37 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2022 Media Guide FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Everything You Wanted To Know About Hot Air And Gas Balloons [CONTINUED] WHAT ARE HOT AIR BALLOONS MADE OF? The bag – or envelope, as it’s more properly called – is made of a reinforced fabric called rip-stop nylon. Polyester and other fabrics are sometimes used. The materials are very lightweight and very strong. The fabric is coated on the inside to prevent leaks. The fabric used at the lower portion of the balloon is a fire-resistant material like Nomex, which is what firemen and race car drivers we ar. HOW IS A HOT AIR BALLOON INFLATED? During the inflation process, ballooning becomes a group sport. Since a balloon is quite unwieldy on the ground, it can take about four people to get a balloon inflated. Of course, the more people there are the more fun you can have. To start off, the envelope is stretched out on the ground and attached to the basket, which is lying on its side. A small gasoline-powered fan blows air into the balloon envelope. Then the burner is turned on, and the air in the balloon is heated. The hot air rises, lifting the balloon upright. WHAT ARE THE BASKETS MADE OF? The baskets are usually woven out of wicker since it is strong, lightweight and flexible. Wicker is also very easy to maintain and holds up well under the stress of repeated landings. HOW BIG ARE HOT AIR BALLOONS? The typical sport balloon ranges in size from 65,000 to 105,000 cubic feet in volume, and when inflated stands around 70 feet tall (or equivalent in height to a building with seven floors). HOW DO BALLOONS FLY? Hot air balloons fly because hot air rises. When the pilot heats the air inside the envelope, it becomes lighter than the air around the envelope and floats up into the sky. The pilot can control the balloon’s altitude by adjusting the temperature of the air inside the envelope. To make the balloon come down, the air inside the balloon is allowed to cool. To climb, more heat from the propane burner is added, increasing lift. HOW DO YOU STEER THE THING? Strictly speaking, you don’t. The balloon goes where the wind takes it. However, the winds at varying altitudes may blow in different directions and at different speeds, so the trick is to climb or descend to an altitude where the wind is blowing the direction you want to go. HOW FAST DOES A BALLOON GO? As fast, or as slow, as the wind. Since the balloon has no forward propulsion system, its speed is determined entirely by the speed of the wind. That’s why balloon races are events of accuracy, not speed.

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