Aircraft

The modern hot air balloon

The modern hot air balloon
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Daybreak in a balloon - memorable stuff
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Daybreak in a balloon - memorable stuff
Melbourne's commercial district from above
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Melbourne's commercial district from above
Landing in Fawkner Park
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Landing in Fawkner Park
The burners fill the balloons amazingly quickly
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The burners fill the balloons amazingly quickly
Melbourne as we approach it from the North
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Melbourne as we approach it from the North
Albert Park Lake and the Formula 1 circuit
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Albert Park Lake and the Formula 1 circuit
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Straight down from 2000 feet
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Straight down from 2000 feet
Albert Park
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Albert Park
The Docklands Precinct extends central Melbourne to the West
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The Docklands Precinct extends central Melbourne to the West
The basket we stand in, on its side awaiting attachment to the balloon
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The basket we stand in, on its side awaiting attachment to the balloon
Before we begin filling the balloon, it must be
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Before we begin filling the balloon, it must be
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Before the hot air is used to inflate the balloon, a fan partially inflates the canopy
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Before the hot air is used to inflate the balloon, a fan partially inflates the canopy
Then hot air is used to inflate the last 95%
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Then hot air is used to inflate the last 95%
It's a spectacular start to the day
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It's a spectacular start to the day
And towards the end, they really turn on the taps
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And towards the end, they really turn on the taps
Burners that would do your kitchen proud.
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Burners that would do your kitchen proud.
Checking the final rigging of the balloon, all the pilots are commercial pilots
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Checking the final rigging of the balloon, all the pilots are commercial pilots
Two of our campanion balloons on the flight
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Two of our campanion balloons on the flight
The final topping up of the balloons
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The final topping up of the balloons
Mist envelopes the CBD
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Mist envelopes the CBD
The vast arteries are empty.
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The vast arteries are empty.
Nestling beneath the CBD are the main sporting facilities of the MCG, Olympic Park, Tennis Centre, and the transportation hubs for train and freeway connections.
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Nestling beneath the CBD are the main sporting facilities of the MCG, Olympic Park, Tennis Centre, and the transportation hubs for train and freeway connections.
The Kodak EasyShare P850's X12 zoom and image stabilisation enables a picture of the St Kilda seas side nightlife and holiday district from over four kilometres away
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The Kodak EasyShare P850's X12 zoom and image stabilisation enables a picture of the St Kilda seas side nightlife and holiday district from over four kilometres away
South of the city lies the Albert Park Lake and its vast sporting facilities
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South of the city lies the Albert Park Lake and its vast sporting facilities
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Punt Road dissects the city - it is named after it's original purpose as Melbourne's main crossing point of the Yarra River where a punt shuttled the bullock drays of farmers from the late 1830s before bridges had been built
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Punt Road dissects the city - it is named after it's original purpose as Melbourne's main crossing point of the Yarra River where a punt shuttled the bullock drays of farmers from the late 1830s before bridges had been built
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St Kilda Pier, the F1 circuit and pit complex and Albert park lake
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St Kilda Pier, the F1 circuit and pit complex and Albert park lake
Melbourne will host the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the sporting facilities are currently the best in the world
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Melbourne will host the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the sporting facilities are currently the best in the world
Central Melbourne
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Central Melbourne
The South Melbourne Hellas Soccer ground and Melbourne Aquatic Centre sit at the Northern end of Albert Park and its GP ciruit.
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The South Melbourne Hellas Soccer ground and Melbourne Aquatic Centre sit at the Northern end of Albert Park and its GP ciruit.
One of the most beautiful business precincts in the world - St Kilda Road runs through parkland - that's the F1 circuit in the background
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One of the most beautiful business precincts in the world - St Kilda Road runs through parkland - that's the F1 circuit in the background
St Kilda Road is the citie's commercial avenue, running between two set of parklands and connecting the suburb from which it takes its name
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St Kilda Road is the citie's commercial avenue, running between two set of parklands and connecting the suburb from which it takes its name
View gallery - 44 images

Ballooning went mainstream in 1960 when the Raven prototype ‘modern’ hot-air balloon demonstrated that man had finally found a cost-efficient, lightweight material for the balloon envelope in the form of polyurethane coated nylon, with the burner powered by cylinders of propane. The first U.S. national championships followed in 1963 and further advances to material technology and LPG burners have seen the sport evolve into a substantial tourism industry with more than 5000 registered balloon pilots in the United States and a larger number in Europe. Every major city in the world offers balloon flights to tourists and if it is something you have never done, we thoroughly recommend it. The following photographic essay was taken yesterday over Melbourne, Australia in a Hot Air Balloon using a Sony DCS-F707 Cybershot 5 megapixel 5x optical zoom camera and a Kodak Easyshare P850 5 megapixel 12x optical zoom camera.

Being highly dependent on the weather, balloons cannot fly every day of the year. In Melbourne, renowned for its changeable weather, that means 150 days a year of flying. “We have a saying,” says our pilot. “It is much better to be on the ground wanting to be in the air, than the other way around.”

Balloon Sunrise has been flying since 1986 and has a number of balloons which take off to fly over Melbourne each flying day. It’s clearly a well-oiled machine these days, with a two-man crew servicing each balloon – one pilot and one bus driver who ferries the passengers to the take-off point where the balloon and envelope are unloaded, filled and in the air within 30 minutes of the bus stopping.

With a scheduled time of around 60 minutes in the air, the winds are tested on-route to the take-off area by blowing up some navigation balloons, attaching a flashing light and watching as the balloon disappears upwards, noting the wind direction and speed at various heights.

Depending on the wind speeds, a number of take-off and landing areas are available. If the wind is stronger, and the balloon will travel more in the 60 minute flight, landing and rendezvous points are adjusted to maximum effect.

With more than 60,000 passengers since we the company was established in 1986, Balloon Sunrise now flies more than 10,000 passengers a year over a variety of Victorian locations with the Melbourne city and a trip over the Yarra Valley wine region being the most popular and the one hour flight costing AUD$310.

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