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Questions about hot air ballooning

04/09/2015 Jo Bailey Hot Air Balloon Rides

If you are new to ballooning then you are likely to have many questions, such as:

How do you steer a balloon?

Steering a balloon is limited. Basically, you go where the wind goes. Prior to a balloon flight, the pilot determines the direction and speed of the wind so will know roughly where the balloon is going.

During the flight the pilot can move the balloon up and down to find different wind directions and this will result in a change of course.

Find out more about how to steer a balloon

What if I need to go to the bathroom?

There are no bathroom facilities available on balloons! As flights can last over an hour, you need to make sure that you take a bathroom break before take-off.

How does weather affect the flight?

If the wind is too strong then the flight may be cancelled. If there is no wind at all then this can be problematic as the balloon will rise and just stay there.

If the weather is too hot then this may be uncomfortable for passengers, but this is rare in England.

Cold weather is not a problem, provided passengers wear warm clothes.

If a balloon flight is cancelled because of the weather then this is solely for safety reasons.

Is motion sickness an issue?

A balloon ride is very stable with little feeling of motion. Even if you suffer from car sickness, ballooning should not cause any symptoms.

What if I am afraid of heights?

The nature of ballooning is slow and gentle. While you may suffer from vertigo or acrophobia (fear of heights), it is rare for passengers to show symptoms.

How safe is it?

Ballooning is the safest form of flying.

How do balloons work?

Balloons have a propane burner that is used to fill the inside of the balloon’s ‘envelope’ with hot air and this causes the balloon to rise. When the air is allowed to escape from the top of the balloon, it descends.

The pilot wears an altimeter so he knows how high the balloon is at all times, and can also calculate the rate of climb.

How much does a balloon weigh?

A typical balloon with envelope, gondola and fuel weighs about a quarter of a ton when deflated on the ground. In the air with passengers the balloon can weigh around two and a half tons.

Ballooning is a great experience for both new and seasoned passengers. Rather than ask questions, book a flight and simply enjoy the experience.

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