Safety is the first priority for our hot air balloon flights. This whole experience is weather dependent and the weather doesn't always cooperate. If weather radar and wind conditions are not within the safety limits that we adhere to, the hot air balloon rides will be cancelled and you will need to reschedule.
We have a chase crew that follows the balloon during the flight. The hot air balloon crew will meet us at the landing location to help pack the balloon, put the basket back on the trailer, and also drive all passengers back to the meeting location.
Before we take flight, we have to set up the balloon. We give our passengers the opportunity to participate in getting the balloon ready for launch. The set up entails us laying out the envelope and cold inflating it with an industrial fan. We usually ask for a volunteer to assist in keeping the envelope open while it cold inflates. After the envelope is fully cold inflated and the preflight inspection is complete, the pilot will start to add heat with the burners. As the heat in the envelope rises, the balloon will start to stand. Once the envelope and balloon are upright, passengers will be asked to climb into the basket of the balloon.
Once we land and the chase crew arrives, we begin the process of putting the envelope away. We usually allow as much of the hot air to escape from the envelope as we can before we start to roll it and put it away. This is another opportunity for passengers to get involved. We could always use some assistance getting the envelope put away. Once the chase crew gets the balloon back onto the trailer, we head back to the meeting location.
The flight will be an average of 45-60 minutes. The duration is based on a few factors, sunrise or sunset flight, winds, and available landing locations.
No. We are at the mercy of the winds. The pilot can only control the balloon going up and down but not much left or right. The balloon can change directions during the flight depending on what the winds are doing at different altitudes.
You can try and schedule a flight for a specific date but there is always a chance that the flight could be cancelled due to poor weather or wind conditions. We know it’s a disappointment when a hot air balloon flight is cancelled, especially if the flight is to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary. We hate to cancel flights, but our priority is the safety of our passengers, which is why we only fly in good weather. We suggest having a backup plan on your special day.
We are unable to fly passengers that are pregnant. We also advise against passengers flying that have any kind of clotting issue or osteoporosis. Passengers must also be able to stand for the duration of the flight. There are no seats in the balloon. If you have any concerns in terms of health conditions, we recommend you speak with your physician. There is also a weight limit. Please contact us if you have any additional concerns.
Children 8 and older can ride in the balloon. For safety reasons we need to make sure the child can take directions well and follow the pilot's instructions for landing. It's also best if the child is tall enough to see over the top of the basket, as no one is allowed to lift a child for a better view. We require minors to be accompanied by an adult on the flight.
The balloon basket we currently operate can hold up to 6 passengers not including the pilot.
The winds in the Chicagoland area are most favorable at sunrise and just before sunset. During the day, when the sun is high, thermals (large bubbles of hot air that rise from the sun-heated earth) make ballooning hazardous.
The temperature in the balloon will not change much from what the temperature is on the ground. We recommend that you wear clothing appropriate for the weather the day of your flight. It is also recommended that you wear closed toe shoes, preferably something like a sneaker. We make every attempt to land in an area that is clear, but there might be occasions where we land in a location that may not be suitable for flip flops or sandals.
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