Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know!
How far in advance do I need to book?
If you have a large group or would like to fly on a weekend you may need to book a couple of weeks in advance. But some days are busier than others so if you have a date in mind do not hesitate to contact us.
Which season has the best weather for flying?
You can have good or bad days at any time of year, we take it on a day by day basis. But autumn typically has more flyable days than the other seasons.
How does a balloon fly?
Hot air balloons fly because hot air rises. Hot air rises because it is less dense than the cooler air around it and so it tends to ‘float’ on the cooler air. We use a burner to heat the air in the balloon until it is hotter than the air outside the balloon. Once it is, the balloon will rise, carrying us with it. If we were to allow the balloon to cool it would begin do descend as it becomes the same temperature as the outside air. If we were to let some of the hot air out of the balloon the same thing would happen because there would no longer be enough hot air in the balloon to lift us. Gas balloons work on a similar principle except that they use helium gas, which is less dense, and therefore lighter, than air to achieve the same effect.
What time do I need to be there?
We meet about 2 hours before sunrise. Don’t worry, when you book we will let you know the exact time you will need to be where you need to be.
What type of clothing should I wear?
Wear something warm as it will probably be cold when we start out. It might be a good idea to bring a hat of some kind as the heat from the burner flame can sometimes be quite noticeable. Also, you will need a pair of good, sturdy shoes.
How high do you fly?
Like so many things in ballooning, our flying height depends on the winds on the day. At different heights there are different wind layers in which the wind has different speeds and directions. On an average flight we go from tree-top level up to between one and four thousand feet (several hundred metres).
Why do you fly so early in the morning?
Although we need some wind to fly the balloon we can’t fly if there is too much. We fly in the early morning because the winds are at their calmest then. Also, a lower ambient temperature means that it is easier to get the balloon off the ground and keep it in the air because we don’t have to heat it to such a high temperature. This in turn means we don’t use so much gas and can fly for longer. And besides, the valley looks so pretty at sunrise…..
How long can you fly for?
Pretty much for as long as we have gas to burn. But the later in the day you fly the wind speed usually increases and the more turbulence you get, neither of which you want. Generally our flights last about an hour.
Can you steer the balloon?
We go where the wind goes, so we have a lot of different launch sites to choose from. Also the wind does go in different directions at different altitudes and so, by ascending and descending, we can take advantage of this to choose a wind direction which is as close to the direction we want as possible.
How cold does it get up there?
Generally it doesn’t get much colder ‘up there’ than what it is on the ground. You don’t feel any wind because you are moving at the same speed as the wind. We also find that the burner acts as a pretty good heater.