Balloon flights are typically flown in the first hour after sunrise or the last hour of daylight before sunset. During the day the air becomes much more active and it becomes unsafe for a balloon flight. During the cooler months it is possible to fly during the day because convection currents are not as strong. Our flights are usually 30 to 60 minutes in length.
1. The first step in a balloon flight is to unload the balloon and equipment from the trailer.
2. The next step is to attach the struts and burner to the basket.
3. With the basket prepped it is time to stretch out the envelope. The basket must be laid on its side in order to attach the envelope.
4. Once the envelope is attached securely to the basket two crew members will hold open the mouth of the envelope, while another crew member starts up two large fans to inflate the balloon.
5. While the balloon inflates the pilot makes constant checks to ensure every piece of equipment and line is in its proper place.
6. Now the envelope is nearly inflated. It is time for the pilot to climb into the basket and fire the burners to heat the air inside the envelope.
7. It is very exilerating to watch and listen as the burners throw a column of fire 10 to 20 feet up inside of the envelope. As the air inside heats up the balloon will slowly rise to a vertical position.
8. With the balloon fully inflated and the air inside getting hotter the pilot calls for "weight on"; this means that all passengers and crew must hold onto the basket to keep the balloon on the ground until all passengers are onboard and the final safety checks have been made.
9. We are nearly ready for take off. The pilot will give some safety instructions and brief us on landing proceedure and then it is time to go. "Weight off!" Once the weight is off the basket rises slowly into the air. If you close your eyes you will not even be able to tell you have left the ground.
10. With a few short blasts from the burners we climb high above the trees and begin our jouney. One of the thrills of ballooning is not knowing exactly where you will land. Our pilot is very experienced and has a good idea of where, but only God knows for sure.
11. Just look at these incredible views as we climb slowly over the Shenandoah Valley.
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Valley Ballooning | Mailing Address: 16350 Old Valley Pike, Edinburg, Virginia 22824 | (540)975-0192