Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier is one of the pioneers of manned flight, having convinced Louis XVI it was probably better to have the first manned balloon flight there to be undertaken by someone with a little grandeur instead of two certainly frightened prisoners. The flight was a success and de Rozier became the Neil Armstrong of his day. And these weren't your fancy, synthetic balloons of today. We're talking about sheepskin and wallpaper contraptions powered by iron stoves. Scary stuff. He eventually lost his life trying to cross the English Channel after his balloon collapsed, making him the first aviation fatality (not involving falling off something tall). Today we showed you one awesome 6-Wheel Range Rover perfect for moving balloons. Or is it? Love_Me_Some_Peugeot disagrees.
Okay as a hot air balloonist myself, I have to point out this is not perfect for hauling hot air balloons.
1. Too much space in the bed of the pickup. Ideally you want a tight fit so nothing is jostling around as you transport the basket and the envelope. You can use tie-downs, and should, but in this case you would have to make sure they are perfect.
2. No lift gate. Seriously lift gates are essential if using a pick-up as a vehicle for the hot air balloon. A normal basket alone weighs around 500lbs, the envelope another 250-300lbs.
3. Too long. This is more for safety when driving with the balloon in back. The longer it is the more likely someone will clip the end or rear-end it. This is of note because you are hauling 20-60 gallons of liquid propane in lightweight titanium containers, not good in accidents.
The ideal vehicle is an F250, and it is what most balloonists use if they don't haul a trailer. Throw a Tommy Gate on it and you are golden. It has everything you need.
One other point about this article is the price of the balloon. If it truly was 200K then it is a ride balloon, and would absolutely need a liftgate because there is no humanly way possible you can lift those baskets which are easily over 1,000lbs into the bed of that truck. And would hold a lot more than just the 5 people they said it would. A normal new balloon at most costs 50k, and even that is a stretch.
We've learned so much today.
Photo Credit: Britannica