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For the safety of our passengers, we have closed the Cape Town operation due to the unpredictable weather conditions.

The History of Hot Air Ballooning


June 29

1300’s/ 13th Century:

  • German philosopher Albertus Magnus argues the theory of relative weights.
  • 200 years later; Albertus and Venetian inventor, Giovanni de Fontana conceived an object made from thick cloth and rings of wood. A man could sit inside this object and it held a burning brand made of pitch or tallow that produced large amounts of smoke. His theory: because of the fire, the air enclosed within the pyramid would be made lighter and move upwards.
January 1

August 8, 1709

Bartholomeu de Gusmao made the first successful hot air ballooning ascension in balloon, Passarola.

January 2

1774– 1786

Brothers, Joseph & Etienne Montgolfier (who built the first hot air balloon) experimented on various types of air. They discovered the new age water- gas (hydrogen gas)

January 3


Joseph Montgolfier built a hot air balloon alone, filled with newly discovered hydrogen gas (one- fourteenth the weight of atmospheric air)

January 4

5 June 1783

A hot air balloon was launched (with no one in it) in the Annonay public square. It was 33m in circumference and needed 8 men to hold it down. It rose to 1800m and landed 3km away

January 5

27 August 1783

Prof. Jacques Charles ascended a hydrogen-filled hot air balloon which flew for 45 minutes and landed 25km away.

January 6

19 September 1783

The Montgolfiers released a cloth and paper hot air balloon in Versailles. It was 13m in diameter.
King Louis XVI refused to let any man in the balloon for safety reasons. However a sheep, a rooster and a duck became the first hot air balloon flight passengers. This time round, the hot air balloon flew 550m and descended after 8 minutes, some 3 kms away.

January 7

15 October 1783

The first man ascended. The hot air balloon as tied to 26m long rope. It lasted 4.5 minutes.

January 8

21 November 1783

The first free flight that included passengers. During the hot air ballooning experiment, the balloon caught alight but was extinguished. The flight lasted 25 minutes and covered 8km.

January 9

1 December 1783

From Tuileries in Paris, Prof. Charles and Marie- Noel Robert flew in a hydrogen filled hot air balloon for an hour before it came down in Nesle.

January 10


The English Channel was crossed using a hot air balloon.

January 11


The French Military established a Balloon Corps division, who acted as aerial observers.

January 1


During the Civil War, the Union Army used hot air balloons.

January 2


During the Franco-Prussion War, a number of hot air balloon flights were undertaken by the French.

January 3

End of January 1871

66 hot air balloons had been flown carrying people, dogs, mail and pigeons.

January 4


The first manned hot air balloon flight took place in South Africa.

January 1


Swiss physicist Auguste Picard flew to 16000m in an enclosed gondola beneath a balloon.

January 2


US aeronauts more than doubled this figure.

January 3


A hot air balloon set the record at 102 000 feet when Captain Joe Kittinger parachute jumped and broke the sound barrier with his body.

January 4

4 May 1961

Commander Malcolm Ross reached 34 668m.

January 5


Erik Norgaard released his book, “The Book of Balloons”

January 6


Bill Gunsten released his book, “Aviation, The Story of Flight”

January 7


Atlantic crossing was achieved using The Double Eagle II (Helium balloon). Manned by Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman. A new record was set and was highlighted as the longest balloon flight at 137 hours.

January 8

November 1981

The first Pacific crossing was achieved.

January 9


Captain Joe Kittenger sets a new record for the first solo transatlantic hot air balloon flight. He covered 3535 miles.

January 10


Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand flew a helium/gas filled balloon across the Atlantic (2900 miles in 33 hours).

January 11


Per Lindstrand set a record as the highest solo flight ever recorded; at 65 000 feet.

January 12


Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand flew across the Pacific travelling 6700 miles in 47 hours from Japan to Canada. They reached speeds of up to 245 mph.

January 13


The first around-the-world hot air balloon flight was completed by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. They launched from Switzerland and landed in Africa. It took a total of 19 days and 21.55 hours.

November 26

26 November 2005

An Indian textile Millionaire, Mr. Singhania (67 years old) broke the altitude record in a 44 ton hot air balloon. He reached 69 852 feet and flew 150 miles, landing in Panchale (info provided by Aero- News Network)

June 29

Air to Air Africa keeps the oldest form of flight known to man, alive.

Enjoying the landscapes below and a glass of sparkling wine upon descent, we strive to offer the very best hot air ballooning experience to each and every guest.