FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is hot air ballooning really safe?

Safety is the top priority of our company.  Hot air balloons are registered aircraft and all equipment requires annual inspection by the FAA.  Our pilot holds a commercial certification and is also certified for flight instruction.  Our company is fully insured.

Are any passengers restricted from flying?

There are no age restrictions for passengers, but we do require a minimum height of 48 inches.   We request that all passengers be able to stand  unassisted for at least one hour and be in general good health.  Crew members can assist with getting people into and out of the basket, if needed.  Expecting mothers are restricted from flying unless with written permission from their doctor.  If you feel that you have a medical condition that may be in question, please consult your physician.  Also, please discuss any special needs or concerns with your pilot when you schedule your flight.

Are reservations required?

Yes, you must reserve a date in advance to fly.  Because the pilot must also schedule crew and block a date from making another reservation, a deposit of $190 is required.  The deposit is non-refundable, but is transferable.  It is our policy not to refund deposits unless in very extenuating circumstances.

Should I bring my camera or video recorder?

Absolutely!  Ballooning and cameras go hand-in-hand.  You may bring a camera with you during the flight but please be considerate as space is limited in the basket.  You may also request a crew member to take your picture in the basket prior to the balloon lifting off of the ground.  Expect to get gorgeous pictures.

If I’m afraid of heights, how can I enjoy a hot air balloon ride?

Unlike being on a building, ladder, roof, etc., there is no physical connection with the ground when you’re in a hot air balloon.  Without this physical connection, most often those afraid of heights do not get the same sensation when in a hot air balloon basket.  The basket is quite stable during flight.   While most people experience some anxiety regarding heights, even those with greater fears still enjoy hot air balloon rides.  We’ve never had a passenger say they wouldn’t fly again!  If you’re still interested in flying but are still concerned, please discuss this with your pilot.

I experience motion sickness, will a balloon ride make me queezy?

Unlike in airplanes, you will not experience air turbulence in a hot air balloon because you are flying with the wind, not against it.   The basket is quite stable.  Being completely open in a basket, you won’t experience a vision pathway disturbance which causes motion sickness in cars.  Any feeling of vertigo is not caused by a balloon flight.

If I’m not going to fly in the balloon, can I still participate?

Being a part of the ground crew is an excellent opportunity for all people to be involved in ballooning.  Talk to the pilot about becoming a Cloud Nine Balloons crew member.  This is also a good option for anyone interested in becoming a balloon pilot.

What should I wear for my flight?

Dress in casual attire according to the outside weather conditions.  Because balloons can land in rough terrain, open-toe shoes, sandals, and shorts are not recommended.  Taller people may consider wearing a hat as the heat from the burners can become quite warm.  At the highest altitude, the temperature is only a couple of degrees cooler than at ground level, but you will not feel any breeze as you’ll be moving with the wind.

How does the crew know where the balloon will land?

The pilot and crew are in continuous communication by radio during each flight.  Often the pilot will provide ground directions to the crew during chase.

How high do we fly?

Sometimes we fly at tree top altitude and other times we fly up to 5,000 feet or higher.

Is it cold and windy in the balloon?

The temperature in the basket is basically the same as when you’re on the ground.  The temperature difference is about 3°F cooler for every 1,000 feet of altitude, but you also feel the heat from the burners.  Because we are flying at the same speed as the wind, you will not experience the sensation of wind while in the balloon.

When do we fly?

We fly at sunrise and 2-3 hours before sunset.  These are the times when the air is most stable providing for the safest and most enjoyable flight.  Prior to each flight, the pilot will contact all passengers to confirm the meeting time and location and provide directions to the launch site.

How far do we fly?

Average flights cover 5 to 10 miles depending on wind speed, available landing sites, and fuel on board.

What if we get bad weather?

Before each flight, the pilot calls flight service for a full weather briefing.  This enables him to very carefully determine any weather patterns that could be dangerous.  Because balloons do not fly in adverse conditions, flights may be canceled up to minutes before launch.  The pilot’s decision to fly is always final to ensure the safety of all passengers and crew.

You really don’t know where you’re going to land?

Balloons are non-steerable aircraft.  The pilot climbs or descends to find various wind speeds or directions, but you can only fly with the wind.  The pilot will continuously search for suitable landing sites for the duration of the flight.  Drop lines are used with the ground crew to land where space is limited.  We land in fields, yards, farms, parking lots, and sometimes a driveway or two.  Every effort is made to secure landowner permission prior to landing.

How do we get back to the launch field?

A recovery vehicle with the trailer will always follow the balloon during the flight. The crew will help to pack the balloon up and will accompany the pilot, crew and passengers back to the launch site.

Will I be asked to sign a waiver to fly?

Like other ride or adventure services, we do require a signed waiver.

How can I learn to fly a balloon?

Call us at 570.466.1132. Our pilot is an FAA-certified and licensed balloon instructor.