Hot air balloon

A hot air balloon is a lighter-than-air aircraft consisting of a bag, called an envelope, which contains heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or wicker basket, which carries passengers and a source of heat, in most cases an open flame caused by burning liquid propane; the heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the colder air outside the envelope. As with all aircraft, hot air balloons cannot fly beyond the atmosphere; the envelope does not have to be sealed at the bottom, since the air inside the envelope there is at about the same pressure as the surrounding air. In modern sport balloons the envelope is made from nylon fabric and the inlet of the balloon is made from a fire resistant material such as Nomex. Modern balloons have been made in all kinds of shapes, such as rocket ships and the shapes of various commercial products, though the traditional shape is used for most non-commercial, many commercial, applications; the hot air balloon is the first successful human-carrying flight technology.

The first untethered manned hot air balloon flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes on November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, in a balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers. The first hot-air balloon flown in the Americas was launched from the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia on January 9, 1793 by the French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than drifting with the wind are known as thermal airships. A precursor of the hot air balloon was the sky lantern. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, during the Three Kingdoms era, used these airborne lanterns for military signaling. In the 18th century the Portuguese Jesuit priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão envisioned an aerial apparatus called Passarola, the predecessor of the hot air balloon; the purpose of Passarola was to serve as air vessel in order to facilitate communication and as a strategical device. In 1709 John V of Portugal decided to fund Bartolomeu de Gusmão's project following a petition made by the Jesuit priest and an unmanned demonstration was performed at Casa da India in presence of John V, the queen Maria Anna of Austria, having as witnesses the Italian cardinal Michelangelo Conti, two members of the Portuguese Royal Academy of History, one Portuguese diplomat and one chronicler.

This event would bring some European attention to this project. A article dated on October 20, 1786 by the London Daily Universal Register would state that the inventor was able to raise himself by the use of his prototype. In 1709, the Portuguese Jesuit wrote Manifesto summário para os que ignoram poderse navegar pelo elemento do ar; the French brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier developed a hot air balloon in Annonay, Ardeche and demonstrated it publicly on September 19, 1783, making an unmanned flight lasting 10 minutes. After experimenting with unmanned balloons and flights with animals, the first balloon flight with humans aboard, a tethered flight, performed on or around October 15, 1783, by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier who made at least one tethered flight from the yard of the Reveillon workshop in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine; that same day, Pilatre de Rozier became the second human to ascend into the air, reaching an altitude of 26 m, the length of the tether. The first free flight with human passengers was made a few weeks on November 21, 1783.

King Louis XVI had decreed that condemned criminals would be the first pilots, but de Rozier, along with Marquis François d'Arlandes, petitioned for the honor. The first military use of a hot air balloon happened in 1794 during the battle of Fleurus, when the French used the balloon l'Entreprenant for observation. Modern hot air balloons, with an onboard heat source, were developed by Ed Yost, beginning during the 1950s; the first modern hot air balloon to be made in the United Kingdom was the Bristol Belle, built in 1967. Presently, hot air balloons are used for recreation. Hot air balloons are able to fly to high altitudes. On November 26, 2005 Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for highest hot air balloon flight, reaching 21,027 m, he took off from downtown Mumbai and landed 240 km south in Panchale. The previous record of 19,811 m had been set by Per Lindstrand on June 1988, in Plano, Texas. On January 15, 1991, the'Virgin Pacific Flyer' balloon completed the longest flight in a hot air balloon when Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson of the UK flew 7,671.91 km from Japan to Northern Canada.

With a volume of 74,000 cubic meters, the balloon envelope was the largest built for a hot air craft. Designed to fly in the trans-oceanic jet streams, the Pacific Flyer recorded the fastest ground speed for a manned balloon at 245 mph; the longest duration record was set by Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, Auguste Piccard's grandson. It was the first nonstop trip around the world by balloon; the balloon left Château-d'Oex, Switzerland, on March 1, 1999, landed at 1:02 a.m. on March 21 in the Egyptian desert 300 miles south of Cairo. The two men exceeded distance and time records, traveling 19 days, 21 hours, 55 min

Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector

Livens Large Gallery Flame Projectors were large experimental flamethrowers used by the British Army in World War I, named after their inventor, Royal Engineers officer William Howard Livens. Four Livens Large Gallery Flame Projectors were deployed in 1916 in the Battle of the Somme and one in 1917 in an offensive near Diksmuide, Belgium; as part of the British preparations for the Battle of the Somme, 183rd Tunnelling Company from February 1916 onwards dug dozens of Russian saps for the attack in the front sector allocated to XV Corps. Small charges could be blown from the end of these tunnels and they could be used to reinforce the captured positions. Four saps were equipped with Livens Large Gallery Flame Projectors, ready to cover the German front line with liquid fire. In order to protect them from enemy fire, the flame throwers were hauled into the saps just hours before the battle. Two tunnels which housed such weapons – located at Kiel Trench south-west of Mametz, between Carnoy and Kasino Point – were damaged by German shellfire before the attack.

The two remaining were put to use from saps left of the mine crater field at Carnoy. Their use may have helped the British in those sectors of the front as British losses there were comparatively low. According to one report fifty German soldiers surrendered after use of the Livens Flame Projector; the weapon was used in Belgium in 1917, but was found too cumbersome to use, requiring bringing to the front line and assembly by 300 men, dangerously loading it with inflammable fuel, being able to fire only three bursts before emptying. It was vulnerable to being damaged or buried by shellfire, its use was abandoned. A Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector was 56 feet long, weighed 2.5 long tons, took a carrying party of 300 men to bring it to the front line and to assemble it underground in a shallow tunnel dug under no man's land for that purpose. The weapon consisted of several tanks containing the fuel, a 14-inch diameter pipe and a nozzle on the surface; the nozzle, along with the rest of the machine, was hidden underground until needed, stored in a chamber at the end of the sap.

A Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector was operated by a crew of eight. For the attack, the nozzle would be pushed upwards through the earth by a pneumatic cylinder. Compressed gas would drive a piston forward in the main body of the device, forcing fuel out of the underground tanks into the surface nozzle, to be ignited and directed at the target; the maximum range of the weapon was 300 ft. It could be fired for only three ten-second bursts. Historians Peter Barton and Jeremy Banning with archaeologists Tony Pollard and Iain Banks from the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow were successful in May 2010 in finding at Mametz the remains of one of the Livens Large Gallery Flame Projectors; this project was undertaken for Special episode 42 of the archaeological television programme Time Team first broadcast on 14 April 2011. A full size, working model of the weapon was constructed with support from the Royal Engineers to prove its efficacy; the Livens flame projector was the inspiration for the cinematographic representation for the fire-breathing of the Smaug principal antagonist character, a "fire breathing drake " from the north, in J. R. R. Tolkien story, The Hobbit, as presented by Peter Jackson in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Richter, Donald. "11: Livens and the Flammenwerfer". Chemical Soldiers. Leo Cooper. Pp. 148–158. ISBN 0850523885. Black and white image of a test firing of the weapon

Federation of Kerala Associations in North America

The Federation Of Kerala Associations In North America is an umbrella organization formed on July 4, 1983, in New York City to unite all Kerala/Malayali organizations of the American continent. It was during the seventies that many Malayali organizations started to show up all over United States and Canada. Thus, there was a need to unite all these organizations under a single roof. In 1982, under the initiative of Dr. M. Anirudhan, a preliminary meeting was held in Washington D. C.which was chaired by the Indian Ambassador to United States K. R. Narayanan; this meeting initiated the forming of this organization. In 1983, the first Kerala Convention was held in New York city. Personalities like Dr. Syed Muhammaed, the Indian High Commissioner in London and Mr. Vayalar Ravi, the then-Home Minister of Kerala attended the convention; this convention, through the active efforts of many prominent Keralites, founded the present organization. World Malayalee Council All Malaysia Malayalee Association Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Associations