As aircraft go, there aren’t many that rival the serenity and sheer spectacle of a hot air balloon. Traveling some 30,000ft lower than your average civilian aircraft, our passengers have been getting airborne from several of our launch sites across the UK this week amidst more lovely spring sunshine.

If you’ve ever spotted a hot air balloon peacefully wending its way above the beautiful British countryside, have you ever wondered what keeps a balloon up in the first place? Well, the gas that generates ‘lift off’ in one of our big red Virgin balloons is propane. Once the balloon envelope’s been inflated with air that air is then heated with propane burners. The gas’s (now hot air) molecular behaviour alters, making it less dense. This makes the air inside the balloon lighter than the air that surrounds it outside, which enables the balloon to counteract the laws of gravity in what is known as The Gas Law, basic thermodynamics.

To learn more about how hot air balloons work, why not build your own balloon? We don’t recommend this for unsupervised children or anyone wanting a half-decent aerial view whilst on their hot air balloon ride. For this we’d refer you to one of our excellent balloon pilots. Chocks away!