The Hot Air Balloon Experience: Tips for First-Timers


Are you ready for your first hot air balloon experience?

Below are tips for first-timers and a brief explanation of the entire hot air ballooning experience to help you prepare:

What to Wear

  • Boots or sneakers with high socks
    We never know where we’ll land (find out why) so it’s important to protect your feet from grass burrs, because it’s very likely we’ll land in a field.
  • Pants that you can move in
    To get in and out of the gondola (balloon basket), you have to climb in and out, so it’s important to have clothing that allows you to bend easily.
  • Ball cap or hat
    The burner (what’s this?), as well as the sun, can put out heat. Having a hat of some sort can help protect your head from the sun and hold back any loose hairs so you can fully see the exquisite views!
  • Layered clothing depending on the weather
    In the winter, layer clothing and jackets for cold weather because it can be even colder at higher altitudes. In the summer, tank tops or t-shirts are fine but be sure to wear sunscreen!

What to Bring

All you need is yourself, however, some items come in handy during a balloon flight. Water will be provided before and after the flight.

  • Sunglasses
  • Small cameras are welcome (please discuss ahead of time if using large/professional equipment)
  • An adventurous spirit
  • An empty bladder

What to Expect

The Inflation and Launch Process

  • Once you meet your pilot and crew, you will caravan to the launch site. Rohr Balloons has many standard launch sites we choose from depending on the wind direction. It is important to be on time to meeting site so that launch isn’t delayed and the full flight time can be experienced.
  • Be sure to use the restroom prior to leaving for launch site. There are no restrooms once you start your journey!
  • If you booked a private flight, it will just be the two of you and the pilot and crew. If you booked a shared flight, you will share the ride with other passengers. Many friendships have been made this way!
  • At the launch site, the pilot will assess the weather and begin the launch process:
    • The basket and balloon envelope will be laid out so the wind aids in the inflation process. The pilot will connect and check all components to ensure a safe balloon.
    • Once the balloon is ready to inflate, a high-powered inflation fan will force air into the balloon envelope. This requires two people to help hold the envelope open and makes for a great photo opportunity for passengers. Anyone holding the envelope must mind the cables and not wrap any ropes or cables around body parts. Always listen to the pilot and crew to ensure safety.
Inflation and Launch Process
  • Once the balloon envelope is full of air, the pilot will light the burner and bring the balloon upright by blowing fire into the envelope from propane tanks.
  • Now it’s time to climb into the balloon gondola (what’s this?) and wait for takeoff! Another great time for photos!
balloon launch

The Flight

  • Most passengers don’t realize how peaceful and majestic a hot air balloon flight can be. Since you travel with the wind, gliding through the air at low and high altitudes, the only time you feel the breeze is when you change altitude and the wind speed changes.
  • At times, you may skim the trees (grab a souvenir leaf!), soar to several thousand feet (where you can see the Earth’s curvature), and even dip the gondola in a lake or pond (this is called a “splash and dash”). All of these are common occurrences and part of the full ballooning experience.
peaceful flight in a hot air balloon

Enjoy this video of a hot air balloon flight:

The Landing

  • The landing is the most exciting part of the hot air balloon experience. The pilot will spot out a landing site based on time-of-day, and geographical knowledge attained from flying in the area.
  • Landings vary depending on the wind speed and terrain.
    • In calm winds, there may be a “stand up landing”, meaning that the balloon will calmly rest on the ground with little to no impact.
    • In moderate winds, the pilot may instruct passengers to crouch down, turn sideways from the approaching ground and bend their knees slightly to soften impact. The balloon may drag and turn sideways with moderate to high winds. The gondola may be used to lean against to ensure no injuries occur.
hot air balloon landing
  • Once the balloon has come to a complete stop;
    • if it’s still upright, the pilot will instruct passengers to wait in the basket for some of the hot air to be released. That way the balloon doesn’t take off again when passengers dismount.
    • if it’s on it’s side, the envelope will be quickly deflated and passengers will be able to climb out of the basket.
hot air balloon deflating

The Post-Flight Celebration

  • Champagne, mimosas, water and hors d’euvres will be setup on a portable table.
  • If you scheduled an engagement or wedding, appropriate additions will be added if requested.
  • The pilot will recite the “balloonist’s prayer” and will lead a champagne toast to celebrate the flight’s completion.
post-flight hot air balloon celebration
  • The balloon envelope and basket will be dismantled and packed up either before or after the celebration, depending on the landing area and certain situations. Passengers are welcome to help with packing up the balloon, but are not required to.
  • Once the balloon gear is packed back on the vehicle, the crew or pilot will return passengers to their vehicles.

Just remember, each experience is unique and we go where the wind takes us! Your Rohr Balloons pilot and crew are top-notch and will take great care of you. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions about your first hot air balloon experience, or search through our website for more information!

Rohr Balloons wishes you soft landings!


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