UFO balloons (or fire balloons) are a small balloon, heated by a flame below….. there are based on sky lanterns (invented by Chu Ko Liang), from China, which were traditionally made from a combination of bamboo frames and rice paper…. and they used a rag dipped in paraffin which is then lit, to get them airborne.
UFO balloons (i think commercialy started in 2005?) use a clear plastic bag (others use other material such as dry cleaner bags), and fitted below with a firelighter, held in place by wire; others have used balsa wood and drinking straws to make them, and a candle in place of the firelighter.
A ufo balloon being lit and put into the air can be seen here on you tube…..
These balloons need to be put into the mix, when researching and collaborating UFO sightings, to confirm that it is not these that have sparked off the reported sightings…. they do have some characteristics that can help in this though…. they have a whiteish-yellow glow, although in some weather conditions, these can be orangey red, and do not move quickly (unless in a strong wind-although this could create a fire risk) and always with the wind too, obviously.
A slightly different type can be seen in the video below
They must be used in the right weather conditions, otherwise there is a real possibility that they can catch fire to the surrounding countryside, property, etc.
The ideal conditions to use them are on cool, clear non breezy evenings… they last for around 8 to 10 minutes (but sometimes slightly longer) and can rise as far as about 1000 metres; it can also move with airstream’s as it rises. Although i have heard of some that can last for far longer (up to 40 minutes they claim) using a candle framework to keep it alight for longer…. i’m sure there are other variations too.
Another thing is that they do not come out well on camera or video, but can be quite visual when seen real time.
So UFO followers must take this into account when considering reports of ufo’s, along with other phenomenon.
For instance, many recent accounts in the UK, could possibly fall into this category.
Examples of this, can be seen at Southend ufo group site (2004) and give an indication of what they are like.
A recent sighting from the Archways (in London- febuary 1st 2007) could possibly be either sky lanterns or ufo balloons/fire balloons? the council admitted that a gathering let loose sky lanterns nearby; for report see here . Although others are less sure it was this that they were seeing. Some witness footage can be seen on you tube below