Some helpful tips for your first balloon flights

Are you ready for your first hot air balloon experience?

Below are tips for first-timers and a brief explanation of the entire hot air ballooning experience to help you prepare:

What to Wear

  • Boots or sneakers with high socks
    We never know where we’ll land so it’s important to protect your feet from grass burrs, because it’s very likely we’ll land in a field.

  • Pants that you can move in
    To get in and out of the gondola (balloon basket), you have to climb in and out, so it’s important to have clothing that allows you to be active.

  • Ball cap or hat
    In addition to the Sun the balloons burner puts out some fierce heat. Having a hat of some sort can help protect your head from both sources and hold back any loose hairs so you can fully see the exquisite views!

  • Layered clothing depending on the weather

Outdoor clothing and shoes are recommended. 

In the winter, layered clothing and jackets are recommended. In the summer, tank tops or t-shirts are fine. 

Many people wear too many pieces of warm clothing expecting conditions to be very cold once off the ground. Most of the time it is warmer in the basket than on the ground due to the heat from the burner.

 

What to Bring

Some items that may come in handy during a balloon flight are:-

  • Small cameras are welcome 

  • Sunglasses

  • An adventurous spirit

  • A nice friendly attitude

  • An empty bladder

What Not to bring

Backpack or handbags

Knives, guns or weapons

Smoking

Flammable substances

 

What to Expect

The Inflation and Launch Process

Once you meet your pilot and crew, you will transport you in our vehicles to the launch site. Cloud 9 balloons has a choice of launch sites we select from depending on the wind direction. It is important very to be on time to meeting site so that launch isn’t delayed and the full flight time can be experienced.

Be sure to use the restroom prior to leaving for meeting site. There are no restrooms once you start your journey!

If you booked a private flight, it will just be the two of you and the pilot and crew. If you booked a shared flight, you will share the ride with other passengers.

At the launch site, the pilot will assess the weather and begin the launch process:

The basket and balloon envelope will be laid out so the wind aids in the inflation process. The pilot will connect and check all components to ensure a safe balloon.

Once the balloon is ready to inflate, a high-powered inflation fan will force air into the balloon envelope. Once the balloon envelope is full of air, the pilot will light the burner and bring the balloon upright by blowing fire into the envelope from propane tanks.

Now it’s time to climb into the balloon gondola and get ready for take off!

The Flight

Most passengers don’t realize how peaceful and majestic a hot air balloon flight can be. Since you travel with the wind, gliding through the air at low and high altitudes, the only time you feel the breeze is when you change altitude and the wind speed changes.

At times, you may skim low above the trees then soar to several thousand feet . All of these are common occurrences and part of the full ballooning experience.

The Landing

The landing is the most exciting part of the hot air balloon experience. The pilot will choose a landing site based on conditions, access and suitability.

Landings vary depending on the wind speed and terrain.

In calm winds, there may be a “stand up landing”, meaning that the balloon will calmly rest on the ground with little to no impact.

 In moderate winds, the pilot may instruct passengers to crouch down into a brace position with bend knees to soften the impact. The balloon may drag with moderate to high winds. 

Once the balloon has come to a complete stop; the pilot will instruct passengers to wait in the basket for some of the hot air to be released. That way the balloon doesn’t take off again when passengers dismount.

if it’s on it’s side, the envelope will be quickly deflated and passengers will be able to climb out of the basket.

Post-Flight

The balloon envelope and basket will be dismantled and packed up. Passengers are welcome to help and encouraged to assist with packing up the balloon. 

Once the balloon gear is packed back on the vehicle, the crew or pilot will return passengers to their vehicles.

Just remember, each experience is unique and we go where the wind takes us! Your Cloud 9 balloon pilot and crew are top-notch and will take great care of you. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions about your first hot air balloon experience, or search through our website for more information!

Soft Landings

Clare Allen