What is the best time of year to fly?
Really anytime of year is good for a hot air balloon flight; it's just that every season has it's own appeal.
When do you fly?
We fly 7 days a week at sunrise and just before sunset weather permitting. Sunrise and sunset are when the winds tend to be at their most gentle and predictable. Sunrise flights are more peaceful with maybe a hint of fog hovering in the nooks and crannies below you. Sunset flights are more exciting with so much activity on the ground. We will sometimes fly low enough to have a conversation with those less fortunate on the ground. People also tend to hang around at launch and landing to see what it's all about.
How long does the flight last?
The flight itself lasts about an hour give or take depending on wind conditions and other considerations of safety. The overall adventure is about 3½ hours.
Where do you fly?
Our most frequent flight areas include Cumming, Snellville, and sometimes other areas. Where would you like to fly?
Can I help set up the balloon?
Yes, you are absolutely encouraged to join in the inflation process as your balloon comes to life. In fact, most people do help as that is one of the wonderful memories.
Can my friends & family come to watch, help out, and join in on the fun?
Yes, sharing your balloon adventure with friends or family is very popular. They can just tag along with the chase and shoot pictures of you or roll up their sleeves and have fun. They are also invited to join the celebration afterwards.
Is Hot Air Ballooning safe?
Yes ballooning is very safe and we have a 100% safety record. It's much safer than driving on Atlanta interstates. Our pilots are commercial rated with instruction privileges by the F.A.A. and the balloons are also certified and regularly inspected in accordance with the F.A.A.
Will it be cold up there?
No, it might even feel a tad warmer since we are flying with the wind and you won't feel a wind-chill.
What type of weather is best for hot air ballooning?
For safety reasons, in this area balloonists generally prefer for the the winds to be less than 10 mph and the clouds to be at least 1000' above the ground. Most people enjoy flying when the temperature is between 50ºF - 80ºF (not too hot, not too cold). We can still probably fly even if the weather is somewhat different. For example, a flight over the snow covered ground is magical. But rest assured, I will never compromise your safety by trying to fly in unsafe conditions.
What if the weather is bad?
We will contact you the day or two before your flight to discuss the details of your flight including the weather. For most flights, we know the day before if the weather is cooperating. There are however days when we have to cancel at the last moment or even at the launch site. We don't want to cancel that late, but your safety is our first priority.
How do you steer the balloon?
Well, we don't really, we just go wherever the wind takes us. Your pilot controls the up and down, but not the left and right. Sometimes the winds are blowing in different directions at varying altitudes. If that happens, your pilot can climb or descend to the altitude with the most favorable wind.
Heights and I don't get along, will I be scared?
We have flown many people who have a fear of heights or were just anxious about flying. In virtually every case, they realize it is not what they were expecting and are ok with it. You are not likely to get vertigo because you rarely feel any wind like on a bridge, you don't see the perspective of things getting smaller like on a roof, and there is no rocking or turbulence like on a plane. Lisa, our crew chief, is a little afraid of heights. When Lisa took her first flight though, it was mid-way into the flight before she remembered that she was supposed to be afraid of this. Of course all people are different. Why don't you give it a try and have a new experience.
How far in advance do I need to reserve my flight?
It's generally best to give us at least a week (and up to 3 weeks during Spring & Fall) before you want to fly. But, if you have the urge to fly sooner, give us a call. We may just have an opening. Please remember that with only 2 possible flights a day, a weekend is quite short. Weekends do get booked up much earlier than weekdays. However, keep in mind that even if you get just the right date reserved, the weather may have different plans. If the special date is part of a surprise, you may want to purchase a gift certificate for them in case the weather doesn't cooperate.
How many people can fit in the basket?
We can fly up to 4 people in your basket (maybe 1 more if some are children). As it warms up towards summer, we can carry 2-3 adults on a hot afternoon. It is actually based more on weight and temperature than on number of people.
How much does it cost?
Our regular balloon adventure is $235/person. We can also tailor a special package just for you.
How far will we fly?
Well, that depends on the winds. Since we fly with the winds, if the wind is 2 mph, we will fly about 2 miles. If the wind is 8 mph, we will fly closer to 8 miles. You get the picture.
Where do we land?
Wish I had an answer for you on that one, but I don't. And that is really a part of the excitement and adventure of ballooning! Your pilot will choose a launch field where the winds will take you in a good direction for landing spots. We might land in a large field, a cul-de-sac, or even someone's front yard.
What happens after we land?
The first thing we do if possible is have the chase crew ask the landowner for permission to land. As the balloon deflates, you enjoy the excitement of your flight and landing. After packing up the balloon back in the trailer, it is time to celebrate.
And what about that champagne celebration?
A champagne celebration is part of the tradition and history of hot air ballooning that goes back to the first manned balloon flight. We also have a nice spread of munchies. You'll leave with your champagne bottle signed by your Magic Carpet Ride crew and your personal 'crew' commemorating your balloon adventure.
How do we get back to where we started?
You will come to appreciate our chase crew most once we have landed and you realize we have to get back. We are going nowhere until our crew shows up to get us. Balloon chasing is a fun challenge and hopefully the chase will be there waiting on us, or will arrive shortly after we land (click here for more information on crewing). We all drive back to the meeting site together and say our goodbye's.
What time will we meet and when will I be finished?
For sunrise flights, we meet about 30 minutes before sunrise and for sunset flights, we meet about 2½ hours before sunset. The entire experience lasts about 3½ hours.
What should I wear?
Dress casually and comfortably for the weather. Remember it is a little cooler after dark and a little warmer while the sun is out. Also, no open toe shoes or high heel shoes allowed. We want to protect your feet just as much as the rest of you.
Can I bring a camera?
Yes, definitely! And bring twice as much film as you think you need.
What is the basket made of?
Baskets or gondolas are made from wicker with a weave similar to your household wicker furniture. They are reinforced with metal tubes or aircraft cables and a wood floorboard. The wicker weave is what gives a balloon it's strength and flexibility at landing.
What material is the balloon made of?
Most hot air balloons are made from ripstop nylon which is similar to the material for parachutes. One difference is that our ripstop is coated inside to contain the hot air.
What kind of fuel do you use?
Balloon burners use propane similar to your gas grill out back. The only difference is that we use the liquid rather than the gas.
How big are hot air balloons?
Most balloons are from 60,000 to 140,000 cubic feet. However, some are small enough to fly from a harness on your back and some are capable of flying 16 people or more. Most balloons tower from 60' to 90' tall. We have a balloon which is just right for 2 to 4 passengers (depending on temperature). Our balloon is an AX-8b (a technical term for size) which is 90,000 cubic feet and is about 70' tall, and 55' wide.
Do you offer Gift Certificates?
To schedule your flight, go to our flight request form or call us at (404) 808 - 6132.