Hot Air Ballooning - A Beginners Guide

Hot Air Ballooning - A Beginners Guide

The original way to fly from the first known flights of the Montgolfier brothers to more recent pioneers like Sir Richard Branson's record breaking flights Hot air Ballooning is one of the most fascinating sports to participate in.
Hot air ballooning is probably the slowest way to fly and probably not the safest but as far as being the most spectacular it's hard to beat. Booking a hot air balloon ride is fairly easy and common there are lots of Hot Air Balloon company's providing excellent flying experience.
Before taking the plunge and booking a flight check out the company and it's pilots experience as making sure the company has been certified by the CAA and the pilots are qualified and have a good safety record.
I started off going to Hot Air Balloon festivals there are some great shows around UK, Europe and the States the biggest being the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which is held in October every year. In Britain we have 2 good Hot Air Balloon festivals the biggest being the Bristol Balloon Festival and it was great lots to do and see as well multiple Balloon launches over two hundred balloons took part.
Hot Air Balloons come in a lot of different shapes and sizes depending on the usage the really large ones are used to carry more people and sometimes you can see these saw for miles as they must contain the ability to carry more weight and more fuel on board.
Hot Air Balloons are difficult to pilot and must be flown in the early morning or in the evening as these are the times that the air is most still and manageable for the pilot. During the day there can be too much interference from thermals lots of hot air rising that can cause the hot air balloon to be unstable.
So if you book a balloon trip and its early in the morning don't forget it can very cold at altitude sensible clothing and a woolly hat are recommended items. Listen carefully to the safety brief from the balloon centre paying attention often makes for a safe landing.
Knowing what to expect does not prepare you for the feeling seeing the burner heating the balloon and standing in the basket waiting for the lift off which is carefully controlled by the pilot to be smooth as not to rise too rapidly.
Once in the air the you see the world from a totally unexpected way as you glide almost silently across the land. Some countries that have wild animals this is one the greatest ways of seeing wildlife in the natural stat without disturbing them.
Having been on many balloon rides in the UK and Europe as well as Africa I can recommend that this is an experience that you will never forget. However on the one in Africa I was a little pre occupied with not coming down in a heard of lions or something else. Fortunately as you will find out the balloons are tracked with GPS so that the support vehicle so that they can quickly pack up the Hot Air Balloon when it lands.
A hot air balloon is steered by the pilot understanding that air at different heights moves in different directions and the pilots skill is to interpret the weather for the day and adjust the height of the balloon to go in the correct direction for the day's planned flight.
Riding the skies at dusk and dawn is a real thrill and looking down at our busy way of life while drifting across the sky makes for a real fun day out. I urge you to put this on one of your to do before you die lists and get out there and cloud hop across sky.


© 2008 Andy Bolton 40 Liverpool,
Hot Air Balloons [http://www.bravemain.com]
Hot Air Ballooning
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