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What are the best conditions for a hot air balloon ride?

03/03/2021 philip Features

Many years ago, summertime had a reputation for supplying the best weather for a hot air balloon ride here in the UK, but the same notion doesn’t hold true today. Leading balloon operators fly whenever they can safely do so, and instead of the annual seasons, it’s specific weather conditions that shape an airship’s ability to ascend, something that, as all UK residents know, doesn’t always manifest as expected and can be tricky to predict.

While a sunny morning in winter might see you rise into the sky, a summer rainstorm may easily ground your balloon ride. While unexpected weather can sometimes mean your flight must be cancelled to ensure your safety, the good news is that all balloon rides can be rescheduled for a new launch date that’s convenient for you and your party.

Staying out of the rain

Rainy days and hot air ballooning are not a perfect partnership. Raindrops cool the hot air balloon’s envelope as they fall onto it, forcing operators to use their burners more to retain height. The rain also makes balloons harder to control, and it will drip down into the basket, making life uncomfortable for passengers. Add to this poor visibility and it’s not hard to see why wet weather is unfit for hot air travel.

Fair winds for lighter-than-air aircraft

Hot air balloons will typically take off at dawn or before dusk, as winds are light and manageable at these hours. During the day, winds are stronger, making balloons harder to steer and making for far more unpredictable flight paths. While skilled operators can guide balloons by ascending and descending to access different wind directions, hot air balloons sail with the breeze. For a trip to be safe, winds must be blowing at 10 miles or less.

Visibility to enjoy the view

Too much moisture in the air can sometimes make the skies hazy, decreasing how far passengers can see, so to offer the best experiences, operators arrange flights in line with favourable forecasts. While the spring and autumn may present slightly less visibility, rising out of the mist on a morning flight can provide a magical and unforgettable moment for those onboard. Travelling with the wind, your balloon ride may also take you swiftly past foggy patches and into areas of clearer visibility, where the landscape below will stand out sharper than ever, with outstanding sights to behold.

To sum up, the optimal weather conditions for a favourable hot air balloon experience include no rain, light winds and good visibility. However, potential passengers of hot air balloon flights can rest assured that they won’t have to squeeze their trip into just the summer months this year. Whether you’re looking to start your spring with a thrilling airborne excursion in March or April, or you wish to take to the skies when the autumn leaves begin to fall, there will be plenty of opportunities to experience England from above on a hot air balloon flight in 2021.

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