Balloon flights generally only occur two times a day, shortly after sunrise and a few hours prior to sunset. This is when the winds are generally the calmest. Because balloons are very dependent on certain weather conditions, the pilot will begin examining weather patterns and forecasts many days before a scheduled flight. Visit our Balloon_Weather page for a taste of what we look at prior to each flight.
Upon arrival at the launch site, the pilot will release a small helium balloon called a piball
(pilot balloon) to verify wind speed and direction. While the pilot and crew set up the balloon and begin preparing it for flight, all passengers will be required to read and sign a waiver and written preflight briefing. The briefing will be repeated by the pilot prior to the actual flight. As the balloon is inflated, passengers and spectators are encouraged to take pictures, ask questions, and if you want you can even join in.
Once we take off, the flight will typically last 45-60 minutes (30 minutes guaranteed). During this time, spectators may follow along on the ground, however we ask that you please obey all traffic laws and respect private property where we may land. After landing, the pilot and chase crew will pack up the balloon and then we will return to the launch site for a traditional post flight toast.
It should be noted that ballooning is an Active Outdoor activity. Passengers will have to climb over the side in order to enter and exit the balloon basket. Also, we may land in higher grass and/or uneven ground. Because of this, sturdy shoes such as boots or sneakers are required. Passengers wearing sandals or flip-flops will not be permitted to fly. Other clothing suggestions include pants or shorts rather than skirts (remember the part about climbing over the edge of the basket) and a hat for those of us who are taller than our hair (24 million btu burners put off a fair amount of radiant heat).
Please be aware that those with certain medical conditions may be prohibited from flying. When booking a flight, you may be asked for to provide an approximate weight for each passenger so we can ensure that the aircraft is capable of providing adequate lift.