1960s - The Renaissance of Hot Air
Whilst these altitude records were set using gas balloons, the 1960s saw a revival of the traditional hot air balloon, partly thanks to the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research, which was interested in their transport potential. The Montgolfier brothers’ design was expanded and updated, with the addition of the propane burner system, new envelope material, a new inflation system, and many important new safety features.
The Office of Naval Research soon lost interest in balloons, but the genie was out of the bottle! Hot air balloons were soon selling as sporting equipment, and more and more people started to get involved in the new – yet ancient – sport.