First Hot Air Balloon Passengers Weren’t People
A hot air balloon tragedy in Egypt claimed the lives of 19 tourists when the sightseeing balloon they were aboard exploded and crashed to the ground. But there have been many fatalities over the years since the very first balloon flight in 1783.
The first balloon passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster for a flight that lasted 15 minutes before it crashed to the ground. And there’s no word on the fate of those first three passengers.
Two French brothers were the first human passengers. They flew for 20 minutes over Paris before returning safely to the ground.
Then just two years later a Frenchman and an American co-pilot were the first to fly across the English Channel.
But that same year another Frenchman was killed trying to do the same thing.
George Washington witnessed the first flight of a hot air balloon in this country in 1793.
The first successful flight across the Atlantic came in 1978. It took 137 hours.
Then three years later it took 84 hours for a flight across the Pacific from Japan to California.
Then finally the first around the world flight came in 1999. It began in Switzerland and lasted 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes before landing in Africa. Steve Fossett set the quickest around the world flight, 13 days, 8 hours and 33 minutes.
The largest hot air balloons can carry 30 people or more.
The world record for highest altitude by a hot air balloon was 68,986 feet in November, 2005 in India.