HOW ARE BALLOONS INFLATED?

 

The Gondola is placed on its side and the envelope suspension ropes are attached.  A gasoline powered fan pushes cold air into the envelope until it is fully packed.  The propane burner is used to heat the air until the balloon rises to an upright position.  With a small amount of additional heat, the balloon becomes buoyant.  The inflation takes about 15 minutes.

 

HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO FLY A BALLOON?        

 

The sport of ballooning is a wonderful group or family activity.  To safely launch and fly a balloon requires a minimum crew of two people.  Duties of the crew typically include launch preparation, following the balloon flight in the chase vehicle, obtaining permission of the landowner for the balloon landing and retrieval, keeping spectators out of the landing area, and insuring that gates are left as they are found and that property is not damaged. Passengers typically participate in the inflation and deflation process.

 

HOW MUCH DO BALLOON SYSTEMS WEIGH?      

 

A typical balloon system - envelope, gondola, fuel tanks, and 40 gallons of fuel - will weigh about 600 pounds, deflated on the ground.  In the air, the complete system, including the weight of the air inside the envelope, will weigh about 4 tons.

 

WHERE DO BALLOONS LAND?

 

Since a balloon travels with the wind, it is not possible to determine an exact landing site prior to launch. However, a pilot is able, through the study of wind currents, to determine the general direction of the flight.

 

CAN ANYONE PILOT A BALLOON?

 

Balloon pilots must have an aircraft pilot's license specifically for balloons.  This license is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is earned after taking hours of instruction with a commercial balloon pilot instructor, passing an FAA written test, making a solo flight, and passing a flight test with an FAA examiner.  Currently there are about 4,000 balloon pilots in the United States. 

 

HOW FAST DO BALLOONS GO?

 

As fast as the wind blows.  But if the wind is over 7 knots at ground level, balloons are not normally going to be inflated because of the increased possibility of burning the fabric and because of potential rough landings that would require a very large open field.