Flying in a hot air balloon can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience.
When you call to make your reservations for your balloon, you may be met with a few interesting questions.
The person booking your flight may ask you for your weight.
The reason they are asking for weight is so they can make sure the hot air balloon is not carrying too much weight to lift.
There are weight limits on hot air balloons, and they need to be followed very closely.
What Is a Hot Air Balloon’s Weight Limit?
A hot air balloon weight limit is usually right around 1000 pounds.
This will vary greatly depending on the size of the hot air balloon you are on.
It can also vary depending on the weather conditions as well.
For the most part, you will not see too many standard-sized hot air balloons taking off holding more than 1000 pounds.
You must remember that the basket and the flying equipment need to be factored into the weight as well.
Most hot air balloon rides only have a few people on them, and this is one of the main reasons behind that.
For larger people, this can present a bit of a problem at times.
Depending on the type of ride you are taking and the rules of your hot air balloon pilot, you may be charged double if you are over 200 pounds.
This is done to help make things profitable for the hot air balloon pilot while still accommodating as many people as they can.
Although this weight limit is unfortunate, the hot air balloon business is a numbers game.
If you don’t fit within the necessary numbers for the flight to be profitable, unfortunately, you will have to pay a bit extra.
Some pilots or companies may give a reduced rate for those who weigh more than 200 pounds, and you won’t have to pay double the price.
If you have any questions you can talk to the company you plan to fly with.
Chances are they are going to ask for your weight when they book the ride.
How Many Crew Fly in a Hot Air Balloon?
If you are looking to go for a romantic hot air balloon ride, you may be wondering how many people are going to be up there with you.
If you book a private tour, it could be just you, your partner, and the pilot.
These will generally cost a bit more money, and they may happen in a smaller balloon, but it will undoubtedly be a great experience.
In addition to the pilot, there are usually no other employees on the hot air balloon.
There will, however, be some grounds crew to help you land and take off.
Usually, at least two people will be on the ground, helping to make sure you have a smooth experience.
Overall, the hot air balloon business does not require a large number of staff, but the staff needs to be very well trained.
Indeed, becoming a hot air balloon pilot is quite a bit of hard work.
Can You Steer a Hot Air Balloon?
Part of the reason weight is so important on a hot air balloon is that pilots have very limited ability to steer a hot air balloon.
Hot air balloons are subject to the wind.
This is why you will see that most flights take off early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
This helps to make sure the winds are at a minimum and the pilot will have plenty of control over the flight.
The thing the pilot has the most control over is the altitude of the flight.
The wind speeds will be different depending on the altitude of the balloon.
This is mostly what helps the hot air balloon pilot direct the hot air balloon around in a loop so that you will get a great view of your surrounding area.
Hot air balloon pilots have to be highly skilled and trained to be able to follow these wind patterns and altitudes.
They can turn the burner down on the hot air balloon to start their descent or pump it up a little bit to go higher.
Most of the time, you will have a general idea as to the area you will travel to before you get on your flight.
Hot air balloon pilots generally pick their course based on other flights, hazards in the area, and other wind patterns and directions.
If there is a specific spot you want to see, make sure you communicate this to the hot air balloon pilot when you book your flight.
Most will try and accommodate to the best of their ability, but not everything is a guarantee.
How Big Is a Hot Air Balloon?
When we said that the hot air balloon limit is about 1000 pounds, clearly, this is for a standard size smaller balloon.
There are large party balloons that will have much higher weight limits.
Hot air balloons seem to be getting bigger and bigger as time goes on.
It may be newer and better technology, or it could merely be the fact that hot air balloons are getting more popular.
A standard size hot air balloon is usually about 55 feet wide and seven stories tall.
This is quite large, and most people say that the first time they go on a ride, they are amazed at the size of the balloon.
When you can watch hot air balloon rides from afar, you may not realize how big they really are.
Some large commercial size balloons can get to be about 300,000 cubic feet.
These balloons are extremely large, and they may require more staff.
A balloon this size could hold up to 30 people.
If you average those people at about 150 pounds each, you are looking at closer to 5000 pounds of weight as opposed to the 1000 we mentioned before.
Many wedding parties are starting to enjoy the idea of a hot air balloon ride for their entire crew.
If you happen to have an adventurous group of friends and family, this could be an excellent option for you to consider for your next special day!
How Long Does a Hot Air Balloon Ride Last?
Most hot air balloon rides last about one or two hours.
There are longer flights available, but most people feel as though they have seen what they need to see in this period.
A hot air balloon ride will usually travel about three to ten miles, and you will not necessarily wind up in the same place you started.
If you remember, we mentioned that not much can be done about steering when you fly in a hot air balloon.
If you fly on a day with difficult wind or weather conditions, you may end up quite a bit away from the launch site.
This is not usually a problem as the hot air balloon pilot is generally prepared for this.
The entire time you are on your flight, your pilot will be able to communicate with the grounds crew down below.
He or she will keep this communication open the entire time you are in flight, and they will make sure they are there to assist when you get closer to the ground.
You will then be transported back to your launch area, and the crew will work on getting the balloon back to the launch area.
Hot air balloon rides are expensive, but as you can see, there are many steps involved.
Both before and after your ride, the crew will have lots of additional steps to take, and because of that, the price of your ride will go up a bit.
If you are very concerned about the weight limits on the hot air balloon, just be sure to call the hot air balloon place before you take off.
Let them know your concerns, and they may tell you that there are no issues as a particular flight is not full.
If you are trying to book a ride in a busy area at a popular time of year, you may end up having to pay a little extra money.
The pilot and the hot air balloon owner are generally willing to work with you in hopes of gaining a repeat customer.