When Do You Fly?
Balloon flights are normally timed to depart within an hour of sunrise or two hours before sunset. We don't fly during the day because the air is turbulent with thermal winds. In the winter these winds are not as strong and we can fly anytime of day.
When Don't You Fly?
Rain, fog, low cloud cover, too much wind or not enough wind are the typical weather conditions that will prompt us to postpone a scheduled flight. We consider a wind speed of 6 knots as the upper threshold for safety. Even at that, launches and landings can be hazardous. Each pilot will make his or her own decision whether or not it is safe to fly. Not enough wind? Unlike a boat becalmed on water, a balloon can only wait as long as its fuel supply allows and we prefer to have a choice of landing sites. And, of course, an hour or so of going nowhere isn't much of an adventure.
We know that it can be a big disappointment to have your special flight postponed, but there is a saying that " It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground! ".
How Does A Hot Air Balloon Work?
Present-day Hot Air Balloon systems closely resemble the original balloons and work on the simple principle that hot air rises. They consist of an envelope to contain the hot air, a system to produce the hot air and a wicker basket to carry the people. Lift is derived from heating the air inside the envelope and descent by allowing some of the air to escape through a vent or by letting it cool naturally.
Where Do You Launch?
The choice of launch site will vary depending on the wind direction at the time of the flight. We want to go in a direction where we know there will be a good selection of landing sites. We are fortunate that, there are a variety of launch sites that suit the various wind directions.
Where Do You Land?
Balloons don't have any means of controlling lateral movement so they go wherever the wind takes them. Part of the adventure of ballooning is not knowing your destination prior to departure. During the flight, the pilot will select a landing site which is free of obstacles, large enough for a safe landing and deflation of the balloon, and not too far from a road. Happily, there are many such spots.
How Long Is The Flight?
Flights usually last 45 to 90 minuets, but we suggest you allow up to three hours for the whole excursion. This will include set-up and pack-up time as well as travel time back to the launch site.
What Should I Wear? DO NOT WEAR SANDALS
You should dress to suit the season. You won't be much warmer or cooler during the flight than you would be on the ground. You should also choose footwear that's suitable for walking through country fields.
What Should I Bring?
You may want to bring a camera to record your experience, binoculars to enhance your enjoyment of the spectacular scenery, or a friend to share it with. Remember, cameras have neckstraps!
Can I Help?
Certainly!, if you wish. We have sufficent, experienced ground personnel, but we also understand that some people would like to get a little more involved. Remember though, listen carefully to the pilot or the crew chief when they're giving you instructions and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask!
How Can I Book A Flight?
Call us at (703) 327-0444. If you have a special day in mind it's best to book a couple of weeks in advance. If the weather is unco-operative on the selected day, then an alternate time will be arranged. Hot Air Balloons can fly any time of the year and each season has its own particular attractions. The choice is yours!
Can I Get A Gift Certificate?
Yes, of course, it's a great way to help someone celebrate a birthday or anniversary and it gives them the opportunity to choose when they wish to fly. Our regular Gift Certificates are valid for two years from the date of purchase and are transferable, but nonrefundable. You can purchase one over the phone or in person, or click here to buy online!
Contacting Balloons Unlimited
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us from 10 AM to 2 PM EST Monday thru Saturday (703) 327-0444 or Toll Free 1-866-7-HOT-AIR (866-746-8247). You may also email us at email@example.com
Thanks for your interest.