Local Aeronaut Peter Wright , professional commercial hot air balloon pilot, gave us an uplifting presentation of the heights he has risen to since he started ballooning 17 years ago. Nobody left deflated after hearing Peter’s talk and seeing the magnificent photos taken from all over the world where he has flown.
Peter took us from the discovery of the lifting power of hot air by brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques Étienne Montgolfier through the first flight by de Rozier and d’Alands in a Montgolfier balloon in Paris in 1783, the first ever successful man-carrying flight. Although some technical changes have occurred, particularly in the fuels used to achieve lift, balloons have changed little since the Montgolfiers’ days. Modern balloons have progressed to be able to fly around the world and have even been used for expeditions to The North Pole.
Peter said that modern ballooning started in the 1960’s when propane gas burners were first used.
He has competed in several World Ballooning Championships since 1999, but really enjoys the thrill of flights over Melbourne as the pilot and running his own company.
Perhaps a few members may be experiencing one of Peter’s “lift-offs ” in the near future.