General Balloon Information / FAQ
A flight in a hot air balloon is an enjoyable outdoor activity. Reading these questions and going over the answers will allow you to fully appreciate your hot air balloon experience from start to finish.
Hot Air Balloons are Registered Aircraft
Every hot air balloon in the United States is registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. This is similar to a car registration with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Do you need a license to fly a hot air balloon?
Indeed! The requirements for a hot air balloon certificate include: ground instruction, flight instruction, written examinations, and a practical test demonstrating skills and knowledge to a designated flight examiner. Balloon pilots must also meet requirements to keep their qualifications current.
When do we fly?
Hot air balloons generally fly when the winds are most stable. This is typically right around sunrise and a couple hours prior to sunset. The heating and cooling of the earth during the day can create thermals which are unsuitable and unstable for flying.
Contrary to popular belief, winter is one of the best times to fly because thermals are almost non-existent. It is simply just cold out, so make sure to wear warm clothing (we provide hot chocolate!) if you fly in the winter months.
Is there an age limit, height limit, or weight limit?
Our minimum age for a participant is 5 years old with a parent on board for safety reasons. There is no height limit, but if you are taller than 6'3" we do recommend wearing a hat for comfort.
Our prices are reflected per person for a weight up to 235 lbs each. For Individuals in excess of 235 lbs, call for more details and we will be sure to get you all the info you need to go hot air ballooning!
How long is your balloon flight?
Hot air ballooning is a fully involved experience which includes a lot more than just the flight. We will involve you in pre-flight activities, a safety briefing, and getting everybody involved with the inflation of the hot air balloon (if it is safe to do so and you want the hands-on experience).
Once airborne, our crew will follow the balloon to our landing spot which is NEVER predetermined: we go with the wind! Once the flight is over, the crew will recover the balloon and the passengers. The crew is also responsible for returning everybody to the launch site safely.
The whole experience from start to finish can be anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
The Safety Briefing
The safety briefing will include the following topics:
- A general overview of the entire flight from start to finish
- Where you should stand during inflation
- How the fan works during inflation
- The hot phase of inflation
- Entering and exiting the basket before and after the flight
- Basket positioning during the flight
- Landing instruction
Weather and Hot Air Balloons
Hot air ballooning is completely weather dependent and sometimes balloon flights will be cancelled due to inclement weather. Trust us: we want to fly just as much as you, but if it’s not safe, we’re not going to fly you. We are highly trained in weather theory and weather forecasting and we will make the best decision we can from the information provided to us prior to your scheduled flight. If we do cancel due to poor weather conditions, we will work with you as best we can to get you rescheduled. We want to fly you - SAFELY!
What should I wear?
Dress to be active and outside for at least a few hours, and make sure to dress for the temperature outside (no, it will not be colder up in the air). Things to consider:
- Make sure to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes without heels (ladies you still look good, don’t worry)
- We know it’s hot in the summer, but we recommend wearing long pants. It is very common for us to land in a long-grass field, and pants are best suited for your comfort. Ladies should adhere to the same advice, please no skirts or dresses (like we said, you’ll still look great)
- A hat is strongly recommended because of how hot the burners can be
- Have fun!
Can I fly if I’m pregnant?
No, we do not fly women who are pregnant - it’s just not safe. Come fly with us before or after! Other things you should consider regarding personal health and flying in a hot air balloon:
- Landing is very similar to jumping off a chair onto the floor. Sometimes, it’s a little more aggressive and sometimes it’s a little less aggressive. The oldest person we have flown was 95 at the time and she loved it!
- We go wherever the wind takes us. Because of this, we do not land back where we took off from (sorry folks, but we do have an awesome vehicle that always brings us back!). Sometimes this causes us to have to walk over uneven terrain.
- If you have had any recent previous injuries, a balloon flight (just like any other activity) could re-aggravate your injury
I’m afraid of heights, I think...
The comment we get the most is: “Well I don’t know if I’ll like it because I’m afraid of heights”. There is no sensation of height or movement in a balloon, so I assure that you will have no fear of heights in the balloon. Don’t believe us? Come schedule a ride and see for yourself!
Questions on whether you think you can fly or not? Give us a call! Ballooning is a safe and extremely fun adventure. We have thousands of hours of flight experience and can’t wait to share a new experience with you.