Inflation of the Intrepid, a hydrogen gas balloon used by the Union Army Balloon Corps for aerial reconnaissance. The the Balloon Corps operated a total of seven balloons, with the Intrepid being favored by Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe. (Mathew Brady/NARA
"Balloon Boy" Hoax -- Occurred on October 15, 2009 in Fort Collins, Colorado, when Richard and Mayumi Heene allowed a gas balloon filled with helium to float away into the atmosphere, and then claimed that their 6-year-old son Falcon was inside it. It was reported by the mass media that the boy was apparently traveling at altitudes reaching 7,000 feet in a homemade balloon colored and shaped to resemble a silver flying saucer-type of UFO. The event attracted worldwide attention.
[Young woman putting flowers on statue of Cupid looks over her shoulder and sees the balloon carrying Jacques Charles and Marie Noel Robert on the first manned gas balloon flight, from Paris, December 1, 1783]
Festival Essentials: Celebrate the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta | Large numbers of balloons are illuminated at night by their propane burners. They stand static and do not take off during these events. The "Glowdeo" is a night glow for the special shapes balloons.
This picture was taken in 1908, and shows the start of a balloon race in Berlin, Germany. Pictured is the American entry, the "Conqueror". I don't see any burners, so the balloons are probably lighter than air gas balloons. Gas balloons were popular earlier than hot air balloons.