Frequently Asked Question about Hot air Balloons

F.A.Q - Hot Air Balloons, FlyBalloons.net

Ride in a Balloon

Ted Gauthier takes you along for a ride in his balloon from beginning to end.

Go For a Ride with Us

This video will take you through the process of setting up, launching, flying and packing up a hot air balloon. Our hope is to give you an inside look on a ride in a hot air balloon.

See the view from the air

FlyBalloons.net pilot Ted Gauthier takes you on journey over the neighborhoods looking from his hot air balloon.

Go For a Ride with Us

This video will take you through the process of setting up, launching, flying and packing up a hot air balloon. Our hope is to give you an inside look on a ride in a hot air balloon.

Fall Colors

Go for a ride over the neighborhoods and enjoy the view.

image1 image2 image3 image4
themed object

40 Accident Free Years !

Bookmark and Share
facebook
get in touch

Header Content Region

Insert text, image or banner ads here, or just delete this text and leave this area blank!

Flying In Michigan

The joy of flying hot air balloons in Michigan is highlighted by all the wonderful scenery. There are hundreds of lakes, wildlife and rolling hills.

Events

Check out this Video...Lisle, Illinois  "Eyes to the Skies". This Video will give you an inside look of what it is like to attend a hot air balloon festival.

Events:

Michigan Balloon Challenge: June 23, 24th and 26th. 2017.

 

Balloon Advertising

Advertising on a hot air balloon is a fantastic way to get exposure. Your name is as large as a freeway billboard and can be viewed by thousands of people in your market area.

Let us be your pilot in the sky !

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

flyballoons logo small

Type in your Search Term

What should I wear on this flight ?

When is the best time to fly ?

What is the balloon made from ?

How do balloons work ?

Where do balloons land ?

How do you get back home again ?

Will I need to sign an insurance waiver?

How long can balloons stay up?

What kind of fuel do balloons use?

Can anyone pilot a balloon?

How do pilots steer them?

How high do balloons go?

How much does a balloon cost?

How fast do balloons go?

How are balloons inflated?

How many people does it take to fly a balloon?

How much do balloon systems weigh?


What Should I wear on this flight?

  • The air temperature during the flight is about the same as on the ground, so don’t overdress. Wear casual outdoor attire, like jeans and sneakers, not your best clothes. Dresses, shorts, sandals or high heels are not recommended. We suggest waterproof footwear for morning flights since grass can be wet with dew, and a jacket or sweater for all flights during cooler times of the year.
Back to Top

When is the best time to fly?

  • Hot air ballooning is a year-round sport. Weather conditions for ballooning are best just after sunrise and 2-3 hours before sunset. Light, ideal winds (0-8 mph) often occur during these times. During the day, when the sun is high, thermals (large bubbles of hot air that rise from the sun-heated earth) make ballooning more difficult.
Back to Top

What is the balloon made from?

  • The balloon bag or "envelope" is made of reinforced nylon fabric. It is very light (1.3 ounces per square yard) but very strong (25 pounds per square inch). The envelope is treated with a polyurethane coating to make it airtight and to help the fabric withstand the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The pilot and passengers ride in a gondola (or basket) that is made of woven wicker, which is both strong and flexible. The gondola is connected to the envelope by stainless steel suspension cables.
Back to Top

How do balloons work?

  • Hot air rises. The envelope traps a large bubble of hot air. If the air in the envelope is heated by a burner, the balloon will rise. If the air in the envelope is allowed to cool or if the hot air is "vented" (allowed to escape) from the top or the side of the envelope, the balloon will descend. An altimeter (to measure altitude), a rate-of-climb meter, and an envelope temperature gauge are the only instruments used in the balloon. Amazingly, the pilot can control the altitude of the balloon within a matter of inches!
Back to Top

Where do balloons land?

  • Since a balloon travels with the wind, it is not possible to determine an exact landing site prior to launch. However, a pilot is able, through the study of wind currents, to determine the general direction of the flight.
Back to Top

How do I get home again?

  • After the balloon is launched, the "chase crew" follows in a chase vehicle. Using maps of the area and radios, as well as visual contact, they try to be close by when the balloon lands. The crew helps the pilot deflate and disassemble the balloon and return passengers and equipment back home.

Back to Top

Will I have to sign a hold harmless waiver?

Back to Top

How Long can balloons stay up?

  • Most balloons can fly for about 1 hour depending on the outside temperature and the weight carried. On a cold day with only the pilot flying, a 2-3 hour flight would be possible.

Back to Top

What kind of fuel do balloons use?

  • Common Liquid propane gas (LPG) is used to heat hot air balloons. Some balloons carry 40 gallons of propane in two 20-gallon stainless steel tanks; others carry three 10-gallon tanks. Propane is a stable and predictable fuel, but highly volatile (burns easily). It is carried in liquid form, under pressure in the tanks, and supplied to the burners through flexible hoses. The burner flame may shoot out 6 to 8 feet in the blast that the pilot controls. A typical flight lasting 1 hour, with 3 people aloft, will consume about 20 gallons of propane. Some balloons have two independent burner and fuel systems for added safety.

Back to Top

Can anyone pilot a balloon?

  • Balloon pilots must have an aircraft pilot's license especially for balloons. This license is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is earned after taking hours of instruction with a balloon pilot instructor, passing an FAA written test, making a solo flight, and passing a flight test with an FAA examiner.

Back to Top

How do pilots steer them?

  • Generally speaking, they don't. A balloon drifts in the same direction and at the same speed as the wind. The skill is for the pilot to pick the altitude that has the most desired wind direction. Surface winds sometimes blow in a very different direction from the winds aloft. Altitude control is achieved with the on-board burner. Longer "burns" will achieve lift. Shorter "burns", or none at all will allow the air to cool, and the balloon to descend.

Back to Top

How high do balloons go?

  • Flights in hot air balloons have been recorded at over 50,000 feet. However, the sport of ballooning is most enjoyable when flying 200 to 500 feet - just above the treetops. When balloons fly over populated areas, they maintain an altitude of at least 1,000 feet.

Back to Top

How much does a balloon cost?

  • The average balloon costs from $35,000 to over $55,000. This price includes the envelope, gondola, fuel tanks, and instruments, but does not include any ground support equipment.

Back to Top

How fast do balloons go?

  • As fast as the wind blows. But if the wind is over 8 miles per hour at ground level, balloons are not normally going to be inflated because of the increased possibility of burning the fabric and because landing would likely be rough and require a large field.

Back to Top

How are balloons inflated?

  • The balloon envelope is spread on the ground and the gondola laid on its side and attached to the envelope cables. A portable (gasoline powered) fan pushes cold air into the envelope. When the envelope is about half inflated with outside (ambient) air, a propane burner is ignited until the air inside is heated enough for the balloon to rise to an upright position. With a small amount of additional heat, the balloon becomes buoyant. Typically, the inflation takes about 20 minutes.

Back to Top

How many people does it take to inflate a balloon?

  • The sport of ballooning is a wonderful group or family activity. To safely launch and fly a balloon requires a minimum crew of two people. Duties of the crew typically include launch preparation, following the balloon flight in the chase vehicle, obtaining permission of the landowner for the balloon landing and retrieval, keeping spectators out of the landing area, and insuring that gates are left as they are found and that property is not damaged.

Back to Top

How much do balloon systems weigh?

  • A typical balloon system - envelope, gondola, fuel tanks, and 30 gallons of fuel - will weigh about 500 pounds, deflated on the ground. Our envelope weighs 267 pounds with 475 approximately loaded basket weight.

Back to Top
 

 

back to top

flyballoons logo

Did you know that all of our balloon rides are "private"?

We will not put other passengers in your balloon like other balloon operators.