Our first priority. Ballooning is dependant upon favorable weather conditions. Therefore, if conditions are not favorable for a safe flight, the pilot may reschedule or cancel the flight. WARNING: Ballooning, like nost outdoor activities, involves a certain amount of risk. Bumpy landings are not uncommon. Please discuss age, injurues, disabilities with us before you fly. Ballooning is always weather and safety permitting. All balloons are FAA certified Standard Airworthy. All pilots are experienced and commercially certified to carry passengers by the Federal Aviation Administration.
How does a hot air balloon work?
Present-day Hot Air Balloon systems closely resemble the original balloons and work on the simple principle that hot air rises. They consist of an envelope to contain the hot air, a system to produce the hot air and a wicker basket to carry the people. Lift is derived from heating the air inside the envelope and descent by allowing some of the air to escape through a vent or by letting it cool naturally.
Where do you launch?
The choice of launch site will vary depending on the wind direction at the time of the flight. We want to go in a direction where we know there will be a fair selection of good landing sites. We are fortunate that there are a variety of launch sites that suit the various wind directions.
Where do you land?
Ballons don't have and means of controlling lateral movement so they go wherever the wind takes them. Part of the adventure of ballooning is not knowing your destination prior to departure. During the flight, the pilot will select a landing site which is free of obstacles, large enough for a safe landing and deflation of the balloon, and not too far from a road. Happily, there are many such spots.
How do you get home again?
After the balloon is launched, the chase crew follows in a chase vehicle. Using maps, two-way radios, and visual contact, they try to be present when the balloon lands. The crew helps the pilot deflate and disassemble the balloon, and then the balloon and all the people are driven back to the launch site in the chase vehicle.
What should I wear?
You should dress to suit the season. You won't be much warmer of cooler during the flight than you would be on the ground. You should also choose footwear that's suitable for walking through country fields.
What should I bring?
You may want to bring a camera to record your experience, binoculars to enhance your enjoyment of the spectacular scenery, or a friend to share it with.
Can I get a gift certificate?
Yes, of course, it's a great way to help someone celebrate a birthday of anniversary and it gives them the opportunity to choose when they wish to fly. Our regular Gift Cerificates are valid for one year from the date of purchase and are transferable, but non-refundable.
Is it difficult to get a license?
It can be difficult and expensive. You are subject to the same requirements as any other commercial aircraft pilot. The four part FAA certification process involves ground school and in-flight training. Potential pilots must provide a medical statement assuring that they are in good health, pass a written FAA exam, complete at least 40 hours of in-flight training and ace an in-flight test with FAA officials. All pilots are experienced and commercially certified to carry passengers by the Federal Aviation Adminstration.
How much does it cost?
Please call (434) 851-3733 or fill out our contact form for current rates. Personal checks and cash are acceptable forms of payment.
When do you fly?
Hot Air Balloons normally fly at sunrise and sunset (sunrise flights have a better chance of success), as this is the time when the air currents are ideal. Therefore, flight times vary with the seasons. As a rule of thumb, we usually meet 15 minutes before sunrise for our morning flights and 2.5 hours before sunset for our evening flights.
When don't you fly?
Rain, fog, low cloud cover, and too much wind are the typical weather conditions that will prompt us to postpone a scheduled flight. We consider a wind speed of 8 mph as the upper threshold for safety. Even at that, launches and landings can be hazardous. Each pilot will make his or her own decision whether or not it is safe to fly. We know that it can be a big disappointment to have your special flight postponed, but safety is our first concern.
How long is the flight?
Flights usually last about 45 minutes to an hour, we suggest you allow up to 3.5 hours for the whole excursion. This will include setup and pack-up time as well as travel back to the launch site.
General Passenger Requirements
Regretfully, Balloon Aviation cannot accommodate everyone. Ladies, we DO NOT fly purses. High heels, sandals, or open toed shoes are NOT permitted. If you are pregnant, postpone your flight plans until after the baby arrives. Children must be taller than 48" so they can see. Our passenger gondolas are high sides. Everyone must be able to climb in and out UNASSISTED - a step is provided. Normal agility is required. Aircraft are weight sensitive, so 240 pounds is the limit per person. Be honest about your weight, within 5 lbs. We are required to know. Any health conditions should be discussed with us before scheduling. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent of guardian. All passengers are required to sign the following forms: 1) Acknowledgement of personal property 2) Release, waiver and indemnity 3) Voluntarily use of services.