Q: How are balloon pilots licensed?
A: Balloons are registered like any other aircraft and are subject
to regular airworthiness checks. The FAA will not allow a balloon to be
certified as airworthy unless these inspections and checks are done by
authorized maintenance personnel and certified by them. All pilots are
licensed by the FAA and have to pass regular flight checks.
Q: Why do balloons fly only twice a day?
A: Balloons need calm winds to fly safely and the hours just
following sunrise & just two hours before sunset are the best for
calm winds. That is also why it is important to be on time for your flight.
Q: How is the balloon inflated?
A: That's all part of the show. You can watch and even help with
the process. Its amazingly simple. The pilot and the crew lay everything
out on its side. Then with the use of an inflation fan, breathe life into
the fabric. Once the balloon is fully inflated with cold air on the ground,
the pilot uses the propane powered burner to heat the air inside the balloon
and bring it upright. Everyone then climbs on board and a few short blast
of heat and away we go!
Q: How do balloons steer?
A: Since balloons move with the air, the weather is very important
in deciding to whether or not to fly. The pilot chooses a launch site
to use the wind currents to fly towards a suitable landing sight. At different
altitudes the winds are at different directions and speeds.
Q: How big are balloons?
A: Depending on the weight capacity, balloons may be as tall
as 120 feet. The average balloon is approximately 75 feet and close to
50 feet wide. The volume is typically 105,000 cubic feet. That means we
could put over 105,000 basket balls inside our balloon.
Q: I sometimes get airsick in airplanes. Will I get sick in a
A: No absolutely not! The turbulence which usually causes motion
sickness is completely absent in a balloon flight. The flight of a balloon
is like magic.
Q: What if I'm afraid of heights?
A: Flying in a hot air balloon is completely different then anything
else on earth. The security of being in the balloon is different then
being on a ladder or ledge. Most people that are afraid of heights get
the greatest reward from the experience.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Typically we recommend that you would dress as if you are
going for a hike. Comfortable shoes and dress in layers. Step outside
in the morning and see how you would normally dress. The temperature will
not change much as we fly.
Q: Can I take a camera?
A: Yes taking pictures of your adventure will be a welcome addition
to any family photo album. The balloons and crew are photogenic and will
help you get some great photos. We recommend that you bring your camera
case for the rest of the time when you are not using your camera.
Q: How long does it all take?
A: We recommend you leave about three hours out of your day for
your ballooning adventure. The flight itself will last approximately an
hour to an hour and a half, with the rest of the time for location selection,
packing up and of coarse the champagne celebration.
Q: How far will we fly?
A: Again...it depends on the wind speed. Hot Air Balloons travel
with the wind and an average flight can travel up to 15 miles, sometimes
more, sometimes less.
Q: How high do balloons fly?
A: Most balloonists enjoy low level flight. The typical balloon
flight would be anywhere from treetop level to about 3,000 feet above
Q: Where will we land?
A: Balloons travel with the wind. The pilot picks a landing location
in the wind line that will give him a good safe approach and landing.
After touch down, the crew needs an adequate place to pack the balloon.
The Chase crew meets us upon landing. After the traditional champagne
celebration we all ride back to your car.
Q: How does the chase crew know where we are?
A: Radios are used to stay in contact with the chase
crew as well as with Air Traffic Control and other aircraft flying in
the vicinity. They are in constant contact with the balloon pilot by radio
and should be at the landing site at the same time as the balloon. After
the balloon is packed and we have the traditional Champagne ceremony we
take everyone back to our meeting location.