National Balloon Ascension Day on January 9th commemorates the first balloon flight in the United States in 1793.
The French aeronaut, Jean Pierre Blanchard, took flight over the Walnut Street Prison in Philadelphia above a large crowd. He ascended in a hydrogen gas balloon, a popular balloon at the time. George Washington witnessed the launch of the balloon, too. That day he lit the fires of fascination with ballooning in Americans.
However, more than hot air balloons also flew in the skies over time. Several varieties of balloons took shape over the next 100 years. Airships inflated by hydrogen and shaped like cigars took to the skies. They were also called blimps. Their engines gave these balloons directional flight and speed.
By the 20th century, large airships with cabins carried passengers. The gas-filled giants eventually disappeared from the skies. Tragedies like the Hindenburg on May 6, 1937, where over a third of the 97 passengers perished when the airship caught fire helped to usher in a new era.
Today, hot air ballooning is enjoyed from the ground and the air. It’s also a scientific tool for weather and other research.
HOW TO OBSERVE BALLOON ASCENSION DAY
Plan a trip to a hot air balloon festival. In the United States, there are around 30 balloon festivals to choose from. Go to one or go to them all. You can find a comprehensive list at TownAndTourist. If you’ve been ballooning, be sure to share your photos and experiences. It’s sure a sight to see. From the preparation to the breathtaking launches, balloonists certainly provide an eyeful. And of course, memories for a lifetime. It’s a great way to #CelebrateEveryDay and be a part of the Celebration Nation. Be sure to share using #BalloonAscensionDay on social media.
NATIONAL BALLOON ASCENSION DAY HISTORY
National Balloon Ascension Day has been observed since at least 2011 to commemorate the first manned balloon launch in the United States on January 9, 1793……….[read more]
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