Task 1 Read the text. Are the sentences true (T) or false (F)?

Hot air ballooning

[WATU 2]

Most of us have watched a hot air balloon as it has flown quietly across the summer sky. But did you know that people have travelled in hot air balloons for over two hundred years?

In November 1783, after spending months designing and building their balloon, two French brothers called Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier wanted to find out if people could fly in it. Two men climbed into their invention and went up into the sky above Paris. The crowd below was excited, but very frightened. Only two months before, the first hot air balloon in history had flown into the sky, but its passengers were a duck, a chicken and a sheep! However, the men flew for twenty-five minutes and then landed the balloon safely on the ground. Everyone cheered. It was the start of hot air ballooning!

The successful flight of the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon was big news, and a lot of other scientists and engineers wanted to design bigger and better balloons. Only two years after the famous first flight, people were able to fly long distances in a hot air balloon. A French balloonist called Blanchard, and his American co-pilot Jeffries, managed to fly across the English Channel between France and England. It took two and a half hours. People thought that a new age of international travel was about to start. However, in the end, hot air balloons as a form of transport never became popular. It was just too expensive and dangerous, and most people preferred to keep their feet on the ground.

In the nineteenth century, scientists invented trains and steamboats, and, then later, cars and planes, and no one was really interested in developing hot air balloons any more. But then, in the 1930s, with more modern materials, and with the introduction of a different type of gas called helium, a new generation of hot air balloonists discovered the enjoyment of ballooning. They flew higher and higher, reaching heights of over twenty-five kilometers above sea level, and found out that human beings could survive so high in the sky.

In the last forty years, balloonists have become excited about breaking long distance records again, and have managed to achieve what the Montgolfier brothers could only dream of. In the late 1970s, three American pilots crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon for the first time. In 1981, four pilots crossed the Pacific Ocean, flying from Japan to California in just 84 hours. Since then, other adventurers have broken even more records. Travelling at speeds of almost 400 km per hour, Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand went across the Pacific in 46 hours, and in 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones went all the way around the in just under twenty days in a balloon.

  1. The Montgolfier brothers made the hot air balloon which carried people. ___
  2. No one watched the first hot air balloon flight that carried people. ___
  3. In 1783, a hot air balloon flew with two birds and a sheep in it. ___
  4. It was 20 years before people could fly for more than 25 minutes. ___
  5. Blanchard flew across the English Channel alone. ___
  6. After 1785, hot air balloons quickly became a popular form of transport. ___
  7. One reason why balloon travel didn’t become more popular was that it cost a lot of money. ___
  8. In the 1930s, balloonists didn’t use the same gas as balloonists used in the 1780s. ___
  9. Balloonists first crossed the Pacific Ocean in the 1970s. ___
  10. It took two men less than three weeks to go all the way round the world in a hot air balloon. ___

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