Q. How do balloons fly?
A. Balloons do not have engines or a steering wheel. Balloons ride the wind in one of the purest forms of flying. Pilots heat and cool the air inside the balloon to control the altitude, which in turn controls the direction based on wind currents at varying altitudes. Sounds easy, right?
Q. If the balloon does not have a steering wheel, how do we get back to where we took off?
A. Often the balloon will not land where it takes off. The ground crew will “chase” the balloon to a landing point determined by the pilot. The crew will then pack the balloon into the chase vehicle and you will return to the launch field as a group.
Q. How high do balloons fly?
A. Most balloons operate just above the surface to around 3,000ft, although some balloons have flown into space (we promise no thrill seeking on your flight). Skimming along the tree tops or dipping the bottom of the basket in a calm pond is always fun but a panoramic view from 1,000ft watching the sunrise or set is a sight to be seen.
Q. How long is a balloon flight?
A. Flight times vary depending on the wind with the average being 45-60 minutes.
Q. How far do balloons fly?
A. Again, depends on the wind speed but the average is 6-8 miles.
Q. Why do balloon flights take place mostly in the early morning or late afternoon?
A. Balloons need stable air to fly. The winds are usually lightest and the atmosphere the most stable right after sunrise and a couple hours before sunset.
Q. How tall is the balloon?
A. Balloons range in size. The average height of our balloons is approximately 65 feet.
Q. How many people can ride in a balloon?
A. As mentioned above, balloons range in size. Some operators fly balloons that can hold up to a dozen people. Here at Lighter Than Air America, we prefer a more personalized experience, so we limit passengers to a maximum of 3.
Q. What should I wear for the ride?
A. Comfortable clothes appropriate for the outside temperatures on the day of your flight. Closed toe shoes are a must.