Please allow us to give you a little technical information about hot air balloons that are used for tethering purposes. A traditional hot air balloon is basically a large bag of fabric (envelope) that is open at the bottom so that air can be heated with a powerful propane burner. Once inflated the balloon moves with the wind so that passengers in the basket never feel any wind. If you take this balloon, tie it down with ropes and allow the wind to blow against the envelope, the balloon will deflate in winds of around 6 to 8 mph. This happens because the internal pressure of the envelope is very low due to the fact that the envelope is open at the bottom. Therefore, a traditional balloon is only good for tethering in a very low wind environment.
To overcome this limitation, a specially modified hot air balloon has been created for the sole purpose of tethering. This specialty balloon is called a Superpressure Hot Air Balloon (SP). Unlike a traditional hot air balloon, an SP balloon is sealed at the bottom or mouth of the balloon and a special blower / burner assembly is substituted for traditional burners. This blower / burner system both pressurizes the envelope and heats the air inside the envelope. This allows us to be able to perform hot air balloon tethers in winds of up to approximately 16 mph. We believe that we are the only hot air balloon company in the Nation to have this specialized SP equipment.
Common uses for the SP balloon include film work; banner carrying for advertising purposes, and passenger carrying at promotional sites. The balloon is made of bright colors, is approximately 120’ tall and 70’ in diameter. The basket typically carries about 6 to 12 people per flight. At tether locations, we typically can carry between 120 to 250 people per hour. Many sponsors will charge the passengers around $5.00 per flight, which lasts usually around 3 minutes. At busy tether sites, the cost of the balloon is usually more than covered from passenger flight proceeds.
We require a square area approximately 200’ on a side in order to have enough room for the balloon. In addition, we require (4) tie-down points at the corners of the square. We usually tie off to vehicles parked at the corners of the square; however, large trees, light standards or similar structures will also work. If you would like more information about our balloons and services, please call our Chief Pilot, Jim B.