Busting Hot Air Balloon Myths: Your Top Questions Answered!

For us at Fly Away Ballooning, this lighter than air experience is something that comes naturally to us, however we understand that for a lot of our passengers this is their first (and possibly only time) they will be enjoying a hot air balloon flight! 

So it’s no wonder you may have a few questions, so have a read and get ready for your bucket list adventure!

Hot air balloon history;

What is the longest trip in a hot air balloon?

The longest duration flight was made in 1999 by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones who flew in the Breitling Orbiter 3. It was the first nonstop trip around the world beginning in Switzerland and landing in the Egyptian desert. The two men exceeded distance, endurance, and time records, traveling 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes.

The furthest flight was completed in 1991 by the Virgin Pacific Flyer balloon, featuring the largest envelope ever built! The journey started in Japan and finished in Northern Canada covering a distance of 7,671.91 km. The aircraft was flown by pilot Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson.

Is hot air ballooning popular?

A hot air balloon ride is a feature on most people's bucket lists. It is popular all around the world, and is universally fascinating. Images spring to mind of Cappadocia, a hot air ballooning hot spot in Turkey thanks to it's wonderful climate of dry summers and low winds. Another popular area is the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Take a balloon safari flight and see amazing wildlife. Not forgetting the humble english countryside, vast greeness, rolling hills and historic features. After flying all over the world we still think South West England is the most beautiful place to fly. So come join us and book today.

Questions from our passengers;

How many people are in a hot air balloon basket?

The largest certified hot-air balloon basket ever produced is able to carry a whopping 32 people! But each balloon ride company is different, it all depends on the size of the balloon's envelope and basket, generally the bigger the size the more people they are able to carry. At Fly Away Ballooning we have two different size balloons that allow us to carry from 2-8 people (plus the pilot of course).

Who should not ride in a hot air balloon?

Hot air ballooning is available to most people. However if you are pregnant, have certain medical conditions or below the age of 7 we are unable to fly you for safety reasons. Otherwise anyone is able to fly with Fly Away Ballooning, the hardest part of your flight will be getting into the basket, a simple enough task for most. However if you have mobility constraints or any other questions we always do our best to accommodate and be inclusive, so get in touch if you have a query.

Do they weigh you before a hot air balloon ride?

If you fly with us we will ask for your weights when you book. It is important that the weights are accurate so we can work out the lift of the balloon with that day's temperatures ready for your flight. Generally we can fly people up to 115 kg. You can contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

What do you wear on a hot air balloon ride?

We advise to wear warm comfortable layers as our flights are early in the morning and in the evening. Shorts or trousers are a better pick over skirts or dresses, this makes it easier getting in and out of the basket. The fans we use to inflate the balloon are powerful and we don’t want you having a marilyn monroe moment. Another question we get asked is if you can wear heels in the hot air balloon, which we would advise against! You will enjoy the experience more and participate easier when wearing closed shoes, think trainers or boots, not flip flops or heels.

Is there a toilet on a hot air balloon?

We’re afraid not, and that's probably a good thing! So make sure you go before your flight! 

Do people get sick on hot air balloon rides?

Very occasionally, but not from the hot air balloons motion, the lighter than air experience shouldnt make anyone sick. The one time we had a passenger sick was because they were suffering from food poisoning, very unlucky!

Can a hot air balloon fly in the rain?

It’s not the nicest weather for our passengers to enjoy their hot air balloon ride, so we don’t fly when it rains. Rain soaks into the envelopes fabric which can be hard to dry out. The perfect weather for hot air balloons is dry, with calm winds up to 8 kts.

Why can't you get married in a hot air balloon?

UK legislation doesn't allow for the exchange of vows, yet! However, you can certainly hire a hot air balloon for your special day or make a proposal in one with Fly Away Ballooning. Check out our for hire page on our website.

Hot air balloon safety questions;

Do hot air balloons get turbulence?

Hot air balloons can get turbulence from wind shear. Wind shear is a change in wind direction or speed at height. Light wind shear you won’t even notice on your flight and anything more severe is unlikely for passengers to experience as the pilot wouldn’t fly in such conditions. The pilot will check wind direction and speed from multiple weather reports before flying. Our pilots are qualified under the Civil Aviation Authority and certified to fly commercially, the pilots and our kit undergo yearly inspections to ensure quality. So if the hot air balloon does come into contact with wind shear, our pilots are trained for this unlikely event.

How common are hot air balloon accidents?

Hot air balloon crashes and injuries are incredibly rare, hot air balloon pilots are highly trained under the CAA and skilled to deal with emergencies if they occur. Bad weather can be the cause of accidents, however pilots meticulously check weather reports before making the decision to fly.

Is it easy to fall out of a hot air balloon?

With the basket height being well over waist, this is extremely unlikely. Our pilot wears a restraint belt throughout the flight so there is no chance he will be falling out of the basket. You would have to climb out of the basket, which only adrenaline junkies with a parachute strapped to their back would attempt.

Can a bird pop a hot air balloon?

A bird can't pop a hot air balloon, they could potentially damage a very small part of the balloon, however the balloon would still be able to stay afloat and safely fly to landing.

Which is safer: a hot air balloon or skydiving?

Skydiving appears to be slightly riskier, but they are both very safe activities. Much like any other outdoor activity there is a chance of risk, which only makes it more exciting. If it was boring, why would anyone do it?

Do people wear parachutes in hot air balloons?

Our passengers don't wear parachutes as there is no need! Hot air ballooning is perfectly safe and we don't expect you to get yourself back to the ground! We will safely land after you have enjoyed your lighter than air experience, ready to enjoy your post flight tipple.

Can you jump out of a hot air balloon with a parachute?

Yes you can! An activity on most skydivers' bucket list as they get not only the thrill of skydiving but the lovely journey up to 5000-7000 ft in the balloon, bonus! Hot air balloons can’t go as high as some other aircrafts, but you can enjoy the open air ready for your jump. Here at Fly Away Ballooning we are always keen to do a parachute jump from one of our hot air balloons, so if there is anyone out there keen for adventure, get in touch!

We hope we have mythbusted some of your questions, whether you are preparing for one of our flights or thinking about booking, our hot air balloon rides are like no other experience out there and that is what makes it so special. 

To read our comprehensive question bank click here.

So book today and we will see you in the skies!

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