Welcome to January 9th on the National Day Calendar.

The first manned balloon flight in America took place on January 9, 1793. Jean Pierre Blanchard, ascended to a height of nearly 6,000 feet in a hydrogen filled balloon and then made a successful landing in New Jersey.

Almost 200 years later, another aeronaut made a spectacular, but less famous flight in California. Larry Walters attached 42 weather balloons to an aluminum lawn chair, pumped them full of helium and sailed off into the air.

Unfortunately, he had not planned his flight very carefully and soon found himself 16,000 feet above the ground. Walters stayed there for nearly 2 hours before he got cold and descended by popping balloons with a pellet gun.

On National Balloon Ascension Day, celebrate by taking a balloon ride but please leave the piloting to the professionals.