1. In 1808, two Frenchmen took part in a hot air balloon duel to the death. The men took to the skies above Paris and shot at each others’ balloons, in order to win the heart of a famous opera singer.
2. In 2013, 408 hot air balloons took off at once from a former Nato base in Chambley, France, breaking a world record.
3. The first hot air balloon passengers were a sheep, a rooster and a duck.
4. The first person to fly a hot air balloon was also the first person to die in one. After his first flight in 1783, scientist Jean-François Pilâtre De Rozier then attempted to cross the English Channel in a half-hot air, half-hydrogen balloon. Sadly, Rozier and his co-pilot were killed when the balloon exploded after just half an hour.
5. During the next (successful) attempt to fly across the English Channel, pilots Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Dr John Jeffries landed in their underwear after they lost height and had to discard their clothes into the sea.
6. Keeping themselves out of the water was especially important for Blanchard and Jeffries, since neither of them could swim.
7. In 2010, the first set of passengers in the world’s only glass bottomed balloon set sail over Bath.
8. Hot air balloons cannot fly in the rain.
9. The highest ever hot air balloon flight was piloted by Vijaypat Singhania and reached 69,852 ft in a 160ft tall balloon.
10. According to IMDb, it would take over 12 million balloons to lift Carl’s house in the movie ‘Up’.
11. Despite becoming inextricably linked with the story, there is no gas balloon featured in Jules Verne’s original ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ novel. The balloon was added for the film in 1956.