September 2013

Ballooning into History

Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons FestivalLorraine Mondial Air Balloons Festival

Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons Festival
Hundreds of hot-air balloons took off all at once at the Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival.

On November 21, 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier became the first person to fly a hot-air balloon. He and his partner flew for 25 minutes. They traveled about 5 miles. More than 200 years later, Phillipe Buron Pilâtre is keeping his family’s tradition alive.

Phillipe Pilâtre has been flying hot-air balloons since 1979. Every other year, he organizes the Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival. It is held near Metz, France. It is one of the largest hot-air balloon festivals in the world.

This year, the 10-day festival had more than 900 balloons. About 1,200 pilots from more than 60 countries took part. More than 300,000 people showed up to watch.

The 2013 festival was extra special. It celebrated the 230th anniversary of Pilâtre de Rozier’s historic flight. It also set two world records. The first record was for most piloted balloons launched in an hour—408 balloons. The second record was for lining up the most balloons for take-off—391 balloons.

Image credit: ©AP Photo/ Alexandre Marchi/L’est Republicain, Pool
Question 1
Why was the 2013 Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival extra special?  

Question 2
Which of the following is a world record set at the 2013 Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival?

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