National Hot Air Balloon Museum

Indianola, Iowa has a colorful and informative museum dedicated to all types of balloon flight from gas to hot air. We lingered quite a while learning so much about the history of ballooning, how they are created and flown and some of the balloon world celebrities. Our only experience with ballooning is attending a couple hot air balloon rallies in Statesville NC. The sport is actually quite exciting, beautiful and interesting. We spoke to a pilot about his experiences but he was more interested and envious of our lifestyle! He even steered us to a couple more places to visit next time we are in the area. The first link is a trailer for a documentary about Tracy Barnes, a pioneer of modern ballooning, inventor of numerous balloon devices and the owner of The Balloon Works and The Blimp Factory located in our hometown of Statesville, NC. He passed away in 2019. I’m not sure when the documentary will be released.

Lawn art balloons
This is as high as I care to go 😂
Warren believes he remembers this story! He purchased PM magazines when he was a young teen
Seeing the real deal from that magazine story
Tracy Barnes flew inside this 10 pound Styrofoam capsule up nearly 38,000 feet
This pioneer of modern ballooning lived in our hometown Statesville NC.
So many methods and designs
This one flew over the English Channel
Stained glass window… So beautiful
He thinks he could pilot this one
Most baskets are woven because they give a little on landing and are safer for the passengers
Propane tanks to feed the flame are tucked in the corners
Ripstop nylon used for the envelope
Replica of the first hot air balloon from 1783

Published by karenebarker

Free Range Human traveling North America by RV with her Beloved

2 thoughts on “National Hot Air Balloon Museum

  1. I worked for Tracy in his Blimp Factory for quite a few years. I worked repairing hot air balloons also for a few years. I’ve friends that have wild stories about the area you are in! They have just cancelled the balloon rally in Statesville AGAIN for this year. So sad. Did you know Tracy did not like heights? Crazy huh?! He was always very good to me.


    1. I told Warren that I couldn’t wait for you to see my post because I was SURE you would know of him. His wife curates the museum here. I didn’t realize who she was when our guide went her to answer a couple questions for us. I was reading an article about him after we got home and realized that was her. It seems like he was a genuinely good person and quite the genius in this field. Such a small world!


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