Balloon America


 

                                      Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions about hot air ballooning. If you have additional questions please feel free to call us at (520) 299-7744 and talk in person with an FAA certified commercial pilot on duty from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm seven days a week.


Is There a Feeling of Motion During Flight?

No, there is nothing that makes the basket sway in flight. It hangs motionless in the air mass that surrounds it. If you hold a candle in your hand as you fly, it will not flicker. Probably the best description of flying in a hot air balloon is that it feels like you are standing on a balcony, with the ground moving slowly below you. There is no "elevator" feeling. It is amazingly smooth and tranquil.

Is It Cold In the Basket While Flying?

Since cold air sinks to the valley floor, it is not unusual for inflight temperatures to be 10 to 30 degrees warmer than on the ground. Since you are moving with the air mass, there is no wind chill factor. The sun provides additional warmth as well as the radiant heat from the burners above you. We frequently advise passengers that are "bundled up" to leave extra layers of clothes on the ground right before takeoff so they don't overheat in flight.

How Fast Do Balloons Fly?

The speed of the balloon is the speed of the wind wafting it along. No flights will be launched if it appears that we will exceed 10 MPH on landing. 5 MPH is an ideal speed as one walks at 4 MPH.


Is Age a Consideration?

We accept children ages 3 and older and our most chronologically gifted passenger to date was 97. You must be in good physical shape for your age and have no pre-existing medical conditions that in the opinion of your doctor would prevent you from flying. Passengers must be fully ambulatory, with no previous unhealed injuries, able to walk at least one mile unaided, as well as climb over a stationary four foot obstacle two or more times without assistance.

How High Do Balloons Fly?

In general, we prefer to fly close to the ground on takeoff when conditions allow. We also fly thousands of feet above ground. The current record for manned balloon flight is 150,000 feet above ground. Passenger Jets normally fly 30,000 feet above ground. We rarely fly over several thousand feet above ground and no two flights are ever identical.

Can You Steer a Balloon?

There is no device with which to steer. However, our highly skilled professional pilots are remarkably adept at using wind direction at different altitudes to frequently "rudder" their aircraft.

What Type of Training Are Balloon Pilots Required To Have?

All of our pilots are required to have a commercial pilot's license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Due to the sophisticated equipment we fly, our pillots are additionally required to have experience flying in desert and mountain terrains. Our pilots are required to maintain a First Class Aeromedical Certificate which is the same  standard that airline pilots are required to maintain. No other ballon tour companies in southern Airzona has this level of certification. We're heart healthy, drug free, and can prove it!  When was the last time your balloon pilot had an EKG?