Frequently Asked Questions
When can I go for a balloon ride?
Balloon rides are best scheduled in the early morning. The second best choice for scheduling is early afternoon. We use 30 minutes before sunrise as a meeting time and 2 hours before sunset as a meeting time. The months from March to October are the best months to schedule because there are more flyable days during these months.
What should I wear?
Wear clothes for being outside. It is only 2 to 4 degrees cooler aloft. The balloon burner produces some heat itself. Maybe wear a hat. It is best to wear tennis shoes as we never know were we might land. If you are concerned about getting cold, layer up so you can remove layers if you become too warm in flight. Don’t forget your camera.
What are your weather requirements?
The day before a morning ride or the morning before an afternoon ride we will talk on the phone and discuss weather for your flight. We need at least 3 mph of wind but not more than 7 mph of wind and clear skies to give a quality flight. We like to fly with storms no closer than 80-150 miles away. Morning flights if winds above the ground are over 25 miles an hour we will also not fly.
How far, how fast, how high will we fly?
Typically we will fly about 5 to 10 miles in an hour and we will climb to one or two thousand feet above the ground unless maneuvering to land which might be 500 feet above the ground before touchdown.
How much time will it take?
Balloon rides take about 3 hours on average from start to finish. However some rides take longer than others. Sometimes we fly longer but we always guarantee a minimum of one hour airborne.
What if I am afraid of heights or have motion sickness?
Ballooning is smooth and quiet. Since the balloon fly’s with the wind there is no turbulence to affect your stomach. If you feel comfortable in an airplane then heights shouldn’t bother you either. We have never had to land early to sooth someone’s fear of heights but we can if we need to.
How do you steer the balloon?
Balloons drift with the wind and have no additional steering. A balloonist can control his or her altitude though and can use the varying direction of winds at different altitudes. Navigation this way is limited to about 30 degrees left or right or the general wind direction.
What kind of fuel does it burn?
Hot air balloons use propane to heat the burner. Just like the propane used in barbecue grills. However the burner system in a hot air balloon gives off much more heat. In fact balloon burners produce 30,000,000 BTU.
Are you required to have a license to fly balloons?
Yes. In fact flying balloons are the same as flying airplanes. Each balloonist is required to pass a written test and a flight test by the Federal Aviation Administration and must fly a certain amount of hours in balloons to give rides. Also each balloon must be maintained to standards set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure airworthiness.