Why Do Hot Air Balloons Use Sandbags?

24 April 2019, 16:38

Hot Air Balloon
Picture: PA

Question: Why do hot air balloons use sandbags?

Name: Ian, Studley, Warwickshire

Qualification: Private pilot and ex-RAF officer.

Answer: Sand is supplied as ballast and you can gain altitude by quickly ejecting it, which is useful in desperate situations or tricky wind conditions if you’re low to the ground.

If the sandbags are over the side, you can release them by quickly cutting the cords and still keep an eye on what is going on outside the basket, whereas you can’t see what’s going on outside if the sandbags are inside the basket. You have to lift them out and it would take longer.

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