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Booking Questions:
Can you fly more than two passengers at once? Or more than two passengers per day?
No. We only fly two passengers per flight, no exceptions. Only one flight is scheduled per day due to winds typically limiting balloon flights in the mid-morning timeframe.
Is it okay if I am pregnant?
No. Due to insurnace limitations, we cannot fly anyone that is pregnant.
Is there a minimum age/height requirement?
There is no minimum age requirement. There is a minimum height requirement of 52 inches. The height of the basket is 47 inches tall; you must be able to enter/exit the basket on your own. We can provide a small step to stand on. For safety, all passengers must be able to stand on their own for the duration of the flight. You may not hold a child during the flight.
Do you offer gift certificates?
We no longer offer gift certificates.
Can I pay with check?
Flights are only scheduled with payment being made via credit card at time of booking.
Why do you require my weight?
The balloon’s performance (how fast we can climb, how hot the air in the balloon has to be, how much fuel we will burn, etc.) is dependent on how much weight we have in the balloon, the altitude we fly at, and the outside air temperature. We need to determine whether we can safely fly every morning based on those parameters.
Is there a weight limit?
A variety of factors come into play when determining maximum passenger weight, including temperature and altitude. However, generally our maximum combined passenger weight is about 500 pounds.
What happens if my flight is cancelled?
If your flight is cancelled due to weather, you have the option of a 100% refund, or you can re-book for a later date in the same season. We work very hard to monitor the weather conditions and forecasts to provide as much notice as possible if your flight is cancelled.
What is the best time of the year to fly?
That really depends on what you are looking for. If you are interested in predicable weather, the months of July and August are the best. However, we feel that flying in the early portion of the season provides more scenery as most of the crops in the area have yet to be harvested. Flying earlier in the year also allows for re-scheduling later in the same season if your first flight is cancelled due to weather. The truth is that flying early in the seasons is a different experience than flying later. Perhaps you should fly with us more than once?
Flight Day Questions:
May I bring a camera?
Of course! Please bring cameras, cell phones, video cameras, whatever you would like.
What will the flight be like?
That is all part of the ballooning adventure. It changes daily! We typically launch right and sunrise and fly for an hour. We land where the winds take us. We will fly at a variety of altitudes and, wind permitting, different directions to take us a few miles down the road. Our crew will meet us on the ground where we will pack up the balloon and head back to the launch location.
What should I wear?
Dress as you would for a walk in the early morning. Temperatures will generally be cool. And remember that you will be swinging legs over the basket in order to get in. Dresses and skirts are not recommended. We also recommend wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty or wet, as we may land in fields that can be muddy at times. High heels and sandals are not recommended.
When do we arrive at the launch location?
We ask that our passengers arrive at the launch location approximately 25 minutes prior to sunrise. We will start setting up the balloon about 30 minutes prior to sunrise. This allows you to observe and have a hand in the inflation process. We will launch at sunrise. Arrival times are listed in your reservation.
I’m unable to stand for extended periods of time.
Not a problem. Please let us know a few days before your flight and we will bring a stool for you to use in the basket.
I may have issues getting in the basket.
We all do. It is a bit of a clumsy maneuver. Our crew will be happy to help you get in and out of the basket. If you have mobility issues, we can help you in the basket before the balloon is “stood up”. You’ll basically lay down in the basket on your back during the inflation process and then be standing upright for the flight. Think space shuttle launch.
Where will we land?
That is a great question! Balloons drift with the wind and are unable to directly control where we go. That being said, winds usually change drastically at various altitudes, providing helpful directional changes to get to a suitable landing spot. Determining exactly where we will land prior to the flight is similar to selecting winning lottery numbers.
How far will we travel?
This depends on the winds. We fly for one hour and like fairly light breezes – so a 3 to 6 mile flight is pretty typical.
Are the burners loud?
We won’t lie – the burners can be loud. The good news is they are only on for brief periods of time during the flight – say 5 seconds every 45 seconds or so. You may want to bring a set of ear plugs if you have sensitive ears. Our pilots carry extras if you forget yours.
General Questions:
Are balloons safe?
It is no secret that there is risk in everything. Risk in walking across the street, getting in your car, and yes, even going for a balloon ride. We pride ourselves in our safety record, the safety culture we promote, and do everything in our power to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Statistically speaking, the chances of any airborne incident with the equipment and staff we have is extremely improbable. Read more about our safety culture here.
Why do balloons fly so early in the morning?
The early morning hours offer the best flight conditions for balloons: Light and predicable winds. We do occasionally do evening flight later in the flight season when afternoon conditions become more predictable.
I’m afraid of heights.
Many people have flown in hot air balloons that were afraid of heights. A hot air balloon is unlike any other aircraft. It moves very slowly with almost no perceptible motion. Almost no wind is felt as the balloon is traveling at the same speed as the wind. The high basket sides provide a comforting feeling for our passengers. If desired, passengers may sit on the basket floor for a portion of the flight until they are comfortable with the movement of the balloon. The basket does not sway at all during the flight.
Where does the balloon launch from?
We typically launch from either the Albany or Salem airports. Please be aware of the launch location when booking your flight. The launch location is listed in your reservation.
Can we depart from location A and go to location B?
We may be able to accommodate specific launch locations, providing there is adequate space, a suitable surface (preferably grass), and surrounding areas for landings. As for making it to location B: Probably not.
Can we fly in the rain?
While the rain does not cause problems in flight, a wet balloon will mildew (think wet tent in a bag) which causes irreversible damage to the fabric. The bigger concern with rain are the clouds and fog often associated with it. FAA regulations prohibit balloons from flying in or near the clouds and fog.
What is the chase crew?
The chase crew helps in many ways. Primarily, they are there to increase the safety of your flight and provide assistance in preparing the balloon for flight. They also assist with packing up after the flight. During the flight, the chase crew follows the balloon, informs the pilot of any obstacles on the ground (powerlines, difficult to see antennas/towers etc.), and engages with land owners to get landing permission on private property.
I’m interested in crewing. What can I do?
We love having new people come out to crew. Please click here for more information.
How big is the balloon?
Our balloon is 90,000 cubic feet in volume. It is apprixmately 72 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter at the widest part.
What is the balloon made from?
The balloon fabric is a mixture of nylon and nomex. The basket has a metal frame supporting a wooden floor and wicker sides.
How is the balloon inflated for launch?
We first fill the balloon with cold air while it is laying on its side by using a gas powered fan. Once the balloon is filled with cold air, the air is heated which causes the balloon to lift off the ground into the upright position.
What kind of fuel is burned?
We burn propane. The same stuff you burn in your gas BBQ at home.
What is required to pilot a balloon?
A commercial pilot’s license from the FAA is required to fly balloons with paying passengers.