AS A PRELUDE to today's Great Forest Park Balloon Race, last night was a balloon glow, where racers displayed their grounded airships to the public.
Thousands were in attendance.
Balloon exhibitions have been held in this park for at least a century. But the modern form of hot-air balloons only dates from the first untethered manned flight in 1960 by Paul Edward Yost (1919-2007), who invented a lightweight propane burner which could be carried aloft, and who pioneered much of modern ballooning. Contemporary hot-air balloons are very efficient forms of transportation and can achieve extreme altitudes. Clever use of the varying directions of winds at various altitudes means that these aircraft have a measure of steerability. However, these are not particularly practical, but rather more a visual delight.