Some answers to common questions.

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How do balloons fly?

Balloons operate through the basic principles of gravity and heat transfer. As air inside the balloon is heated, it rises. As the air inside the balloon cools, it descends. To make the balloon fly, an inflator fan fills it with cold air, which is then heated.

Can you steer a balloon?

Winds determine a balloon's direction. Balloonists can steer a balloon, to a limited extent, by adjusting the balloon's altitude to make use of different wind speeds and directions.

What fuel do balloons use?

Sport hot air balloons carry 20 to 45 gallons of propane in stainless steel fuel tanks.

How high do balloons fly?

Balloons typically fly from treetrop level to several thousand feet, depending on what the pilot is trying to accomplish. The world record in a stock Aerostar hot air balloon is over 32,000 feet!

Why do balloons fly in early morning and late evening?

Winds are generally most favorable the first hours after sunrise and the last hours before sunset. The sun's uneven heating of the earth's surface causes strong, variable winds. In the morning, it takes a few hours to heat the earth's surface enough to generate the thermal activity that creates wind. In the evening, the sun's intensity has diminished enough to reduce winds to acceptable flight levels. Ideal winds are 3-6 mph.

What should I wear?

We recommend comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes. Layers are a good idea as it is often cool before the sun comes up but warms up quickly once it has risen. Temperatures in the air are similar to those on the ground.

Is there an age limit?

We have no age limit and special accommodations are available for those not able to stand for the duration of a balloon ride. Because of the noise made by the burner when adding hot air to the envelope we are concerned that children under the age of 5 might be frightened, however, we leave that to the discretion of the parent.

Can we bring cameras and video cameras?

Yes! Bring lots and lots of free space on your digital camera!

How do you get the balloon inflated?

A fan is used to blow cool air into the balloon. Later the burners are used to heat the air as the balloon lies on the ground. Gradually the balloon will rise to an upright position.

Is it quiet in the balloon?

When the burner is off, it is extremely quiet. Quiet is one of the most enjoyable aspects of ballooning.

What fabric is used for the balloon?

Most common is Dacron or rip-stop nylon.

Does the basket sway when flying?

The baskets do not sway since it moves with the wind.

What is good ballooning weather?

For a successful flight we require light winds, no rain and good visibility. Call us at your specified time to confirm if the weather is suitable for hot air balloon flight. Should weather conditions cause us to cancel our scheduled flight, passengers have one year to reschedule their flight in fair weather conditions.

Can I give a hot air balloon ride as a gift?

Yes! A balloon flight is a wonderful way to tell someone they're special, celebrate a birthday or anniversary, and our colorful, customized Gift Certificates are just the right size to fit in a Christmas Stocking.

How do we schedule a flight and how far in advance?

We recommend that you give us at least one week's advance notice if you have a specific date in mind. Simply call our office and our friendly staff will be happy to take your reservation by phone, and we are pleased to accept most major credit cards. Once your flight has been reserved, a complete information pack including a map to the launch site will be mailed to you along with important information that will enhance the enjoyment of your flight.

Who can be a balloonist?

Balloon pilots come from all walks of life. Anyone with the desire to learn to fly a balloon can become a pilot.

What equipment is required for ballooning?

Balloons include several parts: the envelope (the fabric portion of the balloon), the basket, burners and fuel systems. The material for Aerostar balloon envelopes is made of an exclusive Aerostar Diamond Weave ripstop nylon with tough, durable coatings for heat and air retention. The basket is made of wicker, which is strong yet flexible, and is aesthetically pleasing. Burners can come in either single, double or triple configurations, and each puts out the equivalent of over 5,000 horsepower. Fuel systems consist of stainless steel propane tank(s) and fuel hoses. Other necessary equipment includes an inflator fan, two-way radios and some means of transporting the balloon from location to location when it is not flying.

Do you need a pilot's license to fly a balloon?

Yes. There are two levels of balloon pilot ratings: Private and Commercial. Adventure Flights operates one of the few Part 141 Pilot Schools available in the United States today and we are pleased to offer this training year round. Please visit our Pilot Training page to learn more about the training requirements, costs involved and to schedule your personalized training session.

How much does a balloon cost?

Like cars and boats, new balloons vary in size and amenities. You can start with a smaller sport model for around $13,000. These balloons typically carry the pilot and one passenger. The larger balloons that carry two or three persons in addition to the pilot will range in price between $15,000 and $25,000. Adventure Flights is a West Coast Distributor for Aerostar International, offering the most innovative technology available in ballooning today. We also offer a variety of used systems starting at around $5,000.

How can I become involved in ballooning without buying a system or becoming a pilot?

Many enthusiasts get their start in ballooning as a member of a chase crew. If you live in the Southern California area, e-mail us or give us a call and ask how you can earn free flight time and/or training as a member of our chase crew.

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Balloon advertising ideas

We offer great advertising ideas such as Tethered Balloon events, Air Blown Inflatables, Air Ships (Advertising Helium Blimps), Roof Top Balloons (Cold Air Balloons) and Custom Banners for any event. Customer satisfaction is most important to us in catering to everything from the intimacy of a wedding party or group activities to a child's birthday party and everything in between.

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