The first hot air balloon experience – How to prepare!

If you´ve never been in a hot air balloon before, you likely have several questions and thoughts about the experience. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some answers.

Know that a hot air balloon is one of the safest means of travel in the air

It is natural to be a bit worried about stepping in a small cage and gaining hundreds – or thousands – of meters in altitude. While it might seem nerve-wracking, it is one of the safest ways to travel the skies.

The number of fatal accidents is low, and the share of accidents that leads to serious injuries is low as well.

Two factors making hot air balloons safe:

  • Trained pilots. In virtually all countries, pilots are required to have a license. To obtain a license, they must go through rigorous training.
  • Weather. A hot air balloon pilot will only fly when the weather conditions are good, unlike airplanes or helicopters. Take-off is done very early in the morning or before sunset when the wind is at its lowest point.

The best time to fly

Most rides will take place during summer and/or spring. While it is safe (and potentially a very exciting experience) to fly in wintertime, it can get very cold in the cage. It is cold by take-off, and it will get progressively colder as you gain altitude.

With that said, a lot of people recommend flying in wintertime. The light and the view of nature are something else. Landing and take-off can be easier since it is possible to use farmland that is not used by the owner during the cold months.

The information above is from the Swedish website Flygaluftballong.se. The experience can vary between different countries and areas.

General tips

  • Wear sensible clothes. The site of the landing might be a little dirty. Do not wear high heels or expensive clothes you aren´t prepared to navigate a bit of “tough” terrain in.
  • Wear a hat. The heat can get intense from time to time if you are standing close to the fire. Something to protect your head will make the journey more pleasurable. If you are flying in winter, autumn, or early spring though, you will need a hat to keep you warm.
  • Bring a camera. Bring a camera – preferably a smaller one. You will probably not have very much space to maneuver, since the cage will be filled with people. To capture all the details on the ground, you might need a camera with high resolution.

FAQ

Can you sit down in the cage?

Generally, no. You will have to stand for the entire ride. They usually last about an hour or so.

Why don´t pilots fly in the middle of the day?

Pilots generally take off a little after sunrise or a little before sunset. This is because the wind is at its lowest point, making the ride safer.

How big is a hot air balloon?

It varies. Typically, they are between 18 and 25 meters tall, and about 17 – 18 meters across.

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