FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is it safer than flying in an airplane?
Yes. Hot air balloons are federally-registered aircraft, the same as airplanes and helicopters. Pilots are certified by the FAA after successful completion of a series of written and practical exams. Hot air balloons have the safest flight record of all aircraft.
Why can’t we fly during the daytime?
Balloons typically fly at sunrise and 1 ½ to 2 hours before sunset. These are the times when winds are most favorable for flying.
What if I’m afraid of heights? Has anyone ever gotten sick in the balloon?
Most people are afraid of heights. We’ve flown hundreds of people who said they were afraid of heights. After their ride, all of them have said the same thing: it wasn’t what they expected. Flying in a balloon is different from climbing a ladder or flying in an airplane. Our rate of ascent is so slow that if you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that you had left the ground! Also, balloons travel with the wind, so there’s never any turbulence.
Will we land at the same place we launch from?
No. Our chase vehicle follows us and is usually waiting for us at the time of landing. After the balloon is packed up, and we’ve had our celebration, we will drive you back to the launch field.
How do you know where you’re going?
We don’t. A balloon drifts in the same direction and at the same speed as the wind. The skill is for the pilot to pick the altitude that has the most desired wind direction. Surface winds often blow in a different direction than winds aloft.
What should I wear?
Comfortable shoes and clothing made from natural fibers. It’s good to bring along a hat and a jacket or sweater, particularly in the spring and fall.
Where will we land?
Since a balloon travels with the wind, it is not possible to determine an exact landing site prior to launch. However, a balloon pilot is able, through the study of wind currents, to determine the general direction of flight.
Can I bring a camera?
Of course! We recommend taking still photos, or even using a digital camera, rather than a camcorder. Please make sure it has a wrist or neck strap.
Where will we fly from?
We fly from several different locations throughout eastern Onondaga County based on wind direction. On occasion, we will launch from a passenger’s property, if conditions are suitable - approximately 300 square feet of grassy area, with no power lines or trees in the immediate vicinity. We’ll gladly stop by and take a look at the site, to make sure it will meet our needs.