11 Aug

January 8 – NCHM Takes to the Skies: Hot air balloons and gliders

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Balloons 1
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Sunday Funday, rested after the holidays, soars back into action with

Hot Air Balloons and Gliders

Sunday, January 8th, 1PM to 4PM - FREE

Outside of a handful of balloon flights in the 1860’s (and the claimed 1865 first powered flight by Jacob Brodbeck outside of Luchenbach), Texans of the 19th and early 20th centuries lived entire lifetimes without seeing any aircraft in the skies above them. The first recorded powered flight in Texas took place on February 18th, 1910 in Houston. Meanwhile, Austin’s first airport, named for former city councilor Robert Mueller, opened in 1930.

Fresh from our winter break, we in the lab have been cooking up our own ideas for flying machines. While the ability to fly may seem totally routine, there’s nothing quite like the experience of making something that can climb up into the air!

How do you make a hot air balloon?

Luckily for us, lighter-than-air flight is easier to achieve than powered flight. Using simple, household materials, extra thin plastic bags, string, straws, and birthday candles become balloons that can easily reach the treetops. (Note: this is why we remember to tie strings onto our balloons so that they don’t get away from us!)

Staff and volunteers will guide you through the process of building a simple balloon, but we also encourage you to be your own engineer and experiment with different methods of constructing a lighter-than-air flier.

We’ll also have plans for a few simple gliders with some pre-built examples to launch off of our historic balcony.

Questions about this or any other event? Contact us–quick! before they fly away!