Frequently asked questions
When shall we fly ?
For safety reasons, hot air balloon flights occur during the two hours following sunrise and the two hours preceding sunset. In order to guarantee the most comfortable trip, we suggest we meet at the following times:
* Balloon flights in winter season available only in Paris area
We will fly only if the following weather conditions are met: no rain, no fog, no stormy conditions (TCU,CB) and litlle wind. For your safety, we will cancel the flight if weather forecasts expect wind over 7Kts (13 km/h) and gust winds over 9 Kts (16 km/h).
If the weather is not suitable for a safe and pleasant trip, we will arrange a new date. Weather cancellation insurance: if the flight cannot be done at another date or because of poor weather conditions, then you will be fully reimbursed within 2 weeks.
Why a morning or an evening flight only ?
To fly in safe conditions, the balloon must evolve in a stable atmosphere (not gusts or vertical winds). These conditions of air stability are present only at sunrise or sunset when the thermal agitation caused by soil warming from the sun is less important.
Please consider that atmosphere is very unstable when stormy conditions. Therefore, prohibit any balloon ride, even if the weather seems to be nice and sunny.
What are the medical conditions
Ballooning activity is accessible to anyone not suffering from major health problems.
However, passengers must be able to climb in and out the basket (1.2m high), stand unassisted for an hour and adopt the bended knee seated landing position. Passengers must also be able to fully understand and follow all instructions given by the pilot and react quickly to them in the unlikely event of an emergency. Under French Civil Aviation Law, the balloon pilot has a duty of care for all passengers and can decide ultimately if someone is able to safely participate to the flight or not.
We recommend that children under 7, people in poor health and pregnant women not to fly.
In any doubt, we advise you to ask your doctor.
Are there any precautions to take ?
We advise you to wear casual clothing (natural fibre or cotton clothing preferably). Flat shoes and trousers are recommended for the ladies (avoid high heels). In addition, it may be a little cool during the flight, so we recommend you take with you a woollen or fleece type article. A light meal or sandwiches beforehand is strongly recommended for early or late flights.
Can we steer a balloon ?
Unfortunately no. A hot air balloon is the only aircraft that « floats » in the air. Like a cork on the water, a balloon is carried by the air streams. The art of flying is to learn and use the different streams to influence the balloon’s trajectory.
Each flight is unique, the route taken and the landing are never known in advance.
What about Vertigo ?
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have vertigo in a balloon. On the one hand, the balloon is very stable because it floats in the air, on the other the sensation of vertigo appears only when you are connected to the ground (eg scale, ravine).
However, very anxious people may suffer from « aeronautics stress « . Examples are people who refuse to board on a plane or in an elevator. This is a psychological problem that has nothing to do with vertigo.
How long a flight lasts ?
The total duration of the service is about 3 hours and a half:
on-site transfer and installation: 1 hour
balloon flight : 1 hour (+/- 10 mns)
landing, folding and packing: 1 hour
toast and champagne: 30 mns
Flight duration may slightly vary according to the opportunities for landing during the flight
Where shall we land ?
The exact location of landing is hard to predict because a balloon cannot be steered. However, the direction and strength of the wind give us valuable information on possible landing areas.
In addition, the direction of the wind may vary with the altitude, which is interesting when you want to go in a specific direction.
The art of piloting lies in using these air masses and also in the choice of a breeding ground, preferably grass and close to a path or a road.
How high do we fly ?
A balloon can fly very high. The current record is held by Vijaypat Singhania who made an ascent to over 21,000 meters in 2005 !
Don’t worry, we will not go so high. In general, the flight altitude varies from several meters to 600 meters. As you will see, the interest of the balloon is the ability to contemplate the nature and admire the scenery unfold before our feet.
Can we fly over Paris ?
Unfortunately no. For safety reasons, civil flights are banned over Paris and suburb area.This airspace is called “Class A” and is forbidden to VFR flights (Visual Flight Rules).
In addition, Paris is a big city and it would be very difficult for a balloon to find a place for landing unless on a building roof !
Only tethered balloons are allowed to rise in the sky of Paris, but it is a totally different experience from a hot air balloon ride.