date ideas & things to do

Hot Air Balloon

A great experience for the adventurous is taking a territorial ride in a hot air balloon. Be prepared to void you bladder before you go up. Most flights depart shortly after sunrise as this is when the earth is still cool and winds are calm. Of course sunrise schedules will vary throughout the year. Dependant on the time of year you are confirmed expect to be picked or arrive at the launch site up anywhere from 5:00AM - 7:00AM. Hot Air Balloon flights are weather sensitive and require good visibility and low wind speeds. Hot air balloons carry anywhere from 4 to 16 passengers. The smaller balloons are larger than 120,000 cubic feet of volume and the larger balloons are up to 240,000 cubic feet of volume. The balloons feature secure, high sided, separated compartments.  

A hot air balloon is made of the envelope (balloon), fuel system, and gondola (basket). The envelope is constructed of polyester, lightweight yet strong and heat resistant, withstanding temperatures of up to 310 degrees. The envelope is open at the bottom for the heating flame and has a exhaust port, a large opening at the top that allows the hot air to escape during landing. The fuel system has the heater, which burns propane to heat the air in the envelope; fuel tanks, which are carried in the basket; and hoses, which connect the two. The basket is typically wickerwork rattan, connected to the envelope by cables or a rigid superstructure.

Flights start at elevations from 4,000 feet to 6, 000 feet above sea level and reach altitudes up to 10,000 feet above sea level when conditions permit. Most will not experience any vertigo feelings because the balloon is moving with the wind currents which mean there is no rocking or swaying or feeling of movement.

The direction of the balloons travel only with the wind and at the speed of the wind. There are usually different wind directions at different altitudes, and by seeking out different wind currents most pilots can maneuver their balloon in several directions. Regardless of your landing site it is smart to employ assistance where they will always have chase crew there to pick you up and return you back to your car or hotel.

In the USA, a pilot balloonist for hire must have a Commercial Lighter-Than-Air, Free Balloon certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. A balloon for hire used for carrying passengers must have a certification issued from the FAA. Every balloon must be inspected annually by an FAA-approved facility or inspector. Be sure to check safety record and liability coverage of any balloon facilities you might wish to carry you up, up into the sky.