Safety / Frequently Asked Questions

We have a 100% Safety Record and we work hard to maintain our record!

Questions about preparations / weather
Can we bring our Camera?

Feel free to bring your camera, video, or smart phone. You'll be able to capture beautiful pictures in flight to remember and help tell your story. We encourage you to tell all your friends about your exciting adventure. You may want to make a phone call from the balloon. It’s okay, the FAA doesn’t care.

What if my flight is cancelled because of weather?

Generally, we will not confirm the flight if weather is threatening the safety of our flight.
A note for the OUT-OF-TOWN guests. We are very cognizant of fuel prices and in some cases the expense that surrounds an overnight trip. A lot of folks drive hours just to fly in our hot air balloon. We are thrilled to be the focus of your visit. But we take that responsibility very seriously. One of the hallmark differences in eHotAir.com vs. other balloon companies is that we consider your wallet.
Before you make your trip to fly with us, we are going to give you a very realistic weather picture of your scheduled flight. If you are traveling for an overnight, we will tell you the chances of flight with a percentage. Balloon pilots are very good at predicting wind and weather. We do it many times per day during the high season.
RULE OF THUMB, if there is less than a 90% chance of flying, we will ask you to re-schedule. However, this is your decision. Safety is not only our biggest concern, but also spending your money by making a selfish business decision. Even if you do decide to take the risk and drive to us, we still may cancel a flight based on last minute conditions. We know this is frustrating. But any pilot who has been caught in bad weather knows the risks involved. We ere on the side of caution ALWAYS! We only fly on days suitable for ballooning. If you have fun you will tell your friends and family. If you get scared, you will tell everyone. We want you to have a proud grin on your face after we land. And we want you to share your experience on Face Book and everywhere else.
IN-TOWN-GUESTS, if we don’t call you to cancel because of weather, then we plan to fly. Sometimes, even if it’s raining an hour before the flight, when the rain stops it can provide a beautiful flying opportunity. Generally an afternoon rain will cool the atmosphere keeping the winds to a minimum and clearing the air for great photos and video. If we have to cancel in the field, don’t worry. Remember, we are investing the same amount of time as you for your flight. So if we cancel at the last minute, there will be plenty of other beautiful days to fly. Don’t get discouraged, it will be worth it.

Do we offer gift cards?

Hot air balloon ride Gift Certificates are always available and make wonderful gifts for friends, family and work place incentives. Put someone on cloud nine by giving the gift of flight! Give us a call for gift certificate ordering.

When do our balloon flights depart?

We only launch twice a day – within an hour or so of sunrise
and 2 hours before sunset when the winds are the calmest. During the middle of the day, wind and thermal activity make it impossible to fly balloons safely. Sunrise & sunset are the most breathtaking times of day for balloon photography. The light and rich color of the low sun on the horizon allows for many fantastic photo opportunities.

For morning flights, we will meet at the launch site around sunrise. In the afternoons, we generally meet 2 1/2 hours before sunset. We will always call you the day before a morning flight of a few hours before an afternoon flight to confirm weather and our meeting location.

What should I wear / bring?

There's no noticeable temperature difference at the altitudes we normally fly, so you should dress for an outdoor activity according to the season and temperature at the time of flight. It's probably best to wear clothes that you aren't afraid to get wet or dirty. It’s never our goal to get wet and dirty but some landing sites can offer elements unseen from the air. 95% of the time there are no issues with wet fields but morning flight often presents dew on the ground. The temperature above is usually the same as on the ground. Summer morning flights, the temp usually rises about ten degrees in a couple of hours. For winter and colder flights, layer up. You can always shed layers as the day heats up. Waterproof shoes or boots are a good idea for morning flights. Most of the time, the ground is wet with dew. Open toe shoes may not be suitable for some of our landing spots, so they are discouraged for safety reasons. Hiking boots, sneakers, or a comfortable flat shoe are the preferred footwear.

Questions about the flight
When can we fly?

We fly hot air balloons year-round, seven days a week. Weekends tend to fill up first, so if you plan on a weekend flight, be sure to schedule in advance to guarantee the best date for you. Our busiest time of the year is June, July and August. However, we can sometimes schedule your flight last minute; so just give us a call to check availability.

In the fall, the leaves' spectacular color changes are a show not to be missed! The fall is our busiest time of year, especially fall weekends. Book early in the season to ensure your date is available.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend booking your preferred balloon flight date in advance to be certain it will be available. However, last-minute bookings are always possible. Just give us a call to find out if we have immediate availability.

As always, all hot air balloon flights are weather permitting and at the discretion of the pilot-in-command. We have a 100% Safety Record and we work hard to maintain our record! We never compromise safety. We ere on the side of caution ALWAYS! We don’t need balloon revenue that much to take ANY weather related risks with our passengers. Trust the pilot, if it’s not a good day to fly, realize the weather on the ground doesn’t tell the
whole story.

How High will we Fly?

We can fly anywhere from treetop level up to many thousands of feet. Down low, at tree top level, is the most enjoyable part of any flight. Maybe you'll be able to pick leaves from the tops of trees and chat with folks on the ground. We also like to ascend to over 2000 feet to give passengers a memorable view of the earth. On a clear day, from a hot air balloon, we can usually see about 30 miles, on clear mornings, you can see as far as your eyes will take you.

Questions about Restrictions
Who can fly? (Age Requirements)

Almost everybody is welcome to fly with us, as long as they are ten years or older. We have flown younger kids and we allow the parents to make that decision. Mature eight year olds will like it. Any immature child will just get bored. So why not wait until they are a little older so they can appreciate this awesome experience. We say this because ballooning is a nature sport. We stand and look at the earth a lot. We see a lot of animals, trees and rivers. However, there are a few requirements we need to meet in order to make the ride pleasant and enjoyable for all. Call us if you have a special situation. We will not say no to your child flying until you give us your perspective, then we can discuss the possibilities.

Is there an Age Limit?

We have flown 90 plus year old passengers. We know this is a bucket list checkmark. And we are excited to give you this majestic thrill. There is a door in our basket so no climbing is needed. We just ask that you use common sense. Ask yourself? “Should I be flying in my condition?” Only you can answer that question. You should be in decent physical shape with no recent surgeries, broken bones or other medical issues (including pregnancy) that will prevent you from this physical activity. The ability to stand for the duration of the balloon set-up and the balloon flight (at least one hour) is paramount. In the past, we have provided a small chair for some disabled passengers. But we DON’T HAVE WHEELCHAIR ACCESS.
In most cases, you will be flying with other people. We want everyone to have a pleasant ballooning experience.

Can Children Fly?

We don't often recommend children under age ten, mainly because they have to stand still for an hour and stay interested. Most young kids get fidgety and restless after a few minutes of standing in the same place. Please understand ballooning is an expensive luxury. The quality of the flight is partially determined on passenger behavior in the basket. Be mindful of other paying passengers. In the same breath, if you are sure your young child will be willing and able to behave well, we are happy to have them join us on the balloon flight.

What if I’m Pregnant?

We regret that we cannot take pregnant passengers. If anything happened, you would feel horrible forever. Just wait to fly when you aren’t pregnant.

What if I am drunk? Can I fly?

The FAA says intoxicated passengers cannot be flown. I agree with the FAA. This came up once before. Without telling the story, we had to cancel the flight. However, if you have booked a PRIVATE FLIGHT you can drink alcohol during the flight.

Questions about safety
I'm afraid of heights! What should I expect?

Acrophobia: The fear of heights.
We get this question a lot. There's a simple explanation for this remarkable phenomenon:
When looking straight down the side of a tall building or a parking garage or a similar high place, you are able to visualize your physical connection to the ground. This is because you are connected to the ground through the pile of concrete that gave you the vantage point. This actual perceived height is what makes you step back from the edge and stop looking down. It’s a nervous situation.
However, in a hot air balloon basket or in an airplane, there is no connection to the ground. Once we lift off, we break that connection to the ground. This detachment from the earth also breaks the uneasy sensations of height in your brain. Furthermore, there is no relative altitude in a balloon. Two feet above the treetops or two thousand feet up, it all feels about the same. But the view is much better from up high! Trust your pilot, he has been up in the same situation HUNDREDS of times.

That’s all fine and good, but I’m still scared...

For those passengers who are adventurous enough to conquer their own fears and take to the air, 99.8% of them get back on the ground and say they would do it again with us! We have flown thousands of passengers. We have had only one passenger say that they didn’t like it at all. There is always one.
We're sure you'll have no worries once you're up there. If you can get past your initial concern about leaving the ground, you'll be just fine! But if at the last minute you decide you don’t want to go, we will refund ½ your ticket price and you can ride in the truck with the crew chief. We will meet up with you again when we land and toast the flight and your ride in the truck.

What about motion sickness?

Turbulence is not something we deal with in ballooning. We don’t fight the wind like an airplane does. Hot air balloons float with the wind. Wind controls our direction. Heat controls our up and down movement. While airborne, the basket is perfectly balanced underneath the balloon and there is no rocking sensation. The entire flight is very smooth, and changes in altitude are gradual and barely noticeable. Passengers who suffer from even the most severe cases of motion sickness will not feel any effects from a balloon ride.

Is Ballooning safe?

Ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation period. But it still has inherent dangers like all other outdoor recreational activities. Please be aware of your own physical limitations when scheduling a balloon ride, as it is important to understand all the possible risks involved.