FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions:

How does a hot air balloon work?

How high do we fly?

Where Do You Launch?

Where Do You Land?

How do you get home again?

What should I wear?

What Should I Bring?

Can I Get a Gift Certificate?

Is it difficult to get a balloon license?

How much does it cost?

How many people are in the Balloon?

When Do You Fly?

When Don’t you fly?

Will I be affected if I suffer from motion sickness?

How Long is The Flight?

How Can I Book A Flight?

General Passenger Requirements


Back to top 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.

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Back to top How High Do We Fly?

Although your altitude will vary during the flight, and can depend on the wind conditions that day. The average altitudes are between 1,000 ft.and 3,000 ft. The balloon may go higher or lower if the days winds permit or require your pilot to do so.

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Back to top 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.

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Back to top Where Do You Land?

Balloons don’t have any 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 to far from a road. Happily, there are many such spots.

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Back to top 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 balloon and all the people are driven back to the launch site in the chase vehicle.

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Back to top What should I wear?

You should dress to suit the season. You won’t be much warmer or cooler during the flight than you would be on the ground. You should also choose footwear that’s suitable for walking through country fields.

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Back to top 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.

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Back to top Can I Get a Gift Certificate?

Yes, of course, it’s a great way to help someone celebrate a birthday or anniversary and it gives them the opportunity to choose when they wish to fly Our regular Gift Certificates are valid for one year from the date of purchase and are transferable, but non refundable. Gift certificates are $225.00 per person.

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Back to top Is it difficult to get a balloon license?

It can be complicated 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 offifcials. All pilots are experienced and commercially certified to carry passengers by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Back to top How much does it cost?

The cost for a balloon ride is $225.00 per person. Personal checks and cash are acceptable forms of payment.

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Back to top How many people are in the Balloon?

We usually fly four passengers, per balloon, however we have flown with as many as five and as few as two. Singles and couples will be paired with others.

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Back to top 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 mins before sunrise for our morning flights and 2 1 / 2 hours before sunset for our evening flights.

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Back to top 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.

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Back to top Will I be affected if I suffer from motion sickness?

No, As the balloon moves with the wind, there is none of this sensation. You will actually have more motion from the ride to the launch site.

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Back to top How Long is The Flight?

Flights usually last 45 minutes to an hour, but we suggest you allow up to3 1/2 hours for the whole excursion. This will include setup and pack-up time as well as travel time back to the launch site.

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Back to top How Can I Book A Flight?

Reservations are necessary for every flight. However sometimes we are available on short notice. Call us at (434) 386-0222. If you have a special day in mind it’s best to book a couple of weeks in advance. (Limited flights Jan. thru April.) If the weather is uncooperative on the selected day, then an alternate time will be arranged. Hot Air Balloons can fly any time of the year and each season has its own particular attractions. The choice is yours!

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Back to top 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 40 inches so they can see. Our Passenger Gondolas have 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 or guardian. All passengers are required to sign the following forms:

• Acknowledgement of Personal Responsibility

•Release, Waive and Indemnity

•Voluntarily Use of Services

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