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The discipline of ‘lighter-than-air’ flight, in hot-air or gas balloons, or airships. In Britain, it is overseen by the British Balloon and Airship Club, founded in 1965; internationally, the discipline is governed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (founded in France in 1905). Ballooning is, unsurprisingly, the most minority of minority sports, and many people who experience it do so for a one-off experience rather than to become a trained pilot. But it has a secure place in the popular consciousness, as will be confirmed by anyone who has craned his or her neck as a balloon floats into vision over a white mountain peak or a grey metropolitan skyline.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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