It is big and it is clever (and it's got a laser)
As a flying machine, the balloon falls a little short of magnificence. Sure, it’ll go up, tiddly up, up and it’ll go down, tiddly down, down, but (at the mercy of the wind and with no way to steer yourself) what happens in between is anybody’s guess. Which is why you never be catching the 0930 balloon to Winchester (or indeed anywhere else).
Yet, despite its limitations, the balloon has does have a magnificent flying history. For the early pioneers of flights, it provided his first chariot to heavens. And for the early meteorologists it was instrument that allowed him to probe our planet’s dynamic, complex and turbulent atmosphere for the first time. For more than 100 years the balloon ruled the skies but, with arrival of winged aircraft and rocket ships, our silent hero was shouted down and, what was once a wonder of the modern age, became a little more than a novelty.