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Hot air balloon rides are an uplifting experience that allows you to see the countryside from a completely different perspective. Apart from the occasional roar of the burners, hot air balloon rides are surprisingly quiet and graceful, travelling on the wind. They make a sightseeing experience or romantic gift with a champagne reception on landing.
Skills – Strength: 1, Balance: 1, Flexibility: 1, Agility: 1, Coordination: 1
Time needed: travelling time + 1 hour, Cost to try: £99
Hot air ballooning provides a whole new view of the world. You can book hot air balloon rides for a huge selection of countryside locations across the UK, providing you with the most spectacular views and scenery. It makes the perfect gift for couples and occasions.
Top places for Hot Air Balloon Rides Around the World
If you are travelling the world for business or on holiday, you will find opportunities to take a hot air balloon ride at most of the top tourist locations. Why see the Grand Canyon or the Wonders of the World from the ground when you can take to the air.
- See the Pyramids in Egypt
- Watch wildlife on safari in South Africa or Cape Town
- Fly over the wilds of Scotland and Ireland
- Soar over Sydney and Melbourne in Australia
- Experience America flying a hot air balloon over San Diego, California, Colorado or Florida
What makes a hot air balloon rise?
A hot air balloon works by filling an enclosed balloon like canopy with air that is at a higher temperature than the air on the outside of the hot air balloon. For those of you who paid attention in your physics class, hot air rises because it is less dense than cold air, which is why a hot air balloon goes up. The greater the temperature difference between the air inside the hot air balloon and the ambient air outside the hot air balloon, the greater the lift given.
A hot air balloon does not work that well during the middle of a hot day, as it is more difficult to get a good air temperature difference. So, hot air balloon rides usually take place in the calmer air conditions that are found just after sunrise and as dusk falls. Hot air balloon rides take place throughout the year, with the best times of the year to go hot air ballooning being between April and October.
What Happens on the day?
My wife bought me my hot air balloon ride as a gift from Red Letter Days. The hot air balloon flight went from the Paddock Wood Hop Farm in Kent. On the day of your hot air balloon flight, you are given a phone number to call to confirm whether the flight is going ahead. Weather conditions have to be just right. If all is ok, then you turn up and may get involved whilst the ground crew inflate the hot air balloon.
You get a safety brief, get into the balloon basket and then take off. After taking lots of photos and trying to work out where in the world you are flying over, you land somewhere like a farmer’s field where the ground crew will be waiting with a champagne picnic.
I had the most wonderful time and felt very safe and secure in the hands of the qualified hot air balloon pilot and his team.
How is the Hot Air Balloon Launched?
Everyone from your party can get involved in launching the hot air balloon. Once the team have unpacked the balloon, you will get shown the basket and given instruction on where to stand, safety, and what happens when you land. The basket is laid on its side, and the balloon itself is initially inflated using huge fans to blow air inside. This inflates the canopy enough space so that the burners won’t be blowing the hot air onto the sides of the balloon. My nephew got collared to hold up the opening of the canopy for the fans to blow in because he is over 6 foot tall. He was well chuffed to take part.
Once the balloon is partially inflated, the gas burners are then ignited and the balloon canopy will begin to rise upright. Once it is upright, you can board ready for take off. With a few blasts of hot air from the gas burners, you gently take off.
The hot air balloon flight
The hot air balloon flight will usually take an hour or so, depending on the weather. You will fly at heights of between 500 and 3000 feet. As the balloon takes off, you will feel yourself gently rising. The ground falls away from you and you are off, whichever way the wind takes you. When the burners are not firing, it is amazingly peaceful and quiet up in the balloon. There is no wind blowing you, as you are in fact travelling at the same speed as the wind. You can hear all of the noises from the ground below; dogs barking, people chatting. It is great to see into everyone’s back gardens and see who has a swimming pool!
The views from a hot air balloon are stunning. Choose your location carefully, as this will enhance your hot air balloon experience immensely. To go on a hot air balloon ride over a game reserve in South Africa is truly amazing.
The landing can be quite graceful, or a bit bumpy. This depends on the wind speed at the landing site. Your qualified pilot will tell you what you need to do. Basically, the basket has compartments for each person to stand in. For landing, you lean with your back against the side of the compartment that is in the direction you are going. If the basket should tip over on landing, then you are safely leant against that side already.
After you have landed, a team from the launch party will arrive. They will have been tracking the balloon flight so they can be there when it lands. Often, you celebrate your successful hot air balloon flight with a glass of champagne.
I highly recommend the experience of a hot air balloon ride. You will always remember your experience.
The Best Places for Hot Air Balloon Rides
If you want to go for a hot air balloon ride, you should choose somewhere that will have an amazing view from up in the sky. The most highly recommended places to go hot air ballooning are Scotland, Sydney, South Africa, Melbourne, Australia, Cape Town, Ireland, San Diego, Florida, France, California and Colorado.
You can buy hot air ballooning gifts from Red Letter Days.