Tintin, a thousand feet in the air
The 8th Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival was held in India from 13 to 15 January 2023. For 3 days, many hot air balloons flew over the green trees of Pollachi, located 45 kilometres from Coimbatore.
Around ten nations took part in the festivities by taking to the skies. In this way, the flags of Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Thailand, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and Belgium rose into the sky in the land of Gandhi. "The first rule of ballooning..." says Koen Audenaert, "...is to forget all your worries and enjoy the view". According to the Belgian pilot, hot-air ballooning is the most beautiful way to see the world, as the wind decides what you look at.
© Hergé / Tintinimaginatio - 2023
Standing in a wicker basket, attached to a balloon over 100 feet high, propelled by a blast of flame from its propane burner, at an altitude of a thousand feet, with a 360 degree view, without being able to steer... What an adventure! No surprise then that Tintin was back in India for the occasion. Remember, our globetrotter ended his quest on the tracks of opium traffickers in India, saving the Maharaja of Gaipajama in Cigars of the Pharaoh, an album that has recently been colourised (in French only).
Although our national hero never took to the skies in such a machine in the 24 albums, Hergé did depict the young reporter alongside impressive balloons in the pages of Tintin magazine.
Moreover, how can we fail to mention in this context our inventor of genius, Professor Calculus? Indeed, to create the man who designed the atomic rocket that will take Tintin to the Moon, Hergé was inspired by Auguste Piccard, the famous explorer of the sky and the abyss. This Swiss scientist left his mark on science through his discoveries and inventions. He designed a watertight gondola, and in 1931 he achieved the feat of reaching the stratosphere in a balloon.