Propane Powering Hot Air Balloon Races and Festivals Nationwide

'Pro staffers carpooling to the office. Balloonpooling, if you will. (image: jencarnes.com)

We spend a lot of time talking about propane-powered vehicles here at the ‘pro, so it’s high time we discussed the coolest ones of all. You may not have known it’s propane behind those burner flames, but it has been the fuel of choice for hot air balloons ever since their modern design was pioneered in the 1950s!

Propane nerds will be happy to know the most common tank sizes are 10, 15, and 20 gallons and can be mounted inside or outside the basket. Here are a couple other nuggets to impress your friends with:

• The all-time record for fastest time around the world in a hot air balloon: 320 hours, 33 minutes.

• King Louis XVI experimented with the first untethered balloon flights with human passengers (instead of animals) using condemned criminals as test pilots.

• The world’s second largest hot air balloon manufacturer, Ultramagic, is based in Spain and produces 80-120 balloons a year – some of which can carry as many as 27 passengers.

Whether you’re itching to get into a basket or prefer watching with your feet firmly on the ground, there are tons of hot air balloon funtivities to be had this summer. Our favorite news source for these important matters is HotAirBalloon.com, which shows you exactly where and when the next event is happening! First up: the National Balloon Classic in Indianola, Iowa, an American tradition since 1969.

Cappadocia, Turkey (image: cappadociatravel.org)