A hot air balloon flies because it is lifted by the heated and less dense air inside the balloon. The heat makes it lighter and less dense, than the air outside of the balloon.
Doesn’t that look like fun? I have been on a balloon ride a couple of times and it was amazing?
How does a Hot Air Balloon Fly
The balloon is able to fly and rise up into the sky because it is lighter than an equal volume of cooler air on the outside. Hot air is less dense than cooler air. The system utilizes a burner that heats up the air on the inside of the balloon. The fuel source for the burners is typically propane gas. The flame under the balloon heats up the air.
How Hot Air Balloons Work
An important term that helps answer the question, how does a hot air balloon fly, is the term buoyancy. It kind of works like the way boats float on water. The pilot or flight operator pumps the flames and the hot air comes out the vents at the top of the burners. This is how they control the buoyancy for the ride.
Composed of 3 Parts
- The Envelope: the balloon
- The Burner: burns and sends the heat up into the envelope
- The Basket: The area underneath where the pilot and passengers stand.
The heated air is trapped inside, making it more buoyant and less dense than the outside air.
If you have been on a balloon flight or seen them operated on TV, then you may have noticed how the operator will work the burners when more heat is needed to stay afloat, or to rise higher in the sky.