In whose memory? Who is or was Jean-Francois Pilatre Rozies? There are many things that we use or enjoy today without knowing who introduced them to the world. Let alone know the scientific principle on which the darn things work. One of such contraptions is the hot air baloon.
When I was invited to take a ride in a hot air baloon yesterday (Sat. April10.), the palpitation I felt in my heart must have been the same as that experienced by Jean -Francois Piatre Rozier when he tried out his invention on 21st November 1783 in Paris.
At least he knew what he was up to while I didn't know anything except that the hot air baloon has no engine but only a burner which shoots up roaring flames into the open end of a baloon. And you take a ride beneath the roaring flames in a wicker basket.
Shoot a searing hot flame into a nylon baloon to make it rise? What a crazy idea.
But that has become a crazy sports item now and I was invited to try it out. OMG..at least the airplane has an engine and a pair of wings! But hey, you can only fall downward not upward. The girls and my wife who arranged for the rendezvous with Jeans-Francois' contraption were very excited about it. Being a man I couldn't. of course, beg out and sheepishly agree to go along with them.
The baloons look wonderful and I started imagining a flight into the blue yonder. (See pics)
But look at the flame thrower that is supposed to shoot the roaring flames into the baloon, There was not one but two giant burners, enough to cook a live elephant. ( see pic)
Could the nylon balloon take the heat although the bottom part of the balloon is supposed to be made of heat resistent Nornex. There was some 100,000 cu ft of air in an average size baloon to be heated up so that it could carry from 3-5 persons.
Well, with a lot of trepidation, we were broken up into groups of 2 or 3 and helped into separate balloons ( with the pilot and an assistant in waiting). The evening was already getting dark in Pantai Chenang where we had the ride, and I couldn't note the expression on the face of my wife as we blasted up, stooping low to avoid the heat from the burner above our heads. Surprise. We went up only about the height of a tall coconut tree. There were thick ropes pegging us to the ground less we end up in Timbaktu. But that was enough to give us the scare since on landing a small whiff of wind could blow us up and away again.
Finally, here are some of the ladies who dared to take the ride in the air baloon.
They seemed to be very happy and enthusiatic about it. Lucky no on took a shot of me, cowering with fear and wounded pride
being unable to show a braver front than the ladies, hehehe.