The Flight

What Should I wear?

We recommend that you dress for the weather of the day and as if you were going for a hike. Dress in layers that are easy to put on or remove as the temperature changes. During a flight, temperatures rarely change more than 10 degrees from what it was on the ground. Following an evening flight the sun will set.

Please wear long pants, socks above the ankles, and low or no heel shoes, which cover your feet, no matter how hot the temperature. Please, NO OPEN-TOED SHOES, SAFETY FIRST! We highly recommend water resistant shoes for morning flights. A hat is also recommended especially if you are 6 feet tall or more as the burner gets hot.

What weather can we fly in?

Ballooning is an activity that relies on good weather. We don’t fly in rain, fog, snow, or wind consistently above 7 mph. Balloons don’t fly when there is a threat of thunderstorms in the area. There are other conditions that can affect the decision to fly or not to fly. These factors are taken into consideration by the pilot to ensure a safe flight. If your scheduled flight is cancelled, the flight will be rescheduled at no additional cost.

Can I bring my kids?

For maximum safety and enjoyment, we only fly children who are old enough to understand a preflight briefing and tall enough to see over the side of the basket unaided (typically at least 5 years old). These children often more fully appreciate flying. If they are not flying  and we have room in the chase vehicle they are welcome to chase the balloon at any age. Please ask if we have room.

When do you fly?

Hot air balloon flights can occur twice a day, minutes after sunrise and about an hour prior to sunset. These are the times of the day when the air is most stable, which will provide lighter winds for a safe and enjoyable flight. Stronger winds and turbulence make mid-day flying too risky.

How long is the flight?

Fuel consumption, weather conditions, and landing availability can cause the length of each flight to vary. We guarantee a 30 minute flight, but will fly as long as we can do so safely. An average flight is 45 to 90 minutes. The entire event from the time we meet at the launch site, inflate the balloon, fly, have our champagne celebration, and return to the launch site takes about 2.5 – 3 hours.

How high do you fly?

Balloons can climb over 12,000′ above sea level before pilots and passengers require oxygen. Most flights occur within 2000′ of the ground for more close-up views, skimming treetops, and conversations with those below.

Why the champagne?

This French tradition began to pacify angry farmers and frightened villagers who had never seen a balloon. Today, this tradition continues for passengers to celebrate their flight with a toast.

How do pilots compete?

Competition in ballooning means accuracy and not speed. Pilots maneuver toward pre-chosen targets from several miles away and drop bean bags or markers which are scored on distance from the target. Top pilots regularly drop markers within inches of dead center!

The Balloon

What is the balloon made of?

Most balloon fabric is lightweight rip-stop nylon or polyester treated with coatings to reduce porosity and withstand ultraviolet light.

How much fabric does it take?

The average balloon requires 1200-1500 square yards of fabric, 2500 feet of load tape, and 6-8 miles of thread to sew it all together.

How much does it weigh?

The average balloon weighs about 200-350 pounds, and the basket and fuel tanks add about another 400-500 pounds.

How powerful are the burners?

Most balloon baskets have 1 or 2 burners which put out 15-30 million BTU’s of heat at temperatures over 1000°F. An average home furnace puts out 50,000-200,000 BTU’s while most barbecues put out 15,000BTU’s.

Where do you land?

Most open accessible areas will do: large yards or parks, school grounds, cut crop fields, or even alongside roads. No airport is required, although you may land at many airports after taking certain precautions.

What’s the landing like?

The basket usually touches the ground or slides a few feet and stops. In faster winds the basket may bounce, tip at an angle, or lie over and drag to a stop.

How many crew do you need?

A crew of 2-4 people can usually set up and inflate a balloon in 20-30 minutes and deflate and pack up in about the same time. More doesn’t always mean faster or better; too many crew can slow or complicate tasks.

The Crewing

How many crew do you need?

A crew of 2-4 people can usually set up and inflate a balloon in 20-30 minutes and deflate and pack up in about the same time. More doesn’t always mean faster or better; too many crew can slow or complicate tasks.

How can I start crewing?

Simple. Just ask! Most pilots are more than willing to take on new crew members. Just ask any pilot or crew member how to get started and you’re on your way.

What do I get for crewing?

Most crew volunteer for the friends, experiences, and memories ballooning offers. Many pilots try to fly crew after a few flights as a thank-you for their efforts, and some will ask crew to participate in local festivals or competitions as well.

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