Here you will find general information about how a typical hot air balloon flight would go.
You will normally meet shortly after dawn for a morning flight and 3-4 hours before sunset for an evening flight. This is
because the wind is the most calm early morning and at late afternoon. The wind is the most important factor when it comes
to a balloon ride as the weather may seem fine early on in the day but wind speeds can change dramatically and this can mean
the flight can be cancelled.
Due to weather conditions hot air balloon flights are sometimes cancelled at the last minute, requiring the flight to be rescheduled.
Although this can be somewhat frustrating it is worth it when the flight finally goes ahead. There is nothing quite like riding in a
hot air balloon!
The pre-flight setting up of the balloon is just as spectacular a show for the passengers as the actual flight itself as they are able
to witness the impressive sight of the envelope being fully inflated.
The envelope is laid out flat and stretched out on as much land as possible. An inflator fan is placed at the neck and the balloon
starts to fill up with air. The basket is then attached to the envelope and the burner secured in place. With the balloon now half full
of air the burner can be fired up and the rest of the envelope if filled up in no time. The basket is constantly secured to the floor
throughout this whole process, to make sure that the balloon doesn't just take off without all the passengers.
Once the envelope is full the passengers make their way into the basket and when all the weight is fully balanced out the balloon is
unsecured from the ropes holding it to the floor and the flight gets underway.
It's hard to describe the feeling of flying in the balloon, it's almost like a feeling of weightlessness, as if you are drifting along,
floating on air. On a clear day you will be able to see for miles. The hot air balloon flight lasts for about 1 hour in total before the
pilot will start looking for a safe place to bring the balloon in to land.
The landing is actually quite a bumpy affair. The pilot will bring the balloon down at a very slow rate and actually land it at a 45
degree angle to the floor. This is to help the basket lose speed and come to a halt quicker. The basket will actually end up on its side
with all the passengers lying horizontal with their torsos sticking out of the top of the basket. There are side rail supports and ropes
to hang on to make sure nobody falls out.
After everyone is safely out the envelope needs to be deflated and packed back up. The basket and now deflated envelope are then secured
on to the van which will have been following the balloon's path. All the passengers are then driven back to the starting point for the
certificate presentation and champagne reception.