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Hot Air Balloon Tethered Ride Information

What is a Hot Air Balloon Tether?

Balloon Glow 1

Hot Air Balloon Tethered Balloon Rides allow us to transport one of our Hot Air Balloons to your location, inflate and operate the Cincinnati based hot air balloon onsite using a series of high tensile strength ropes securing the hot air balloon in place during the time the balloon operates.   A Balloon Tether remains classified as a hot air balloon in flight and all local and FAA regulations apply and adhered to by a professionally certificated hot air balloon pilot.  A visit to your location by one of our pilots suggested if unsure of area requirements.


What are the space requirements for the Balloon?

Hot air balloons are much bigger than people realize.  Balloons come in different sizes from a one man balloon to as large as an 12 passenger hot air balloons serving Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio.  For hot air balloon tether operations, we operate several different models, starting from the small 2-3 passenger-per-hop hot air balloon, which holds 69,000 cu. ft. of volume.  The next two hot air balloon models feature the medium or medium+, capable of carrying 4-5 guests per hop and range from 105,000 to 120,000 cu. ft. of heated sail-boat fuel.  Our large model, 160,000 cu. ft. hot air balloon, capable of 6-8 guests per hop tethers in the calmest of wind conditions.  We recommend the medium hot air balloon for the best economic impact and versatility for operations for Southern Ohio Balloon Rides.

For hot air balloon tethers, we recommend an area about the size of half a football field or 300 feet by 300 feet.  The area must be clear of any obstacles of any kind. Hazards & powerlines should be at least 500' away from the center of the tether area. Support vehicles must be able to drive the property. 

What are the best times of day?

Since Ohio Hot Air Balloons are so large, any wind makes handling the passenger balloon almost impossible and potentially dangerous.  See WIND LIMITS below.  The highest success rate for tethered hot air balloon rides occur two times a day, when the wind will most likely be at or below balloon limits:  sunrise and sunset!  Sunrise through the first two hours of the day provide the first opportunity, while the two hour preceding sunset through sunset generally allow an second opportunity for tethered balloon rides near Cincinnati.  As an added feature, promotional events outside standard Dayton ballooning times limited to static display only, no rides mid-day.

How many people can ride?

The number of passengers depends on many factors.  Wind dictates most of the variables related to number of guests and tethered balloon height.  Wind, Size of the Hot Air Balloon, Height of the ride, Size of the Area, Length of Ride and size of the passengers all factor into balloon tether feasibility.  On the average we fly the hot air balloon ride up to the top of the ropes and back down, averaging 5 minute duration/intervals.  Ideally we process  12-15 trips in one hour.  Ohio tethered balloon ride capacities found here.

What are the costs of a Tethered Balloon operation?

Tethered hot air balloon operations billed one of two methods.  One way to cover the costs of hot air balloon tethers occurs with our flat-rate pricing, where one price covers the entire operation.  Flat-Rate hot air balloon tether pricing works well for corporate outings, promotional events, team building exercises, sponsored events and pretty much any outdoor event providing balloon rides at no or low costs to guests.  

The per-person balloon tethered rides fits well for events wishing to cover the fixed setup costs and allow each of the events guests to pay a small nominal fee to ride in a hot air balloon.  Optionally, the per-person tethered hot air balloon rides fees adjust based on the event and customers' input.  A 50% deposit required for setup and guarantee of appearance and includes our Dayton/Cincinnati tethered balloon ride back-up plan!  The tethered ballon flight operations are weather permitting.

All tethered balloon events quoted with a minimum two hour contract.  the two hour represents actual tether time, the additional time required for setup and pack up purposes remain non-billable, it's part of doing the job correctly, in exchange we require the minimum of two tether-able hours to defray the setup and pack up costs.  Tether operations of more than two hours reduces the hourly rate.

Why does it cost so much?

Southern Ohio hot air balloons designed to FLY!  Hot Air Balloons used for balloon rides not designed to be held in place.  Restraining a hot air balloon in its place generates many great (kinetic) forces on the structure of the aircraft that greatly stress the balloon, subsequently shortening it's usable life.  One hour of tether time on a hot air balloon is generally equivalent to 2.5 to 3 hours of normal wear on the aircraft as if it were in normal flight operations.  That same aircraft used in normal flight operations generates around double to triple in passenger revenue.  Since tethered balloon operations emit 2.5 to 3 times wear and tear on the balloons we should be charging about $1850 to $2220 per hour for a tether.  The only reason we can charge less is because of the deposit.  We both take a chance on weather.  If every contracted tether operation proceeded as planed we would have to charge more for the operation.  But since the weather does not always cooperate we can offset some of the price with the non-refundable deposit.  

What if the weather is bad?

We represent you/your event and still be on site!  We will NOT take chances with peoples lives in the event of inclement weather.  In fact, not one injury occurred with us for over 35 years of safe balloon flight operations.   We hate to disappoint someone but we refuse to hurt anyone.  Our balloon pilots and support crews are true professionals.  If the day comes and weather precludes a safe flight operation our teams arrive onsite with all the equipment for the contracted time of the tether with our Ohio balloon tether back up plan.  What's a back-up plan?  On display comes our exclusive wind-proof backdrop along with the balloon equipment, answer questions, let people get into the balloon basket and take photos and generate good will for your event as well as take the time to inform and educate the public about hot air balloons.  The disappointment fades soon when you receive feedback response from your guests about the informative and professionalism onsite!  Understand this,  We can not guarantee the weather and will not take chances with the safety of your guests or our equipment!

Wind Limits

Winds are the most crucial part of a tethered balloon operation. The best way we have found over the years to explain how a balloon will react in wind is this.... Take a kite out on a day when the wind is blowing about 10 to 12 MPH.  You can very easily fly the kite. In fact the kite will produce enough pulling force to lift the weight of the kite and string and still produce an extra 3 to 4 pounds of pulling force on your arm.  A kite is one square yard of fabric.  A Hot Air Balloon is more than 1400 square yards of fabric and can cave in when blown upon creating a concave depression in the side of the balloon catching even more of the wind creating a sail effect.  The balloon in the same winds can create around 4 to 6 THOUSAND pounds of pulling force.  Enough force to drag a couple of pickup trucks like a two year old child pulling a Tonka truck.  If the wind becomes gusty at any time these forces can be greatly increased creating a  serious and potentially life threatening situation.  On all of our tethered operations the Pilot In Command has the final and undisputed authority. 

The Pilots decision is FINAL!

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