Flying in a Hot Air Balloon is Awesome
The sight of a colorful hot air balloon floating through the sky creates the desire in some people to experience the thrill for themselves. What could be more enjoyable than floating through the sky for one of the most spectacular views possible? Fortunately, hot air balloon rides are available in many locations during the summer months, and it is even possible become a hot air balloon crew member.
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get up close and personal with balloonists is to go to a hot air balloon festival. These events are held at hundreds of locations during the summer and fall months, and many allow the spectators to walk among the balloons. Spectators should always respect the balloonists by waiting to be invited before approaching the crew. These events do give interested attendees an opportunity to connect with local balloon pilots and inquire about the possibility of joining a crew.
Hot air balloon festivals are also a great source of information about local balloon clubs. Balloon clubs welcome new members who are interested in getting more involved with hot air balloon flying. While the crew members are not allowed to pilot a balloon, they provide important support such as packing and unpacking the balloon and all the required materials in the transport vehicle and making sure correct procedures are followed.
Once a hot air balloon is in the air, it will be followed by crew members in a chase vehicle. The crew must be available when the balloon sets down in a location miles from the take-off point. The balloon may set down and take off a few times, or the pilot might decide to end the flight at the first landing location. There must be adequate crew support to properly deflate and prepare the balloon for packing into the transport vehicle.
While a few hot air balloon enthusiasts make the decision to become trained as a pilot and purchase a balloon of their own, most are satisfied to be involved as a crew member. The crew members typically get to ride with their pilot often, but most of the time they remain grounded. Joining a club and becoming involved as a crew member is a great way to learn the basics about hot air ballooning. This knowledge is useful for people who desire to become a pilot and get their own balloon.
Learning to fly a hot air balloon and purchasing one is a huge investment in time and money. The balloon and supporting equipment will cost at least $10,000 and up depending on the size of the balloon. Some people are prepared to spend the money simply as a hobby, but most balloon owners also build a business selling balloon rides to the public.