Hot Air Ballooning Qustions & Answers
Can I fly over my house?
You might have thought that balloons can only go where the wind blows, and you'd be right, but not all the wind goes everywhere at once!! The wind changes direction with height, 'backing' with height (if the wind is coming from the North at ground level, it will gradually move round toward the West as you go higher), this means a balloon can sometimes change direction by as much as 30 degrees. Also, a skilful pilot can judge the effects of valleys and hills to 'steer' the balloon. If your house is pretty much downwind of the launch site, then you may be able to fly over it – if your fellow passengers and the pilot agree, and if it's SAFE. If you regularly see balloons over your house, it makes it even more likely.
Is it cold?
Yes and no. It can be. The atmosphere does get colder as you get higher, and many of our launches are very early in the morning when it can be chilly as well. However, to fly at all, the balloon needs a lot of very hot air and you can warm up when the burners are operating. It is a bit like sitting round a campfire at night: one side is warm, the other isn't. We always recommend bringing along warm clothes.
Can I help with the launch?
Yes, normally your assistance will be welcome with laying the balloon out and making ready for the flight, or just stand about watching, soaking up the atmosphere and taking lots of pictures. It's up to you.
Can I help with the flying?
Possibly, though some pilots may let you operate the burners if you ask very nicely.....
Is it dependent on the weather?
Ooooh yes. In general, we cannot fly if the wind is faster than four knots (a fast walk; well, we can fly, but it makes landing a very tricky business.) We cannot fly in fog or very poor visibility. The wind speed is normally lowest at dawn and dusk, which is shy many of our flights are scheduled at these times. On average, four out of five of our flights have to be postponed due to wind speed, and you must bear this is mind if you are intending to travel very far to the launch site. You are advised to call the pilot to check the weather at least the day before your scheduled flight, and ideally on the day itself.
Do NOT rely on the TV/radio weather forecast!!
So if the weather is bad I lose my money?
No!! Your flight simply gets postponed, and you will have some priority over other passengers who have not yet made their first booking. It is, however, very advisable to start making bookings early in the life of the voucher - if you leave your first booking until the last minute, the operator may need to make a fuel surcharge when you do eventually get to fly because balloon fuel is subject to the same inflationary (groan) pressures as every other sort of fuel.
Can you handle disabilities?
Yes, many of them; however, you should bear in mind that you are standing for the duration of most flights, and you do have to be able to climb into and out of the basket; this means that we cannot usually accommodate wheelchair users, for example. Also, landings can be 'sporty', sometimes the basket even tips up. Please contact us before you buy if you have any questions.
Are you anything to do with Go–Ballooning?
Will I get airsick or motion sick?
No. The balloon moves at exactly the speed of the air it is in, and is too big to react to turbulence, so there is hardly any sensation of movement.
Is it noisy?
My word yes. The countryside is a very noisy place – sky larks shrieking, cows mooing, hens clucking, milk maids giggling. You can hear it all, except sometimes the burners give a roar to drown out all that racket. (The burners are not too noisy).
Are all balloon pilots gorgeous, articulate, friendly sky gods?
Of course - well all of ours, at least!