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Hot Air Balloon Flights
Hot air balloon flights offer the perfect opportunity for a peaceful, tranquil ride.
You should book your flight several weeks in advance or even longer if you want to go on a weekend evening or a bank holiday. The main flying season is mid-March through the end of October. Flights are best within two hours of dawn or dusk, since the air is most stable then.
You will spend about an hour in the balloon, but given pre- and post-flight preparations and dismantling, you should prepare to spend about 4 hours. Since the return time can't be guaranteed, it's best not to plan activities very soon after your flight.
Who Can Fly
Passengers need to be physically able to climb into and out of the basket, which is 1.1 metres high. For safety reasons, passengers cannot exceed 18 stones. Children must usually be of a certain height, around 1.4 metres. Most companies will require children under 16 to be accompanied by a responsible adult.
You should wear the sort of clothing you'd don for a country walk at whatever time of year you choose for your flight. Women should wear trousers and everyone should wear sensible walking shoes or boots since you'll be walking in fields. You may want to bring a cap to protect yourself from the heat of the burners overhead. Due to the radiated heat from those burners, it's not terribly cold and there is no real breeze since you travel with the breeze.
The Day of Your Flight
You'll meet the pilot and crew, complete a flight safety briefing, and help inflate the balloon. After these initial preparations, you'll take off and experience the wonders of the flight. Upon landing you'll help the crew pack away the balloon.
The steady balloon basket is perfect for aerial photography. Balloons have rotation vents that allow the pilot to turn the balloon for a panoramic view. But a balloon cannot be steered; it travels with the wind. Flights are supervised by commercial pilots who take all precautions to ensure safety.
The basket is not terribly big, so you should avoid bringing large bags. They are divided into compartments, usually with six passengers maximum in any one compartment. Private flights are available from some companies.
Flights cannot take place during rain or fog and are incredibly weather dependent. Most companies will ask you to phone the company prior to your flight, to make sure the weather is suitable. If it's not, you'll be allowed to rebook for another day.