Mercedes ML races a gas balloon
TG embarks on the world’s most graceful car chase
Posted: 15 Dec 2011
Gas balloons, the ones we're here to see, are much more serious than their hot-air cousins, flying far higher and for much longer. Filled with either hydrogen or helium, altitude is gained not by using a burner, but by progressively dumping ballast - often sand - or lost by venting off the gas.
This also acts as a balloonist's steering mechanism, because wind direction and strength varies at differing altitudes. And they fly fast (up to 70mph) and high (up to 20,000 feet), with a potential intercontinental range only limited by the life of the gas within the ‘envelope' and the amount of ballast left aboard.