Before we fly our majestic, floating giants, we always check on the weather. And we mean ALWAYS. The weather is THE most important factor when it comes to flying a hot air balloon because the safety of our riders and pilots come first!
There are many different factors of the weather that we have to make sure we check; not JUST whether it's going to rain or see how hot or cold it's going to be, like most people. Nope! We have to look at wind speeds, how the visibility is going to be and much more!
Here are a few weather related reason why we would have to stay put on the ground:
| WIND |
Gusty, breezy, windy, blustery, small craft warning & high wind warning are some words that us ballooning people do not like to hear often! Wind can and WILL literally effect every part of the hot air ballooning process.
For instance, during the inflation of the balloon, even the smallest wind can make it hard to fill the balloon, because the fabric is like a giant sail. Depending on the speed of the wind, the balloon could start to roll around pretty violently and maybe even fly away or drag the van along with it!
Just imagine it like this: the balloon is the dog and the our van or the basket...well, that's the ferret...or whatever the heck that thing is! >>>
During the flight itself, strong winds can take the balloon farther than the pilot has to fly! Winds up in the sky (winds aloft) are usually stronger than the winds we feel down here on the ground.
Wind also effects our landing. A balloon's speed across the ground will be the speed of the wind it is flying in, so we obviously don't want to be coming in hot when we're trying to make a smooth landing! In a high wind landing, our pilots could be trying to stop 3-10 tons (depending on the size of the balloon) all moving at the speed of the wind...without brakes, making for a pretty bumpy stop.
Keep in mind, this is only one factor of the weather we have to monitor, and as you can see, it is VERY important!
| POOR VISIBILITY |
Foggy, hazy & misty are words we don't like to hear when it comes to the visibility up there in the sky. We actually have to have a certain amount of visibility in order to fly our hot air balloons legally! If we are unable to see 1-3 miles out ahead, then we are unable to fly! This also depends on the area we're flying in...but we like to follow that rule anyway, just to be safe!
| RAIN & STORMS |
I think you guys probably know the words we don't want to hear when checking for rain or storms......seems pretty simple, right? Nope, we don't fly while its raining or in storms AND we also don't fly even if there's a chance!
This is where some people get frustrated: If you're flight is cancelled/rescheduled, but no rain or storm actually came through our area.
Well let us ask you this, would you like to be stranded in a giant floating basket while a storm comes rolling in or it starts to sprinkle? Would you want to take that chance? I mean come on, that's your LIFE we're talking about here. We're not in some movie, like this dude....
It's also mother nature we're talking about here. We have absolutely NO control over what she decides or when she decides she wants the rain or storm to make it's way through the area we're trying to fly in.
So PLEASE understand that if your flight is ever cancelled, it is for YOUR safety.
| TEMPERATURE |
Who knows how a hot air balloon gets off the ground?! Anyone?
Ok, ok, we'll tell you...
To put it simply, hot air balloons fly by changing the temperature inside the balloon with heat, so it stands to reason that the outside temperature will probably have a little something to do with that and will effect the flight in some way. A balloon will fly when it's temperature is 140 degrees above the outside temperature (generally!). So if it's super hot out, it's going to take a little more work to heat up the inside of the balloon!
There's even such thing of it being TOO hot out. This isn't necessarily a safety thing, but more of a comfort issue! We don't know about you, but if we're sweating like this...
we probably don't want to put a bunch of people in a basket with a huge, 250 degree propane fire going on in the inside!!!!
So there's the debby-downer part of ballooning! ON TO THE BETTER PART!
Weather that is AWESOME for hot air balloon rides!!
| AT DUSK & DAWN |
This is usually when mother nature likes to be generous with her gusts of strong winds. Therefore, making the soft winds of the morning and evening two of the best times to have an enjoyable and safe balloon flight.
It can be a little challenging to do morning flights in the spring & fall because of visibility factors conditions are generally cooler & there is more moisture in the air because of recent rain.
Our favorite time to fly is at dusk or dawn during the summer time. We can even fly in the winter, too as long as it's not unbearably cold!
If we could describe a perfect hot air ballooning day, it would probably look like this:
Thanks so much for reading through our hot air balloon blog today & we hope we helped out your ballooning knowledge out just a tad bit more!
We want all of our flyers to feel as safe as possible when they ride with us! That is why we ALWAYS keep an eye out on the weather and make sure it is the best weather for flying possible!
Interested in booking a flight?! Click here for online bookings or give us a call at 513.932.9007 to reserve your spot!