
When you think about airplanes, you have a few ideas in your mind. They might be thoughts like “fast”, “big”, “dangerous”, “safe”, or “fun”. You may have even heard the phrase “it’s an aircraft, not an airplane.” The truth is, airplanes are a little of everything.
They are fast, big, safe, fun, and dangerous. They are made by companies, they are made by hundreds of people, they are made by hundreds of thousands of people, and they are made by the FAA.
An aircraft is a machine that can fly within the air in a controlled manner. The word “aircraft” has a Latin origin, and means “air + wing.” Aircraft are used for transportation, travel, and military purposes.
We all know what an aircraft is, but sometimes it is hard to define exactly what it is. Even the military doesn’t always know exactly what an aircraft is.
The military’s definition of an aircraft is “an air-borne vehicle that can carry a load and is equipped with one or more propulsion systems.”
This definition says that an aircraft has a load, and therefore, it has to be able to carry something. But an aircraft is also more than just a load. An aircraft is also an air-borne vehicle that can fly.
The other types of an aircraft classifications
Just because a plane is called a “airplane” doesn’t mean it’s a plane. The vast majority of aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, which are craft with no wings. But fixed-wing aircraft are not the only types of aircraft. There are also jet aircraft, gyroplanes, helicopters, blimps, even flying bicycles.
There are many types of aircraft. The types differ by size, their purpose, and the technology they use to fly. All aircraft are manufactured with a goal in mind.
They are built for a specific purpose and designed to achieve an objective. Most aircraft are driven by what is known as the thrust-to-weight ratio.
It is the amount of thrust applied to the aircraft and the weight of the aircraft compared to each other. This is usually expressed as a percentage.
Fixed wing aircraft. ( Airplanes )
Fixed-wing aircraft have been around for quite some time now, yet modern technology has enabled them to become more affordable and efficient over the years.
Some of the more notable projects that have used the fixed-wing aircraft include the NASA/AAE-2 SkyLift, the Bombardier Argosy, the Gulfstream G200, and the Bell 407.
- Turbo prop engines.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost series is a long-running British airliner that has been in production since 1980. Named for its distinctive engine installation, the Ghost series has evolved over the years, with the latest Ghost V (2012) marking the high point of the series.
The latest Ghost V features a hybrid powertrain, taking turbo-prop technology (the Rolls-Royce Trent family, the world’s most powerful turboprop engines) and applying it to a new design.
- Piston type of airplanes.
In piston aircraft, the engine is contained within the wings of the aircraft, such as the Cessna 172 or the Beechcraft Baron. The piston is the simplest aircraft to make, and the one that most pilots start out with.
But it is also the slowest and least useful for carrying large amounts of cargo. Because of this, piston aircraft are often used for short-distance air taxi and personal flying, since their light weight makes them very nimble and their fuel efficiency allows them to fly further and longer than their larger and more powerful cousins.
- Narrow body airplanes.
The B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, the B-25 Mitchell, the B-52 Strat fortress, the B-1 Lancer, the B-2 Spirit, the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-18 Hornet, the MiG-29 Fulcrum, the P-51 Mustang.
The Tornado GR4, the Harrier GR7, the C-130 Hercules, the F-22 Raptor, the AH-64 Apache Longbow, the F-35 Lightning II, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Boeing 737, the Boeing 747, and the Boeing 777 have all been widely recognized as iconic aircraft that have shaped the history of aviation
Non-fixed wing aircraft. ( Rotorcraft)
Non-fixed wing aircraft are something that you either love or hate. I personally don’t like them at all, but I understand that other people do.
Rotorcraft (or rotary wing) aircraft have a history that spans more than a century, earning their moniker because of their ability to rotate to any direction. But this term can also refer to any plane that uses rotor blades for propulsion or control (such as helicopters or planes with engines mounted in the tail).
As we all know, the helicopter (helicopter) is the most popular and widely used aircraft today, and for good reason. For starters, helicopters are a safe and efficient way to get around the air.
This is because helicopters have the ability to hover in place and quickly change direction without making a potentially dangerous landing.
Just like airplanes, helicopters can be used to travel long distances, which makes them ideal for short distances or for trips that are a long way from the pilot’s home base.
Gyroplanes are a relatively new class of aircraft, and their popularity is exploding, as you can see by the number of posts on various Facebook groups like “Gyroplane Flyer”.
However, what many people don’t realize is that they’re a lot like helicopters, only they fly upside down. The difference between the two is that the gyroplane has a spinning rotor which generates lift in an opposite direction to the main rotor.
The propellers stay in the same position, but the blades rotate in the opposite direction and produce thrust in the same direction.
Lighter than air aircraft.
The first manned lighter than air aircraft was invented in 1852 by Thomas Brown and Joseph Henry’s steam-powered lighter than air machine. The Wright brothers then experimented with their own version of a heavier than air aircraft, but the early design failed to work.
Before World War I, lighter than air aircraft were used primarily for military purposes. After the war, lighter than air technology developed quickly.
In 1930, the German company Zeppelin attempted to test a new design of helium-filled airships, but the design was flawed, and the project was abandoned.
- Air balloons.
- Airships .
A lighter than air aircraft (LTA) is an aircraft that uses lighter than air (LTA) technology to fly. LTA aircrafts use helium or hydrogen just like planes, but unlike planes, the LTA craft do not need wings or a power source, and are instead lifted by a special gas.
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!