The Sky's The Limit

High Schoolers Learn Science of Hot Air Ballooning
Posted on 04/18/2019
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Science students from Mr. Michael Reynolds class at Carson High School (CHS) will have an elevating opportunity to go Up Up and Away…well, err…tethered, Tuesday morning, April 23. Karalyn Mumm, owner and commercial pilot of the balloon “Citrus in the Sky,” will provide tethered hot air balloon rides on the front lawn at the high school.

Mr. Reynolds, CHS science teacher and military veteran, said each student has been studying not only the science necessary for flight including the outside air temperature, weight, buoyancy and the temperature inside the balloon, but also other factors including weather, wind shear and gases. The outdoor aerial demonstration will serve as the lab portion of the course work.

Although not every student is expected to receive the gravity-defying experience, Mumm said she’s going to do her best to try and give as many students a ride as possible.

“It just takes time,” she said. “My crew and I plan to arrive at first light for preflight inspections and set up at 6:15 and plan to begin ‘cold inflation’ by 7:15 a.m. We should have the balloon up, tethered to three separate vehicles and ready for flight by the time school begins at 7:40. I anticipate it will take about 3 minutes for each flight.”

The world’s first untethered hot-air balloon ride occurred nearly two and a half centuries ago November 21, 1783. The intrepid voyagers included two Frenchmen, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, a chemistry and physics teacher, and the Marquis d’Arlandes, a military officer. They flew nearly six miles, from the center of Paris to the suburbs, in 25 minutes.

For teens age 13-17 who are further interested in aviation, the Balloon Federation of America is offering three Junior Balloonist camps this summer. The local camp, High Sierra Balloon Camp, will be held at Donner Ski Ranch. Registration information is at Scholarships are available. Information about the local camp can be found on Facebook at High Sierra Balloon Camp or email [email protected].