First thing first, flying a hot air balloon needs a pilot’s license therefore, if your neighbour has one of these, you shouldn’t simply borrow it and try to fly it. But, if you do want to become part of a seriously fun hobby and a career-making certification along the way, you can actually try this out. Here are some helpful tips on how you can fly a hot air balloon but just make sure that you do not try to fly it without your pilot license. Remember safety first, always.
Polish up on Physics
You will need to know how your craft works before you get inside and sail away on it. The balloons in this case float because the hot air is much lighter than the cool air. This causes the heated up envelope of gas to be less dense than its surroundings. Therefore to help you get the balloon floating the air inside has to be heated up to at least around two hundred degrees. This is something that you should be able to work on and do the math for. If you have no experience as a pilot before you take off, after you are given your certification, try to take up an internship with Picture This Ballooning, where you will be able to gain enough training first hand.
How to light the fire
Lighting the fire is generally with the propane burner and therefore as the pilot, you are going to come into contact with blistering heat a lot of the time. This is why you need to wear heavy gloves so that you are able to safely touch the heated up areas of the burner while you turn it off and on or while you suddenly have to get to it and do an emergency repair. On average a typical balloon will burn close to 15 gallons of propane in an hour.
In order to launch the pilot and the crew will quite simply allow the fire to just heat up the air inside the balloon. Once things get heated up in there (the air that is) the balloon will begin to lift off the ground and the pilot and passengers can take off. If you are a first-time pilot don’t panic, be ready and relax. If you are a passenger, don’t scream as the cast off happens, just enjoy the moment, you are in safe hands.
Carried away in the wind
While this sounds like the title of a super romantic novel, it is really literally the case for every hot air balloon that goes up and every pilot needs to grapple with this situation. Once you are up in the air, the only real factor that you will have complete control over is altitude. The direction or the course of the balloon itself will be determined by the wind which is why your pilot will take a good hour or so to study the wind direction and weather forecast and also wait for the wind to be stable. If you were ever wondering why this really cool method isn’t in use for everyday commuting, you know the answer now. While an expert pilot can read the reports well enough to map a course that is predictable enough, the wind could simply carry you off course and you might not get to work on time (pun intended).