Weather and Safety
These are 2 elements we take very seriously
Safety – It’s a priority.
At Barossa Balloon Adventures your safety is our number one priority and our paramount responsibility.
Justin, our pilot, is extremely proud of his safety record spanning 30 years of Barossa Ballooning.
Barossa Balloon Adventures is committed to only flying in safe conditions. If we deem the weather to be unsuitable we will not fly. Take off in the wrong conditions and your chances of enjoying your flight and being safe aren’t good. With 31 years flying experience, 3000 hours and a very proud safety record our pilot Justin Stein has the experience and knowledge to make the right decision.
Barossa Balloon Adventures is a registered ‘Charter Airline’ authorised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), operating under an Air Operator Certificate number C-408865. Our pilot holds a commercial pilot licence (Balloons class 1 and 2) issued by CASA and we are governed by the same regulations pertaining to any small passenger airline. We are members of the Australian Ballooning Federation and all our equipment, aircraft, pilots and operating procedures are governed by the ABF and CASA.
Our Maintenance Manager, John Stein, is committed to the best maintenance of our fleet of balloons. He has attended maintenance courses at Australia’s leading balloon manufacturer Kavanagh Balloons in Sydney and has also been inducted into the Australian Ballooning Federation Hall of Fame.
We are also members of the Professional Ballooning Association of Australia.
All of this means that you can relax and enjoy the amazing experience of hot air ballooning, you are in safe hands!!
Barossa Balloon Adventures has many different launch sites available to use. The decision on which one to launch from will be made on site taking into consideration the localised surface winds and the upper gradient winds.
The topography of the landscape also affects the lower level surface winds. This means we may drive as little as 2kms or up to as much as 65km to find a suitable launch site.
Plan A is to fly over the Barossa, but sometimes the weather conditions don’t allow that to happen, but we do have a Plan B, which is to fly over the Murray River. If plan B does not work, plan C is to go back home to bed. NOTE: If you have accommodation you may wish to retain your key.
Weather – It’s Everything!
One of the great joys of ballooning is its tranquility as you float with the breeze, feeling absolutely no sensation of movement. You have become the wind… you are moving with it… and therefore you have become a part of a complex weather system that is ever changing.
oday’s weather in NuriootBallooning is VERY weather dependent
What might be a nice day to the average person may not be a good balloon flying day. The most common reason for cancelling a flight is wind speed. Anything more than light winds is too fast. It needs to be quite calm and stable for the first few hundred feet to be able to inflate the balloon and take off nice and safely. Once we are up and flying we can fly a bit faster within reason, but we also like it nice and calm when we come back down to land again. So it’s the surface wind for the first few hundred feet that’s the all important wind, not just the wind speed at the very ground level. Other conditions that will keep us grounded include very hot mornings, rain, total fire ban, low visibility (fog/extremely low cloud) and thunderstorms.
The Weather Window
We always stress that we meet early and it is important for you to be on time. Why? The air is usually much cooler and more stable during the first few hours of the morning, but as the sun rises, it warms up the ground. The ground can only absorb so much heat it then starts to radiate this extra heat back. This is one of the causes of wind currents and turbulence. We need to fly our balloons while the air remains stable, and not affected by the day’s wind currents. This time is generally 2 hours after sunrise, although it does depend on the time of year. This is our ‘weather window’.
Cancelling On The Field
The localised wind conditions also mean that some mornings prove to be ‘flyable’ even when the forecast for the day may not be promising. Conversely, there are times that seem perfect for flying at sunrise, but the pilot is also assessing the time and place of the landing a few hours hence. This means that the pilot may be forced to cancel a flight on the field even though the weather looks perfect. If the pilot is not confident the ‘weather window’ will hold, then it is in everyone’s best interest that the flight is cancelled.
We do not aim to inconvenience our passengers nor do we wish to disappoint them. Please understand if our pilot feels that it is a good idea to meet in the morning, he is confident that the flight will happen.
However, the weather can make a fool of any forecaster so sometimes the only way our pilot can really be accurate is by having everyone ready to go on the field in the morning. So unfortunately at times the flight must be cancelled on the field.
The pilot is dedicated to your safety and enjoyment. If you feel disappointment at a cancelled flight, Barossa Balloon Adventures and our team are equally disappointed!
Although this not a common occurrence, please spare a thought for the complexity of this decision. Again, your safety is our first concern.
If the flight is cancelled due to unsuitable weather conditions then we are happy to rebook you at your convenience or refund the payment in full.
Gift Vouchers however are non-refundable and therefore a re-booking must be made for a date prior to the expiry date on your Gift Voucher.