Soaring Over the Sonoran!
As you know, Scottsdale offers an abundance of natural beauty and breathtaking vistas. Have you considered taking in those jaw-dropping views from 1,000+ feet above the desert floor? Hot air ballooning is particularly popular here as our sunshine, mild weather, iconic sunsets and scenic beauty make Scottsdale one of the best places in the world to soar! There are a handful of reputable hot air ballooning companies nearby offering everything from sunrise and sunset flights, to romantic private excursions, to tethered flights for those less brave! Perhaps a balloon flight is on your bucket list! Here, we thought we’d share some fun facts about ballooning:
Oldest Form of Flight – Move over Wright Brothers. The hot air balloon is the first and oldest form of flight, having flown over a century before the airplane was invented. The first flight took place in France in 1783 and flew to the delight of King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the entire French court in Versailles. This first flight was pilotless, as the effects of air travel on humans were unknown. It was a tethered flight, rising 1,500 feet in the air and its passengers were a sheep, a duck and a chicken.
King Louis XVI had decided the first human travelers would be condemned criminals, as they were to die anyway. Yet instead, two scientists piloted the first human-flown expedition. They flew for 20 minutes and landed safely unharmed.
Break Out the Bubbly – You’re likely aware of the time-honored custom of sharing a bottle of champagne at a flight’s end. But did you know the origin of this effervescent tradition? As ballooning became popular among the French aristocracy, they found that appeasing the unhappy farmers with champagne was an effective way of smoothing over the damage done by crushing their crops upon landings.
Military Reconnaissance – Established by Abraham Lincoln, the Union had a balloon corps during the Civil War, allowing soldiers to spy on troop movement from up to 15 miles away. The fleet consisted of seven balloons. The Confederacy built their own balloon – from donated fine dress silk – but it was eventually captured by the Union. The Union’s entire Balloon Corps was disbanded in 1863 however, as it turns out the huge balloons make a pretty easy shooting target.
Photo Courtesy: HotAirExpeditions.com