F A Q’s
Q: Can I go for a flight in any season? A: We generally late March through late October. Each season having its unique qualities and can all be quite scenic. Please call for off season flight availability.
Q: It's a beautiful day...why did the pilot call and
say it's not flyable? A: Hot Air balloons are dependent on the wind speed
for flight. Generally pilots do not like to launch in ground winds or gusts
greater than 7 MPH some pilots even have a lower speed they feel comfortable
with. Forecasted ground speeds at expected time of landing also play in a
pilots decision to fly or not on a particular day. Upper winds speeds also
have to be considered and at what level the higher wind speeds begin. For
example: if the 100 ft winds are greater than 12 mph and the balloon stands at
70 ft high, that doesn't leave much room to before more dangerous winds could
Q: Can if be too hot to fly?
A: Yes, definitely as the air inside the envelope has to be warmer than the outside air for flight. Trying to fly in too high of temps or humidity causes risk to, people and equipment.
Q: Is it safe? A: Hot air ballooning is the safest form of aviation. The pilot is an FAA licensed Commercial pilot and well as the aircraft being, FAA registered and annually inspected by a certified inspection station. The inspector does a series of test to make sure that it is kept to strict standards of airworthiness.
Q: How many people can go for a ride? A: Our largest system is rated for 7 passengers plus pilot but a lot depends on the outside air temperature. The air in the top of the balloon has to heated to a temperature hot enough to make the balloon rise, so in warmer we may only carry 4 passengers, as less weight can be carried in the basket.
Q: Why can the pilot not tell me where we are launching from when I call for a reservation? A: Different layers of air have different speeds and directions. The pilot will determine the expected launch site based on the forecasted direction of the wind within a few hours of the flight time. It is generally not a good idea to float over the main areas of Omaha or Council Bluffs as landing spots are limited and being in the flight path of the Eppley or Offutt's air traffic is not something that we would like to do on a regular basis. If you would like to fly over a certain area please discuss this when you make your reservation. We use several spots around the area to launch, all make for nice scenic flights.
Q: What is the balloon made of ? A: The envelope itself is made of rip-stop nylon or a coated polyester similar to parachute material. The basket is made of wicker, with wood flooring, metal tubing underneath to which the “uprights” connect to the burner and a number of cables running the height of the envelope. The envelope has a parachute top which is used for altitude control, inflation and deflation. The double burners onboard are fueled by propane and are capable of putting out 25 million BTU’s of heat an hour, each.. The pilot also has onboard an altimeter, variometer, pyrometer as well as a GPS and 2 way radio.
Q: What happens if a bird flies into the balloon? A: Balloons are large enough that most birds avoid them. The envelope fabric is tight and tough enough that a bird would most likely just bounce right off. The balloon manufacturer has performed many tests for its durability. It is possible to fly a balloon with a medium hole in the fabric as long as it's below the center point or equator of the balloon.
Q: "I don't like heights" so how could I experience flight? A: Most people's dislike for heights is more of a fear of falling or "the sudden stop at bottom", in a balloon the feeling is very different from climbing a ladder as you are standing on a solid surface of the gondola floor with it's sides waist high. So while you drift with the wind you can look around you and don't really have the shaking or rocking feeling of a ladder or a Ferris-wheel.
Q: Do passengers ever get motion sickness? A: As the balloon is moving with the speed of the wind there is very little feeling of motion in the balloon. There is no sensation of movement or speed like a roller coaster as the only "motor" is the onboard heater controlled by the pilot to change in altitude. So motion sickness has not been an issue.
Q: My Children just love balloons, can they go?
A: Yes, if they are at least 7 years of age and are more than 48" tall. We also asked that they be of a social age that they realize they will be standing in the basket for 45 minutes or longer and the pilot cannot just land when they are bored. Please note that aviation industry and insurance company considers them the same as any other person, so we do not offer discounts for children.
Q: May I bring my camera or a water bottle on board with me?
A: Yes, please do bring your camera. Please have all beverages in spill resistant containers.
Q: What happens after we land?
A: Pilot will make sure fuel is turned off and advise as to how you should exit the basket. The crew will deflate the envelope, pack it away. Then we will have a short ceremony for our passengers and then get everyone transported back to the launch area.
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