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How high do you fly? As high as you like . . . but usually not over 5,000 feet. Atypical hot air balloon flight would be just above tree top level in the country and over 2,000 feet or so in populated areas.

Where do you normally take off? Hot air balloons normally take off from almost any place that is fairly level and free of obstructions such as power lines, tall buildings, trees, etc. Preferably lawn grass for launch.

How much do hot air balloons cost? An AX7 (the most popular model that will carry 3 people) costs from $20,000 up. Supporting equipment (fan, extra tanks, tools, repair kit, trailer or truck) adds between $30,000 and $40,000 more.

How much air does a balloon hold? Some one man hot air balloons hold 30,000 cubic feet. The largest holds over 800,000 cubic feet. The most popular size holds about 70,000 cubic feet. Morning Glory of Sunset Adventures is 90,000 cubic feet.

What is an envelope made from? Rip-stop nylon or polyester.

What fuel do hot air balloons use? Propane

Do hot air balloons wear out? If well taken care of, a hot air balloon envelope should last 500 or more flying hours.

How do you inflate a hot air balloon? Usually a fan is used to blow cold air into the balloon. In the absence of a fan, cold air can be "flapped" into the envelope.

How do you get back to your starting point? Since hot air balloons can't be steered, it is seldom possible to fly back, so a chase crew follows along with a trailer or pick-up. After the hot air balloon ride in the finger lakes of Central New York you are transported back to the meeting site by Bass Pro Shops, Finger Lakes Mall, Auburn NY.

How fast can you fly? As fast as the wind is blowing!

Where do you fly? Anywhere that the hot air balloon can be launched from and where there are occasional open spaces to land. There are restrictions about flying over populated areas and airports. Power lines are not ideal places to fly near.

When do you fly? Usually sometime just before dusk. At these times the air is usually most stable and there is less wind to contend with.

Can you fly over water? Yes. Aeronauts often cross rivers and small lakes but they try to avoid situations where they might have to deflate in water. The most rewarding part of flying a hot air balloon in the finger lakes region is the higher we go, the more finger lakes and possibly a Great Lake we see!!

Can you land in water? Yes. The fuel tanks are buoyant and will keep the hot air balloon afloat. And as long as the balloon is kept inflated you can also take off again.

How long does it take to inflate a hot air balloon? A very short time ...seldom longer than 15 minutes.

Do you need a license to fly a balloon? Yes. A hot air balloon certificate is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. You must pass an FAA written exam, obtain a prescribed number of hours of instruction, make a solo flight and a flight to altitude and pass a flight test.

What is the basket made of? Woven rattan ...with plywood floors. Some older balloons have gondolas made of aluminum and fiberglass.

What instruments do hot air balloons use? An altimeter to indicate altitude, a variometer to show whether it is going up or down, a compass to show direction and a temperature gauge to tell how hot the air is at the top of the balloon. Each propane tank also has a fuel gauge.

Why do balloonists carry champagne with them? When hot air ballooning began to become popular in France ...in the late 1700's...hot air balloons often landed on farms. The farmers had never seen balloons and often attacked them with pitchforks. Balloonists found it to their advantage to carry champagne to pacify the landowners. Balloonists still follow this custom.

What happens if a bird flies into a hot air balloon? It would likely bounce off! The envelope fabric is much tougher than it might appear. It is possible to fly a balloon with a hole large enough for a man to go through as long as the hole is not at the top of the envelope.

Is it quiet in a hot air balloon? When the burner is turned on it is often noisy. When the burner is off it is very quiet. When aloft there is not even any wind noise since you are moving with the wind. Flying a hot air balloon in the finger lakes region is highly rewarding!

Can you fly in heavy winds? It is difficult to inflate if the wind is over 8 knots. Once the hot air balloon is inflated it is possible to fly in winds considerably higher than this although this would present a problem when landing. High wind landings require extra caution.


 

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