British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams recently reached 43,000 feet in a hot air balloon – it’s the highest anyone has ever gone in a wicker basket balloon, almost 10,000 feet higher than the previous record. The flight took three-and-a-half hours. David had to breathe oxygen to cope with the thin air, and had to dress up warm – temperatures were as low as -80C! However, at the time of writing, David is still awaiting confirmation of the record, as there are suggestions that he may have been in US restricted airspace.
Have you ever wondered how hot air balloons work?
You might like to …
• make some trials with ordinary balloons, in an airstream, indoors
• use balloons to track airstreams and thermals (take care that there are no overhead power lines and that you will not interfere with air traffic)
• find out how the fabric of a hot air balloon is put together
• devise a way of testing the seams of a balloon; carry out some trials
• find out what balloons are used for at very high altitude; vary the seam test to take account of these conditions.
To find out how hot air balloons work, take a look a this link: