Ballooning: The first take-off of a hot-air balloon in Austria took place on July 6, 1784 in the Vienna Prater recreation area and was performed J. G. Stuwer. In 1885 V. Silberer founded the Wiener Aeronautische Anstalt (Aeronautic Institute of Vienna) with the aim of promoting the sport, as well as ballooning research. The first time that bombs were dropped from balloons was over Venice in 1849; during World War I gas balloons were used for artillery observation. Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, ballooning has been performed as a touristic and sports activity. Since 1980 the sport has gained great popularity in Austria. In 1998 there were around 300 balloons (mainly hot-air balloons) in Austria and 350 professionally trained pilots. Traditional ballooning centres are Filzmoos (province of Salzburg), Kirchberg in Tirol and Puch bei Weiz, Bad Waltersdorf and Stubenberg in Styria. Austria´s best-known pilot, J. Starkbaum, has won several altitude world records as well as a great number of international titles.
Literature#I. Trifonov, Ballooning Extrem, 1994; H. Kronberger, Das oesterreichische Ballonbuch, 1995; W. Nairz, Ballonfahren, 1997.