Why are we Park City’s Premier Hot Air Balloon Company?
We exceed all our guest expectations.In Park City hot air balloon rides are taken very seriously. Daily we put on a first class hot air balloon experience. Our large number of repeat guests as well as the tremendous word of mouth support that we receive has been more than we could have ever hoped for. As the preferred provider for the many exclusive and luxurious resorts in Park City we have quickly become the Hot Air Balloon Rides company of choice. Many of the resorts include, Stein Erikson Lodge, The Lodges at Deer Valley, The Chateaux at Silver Lake (Deer Valley), The Miners Club, and Westgate Park City resort and spa. Check out our free digital photograph gallery to see our guests having a great time in the hot air balloon. Utah is a glorious place for hot air balloon rides. Park City, Utah has no better company.
When is the best time to fly?
The best time to for hot air balloon rides in utah is early morning (sunrise). That is when the winds are calmest and the air is coolest. We use a self imposed three hour window of flight. Beyond three hours, the sun has been up long enough that it starts heating up the earth and atmosphere. At that point the winds and thermals start to pick up and safety can become a concern. Ballooning is a fair weather sport that can be enjoyed year round.
What are they made of?
A balloon system consists of three major parts: the envelope (the ‘balloon’ Part); the basket or gondola; and the burner. The envelope is made of lightweight ripstop nylon or dacron which is coated with polyurethane to reduce porosity. It contains approximately 1,000 to 1,200 yards of fabric and more than three miles of thread. The basket, made of wicker or rattan, is both strong and flexible. The burner is the power plant of the system. It is fueled by liquid propane carried on-board the balloon and generates up to 20 million BTU’s of hot air per hour. A lot goes into the make up of a hot air balloon. Utah has some of the best ones around.
What do I wear?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The misconception is that it gets much colder the higher we go. While that notion is true, balloons generally do not go high enough to feel that effect. You are going to be coolest on the ground before you go up. The combined heat of sunrise along with the balloon burners generally will raise the temperature in the basket 10-15 degrees above outside temps. We ask that you wear closed toed shoes (not sandals or slippers), long pants, and layers on your upper body. As the flight goes on, the temp will rise and you may find yourself too warm at times. In the summer a hat is recommended to keep the heat off your head. Park City hot air balloon rides can be fashionable as long as you follow the aforementioned guidelines.
Do I need a reservation?
Yes. Due to the limited availability in the basket we must use a reservation system to be fair to everyone. Reservations are taken on a first come first serve basis for hot air balloon rides in Utah. It is best to schedule your flight as soon as you know when you want to go. This ensures you get the date you are interested in. If you decide at the last minute please still call. With our fleet of balloons and the number of passengers we can carry you just might get lucky. Schedule your ride with us early in your vacation. Ballooning is a fair weather sport, if safety concerns keep us from flying on your scheduled day it helps to have a few days left in your vacation to move your ride to a safer day. Larger groups may need more advanced notice to ensure availability for your entire group.
How big are they?
Hot air balloons range in size from small, one person systems to balloons that can carry 20 people. The most common sizes are from 65,000 to 105,000 cubic feet and carry 3 to 6 people. When fully inflated they vary from 60 to 90 feet high and 45 to 60 feet in diameter. The average size balloon carries 30 to 40 gallons of fuel and weighs anywhere from 400 to 700 pounds on the ground. Our systems are 245,000 cubic feet and can carry up to 12 passengers comfortably. In the air, the complete system, including the air inside the envelope, has a mass of 2 to 4 tons. This is a great size for a hot air balloon. Utah has a lot for you see from up above.
How do they work?
Hot air rises. If the air inside the envelope is heated by the burner, the balloon will rise. If the air in the envelope is allowed to cool or if the hot air is ‘vented’ (allowed to escape) from the balloon, the balloon will descend . An altimeter, a rate- of-climb meter, and an envelope temperature gauge are instruments used in the balloon.
How are they steered?
It is not possible to directly steer a balloon since it follows the wind. However, wind directions vary at different altitudes and provide the balloonist some limited ability to control the flight path. A pilot will use the varying wind directions at different altitudes to steer the balloon during hot air ballon rides. Park City, Utah boasts very experienced pilots.
How are they inflated?
The basket is laid on its side and attached to the envelope which is then spread out on the ground. A portable (gasoline powered) fan pushes air into the envelope. When the envelope is almost filled with cold air, the propane burner is ignited and the air inside is heated enough for the balloon to rise to an upright position. With a small amount of additional heat the balloon will become buoyant. The inflation usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
How many people does it take to fly one?
It takes only one pilot to fly it, but the pilot needs 2-3 crew to launch a balloon.The crew is very serious about launching the hot air balloon. Utah is home to some very trained crew members. Duties of the crew include launch preparation, following the balloon in the chase vehicle, obtaining permission from the landowner for landing, and retrieval of the balloon after the flight. Safety is the primary concern of both pilot and crew; followed closely by concern for the rights and protection of property owners on the ground.
How fast? How high? How long?
Many variables in the weather influence a pilot’s decision to fly. Most pilots agree that a breeze of 4 to 8 miles per hour is acceptable. Balloons usually stay within 500-1500 feet of the ground, but can go much higher. A few attained altitudes of well over 60,000 feet. The length of hot air balloon rides in Utah are determined by many factors, including the outside temperature and the weight carried. On a cold day, with only one person flying, a longer flight is possible.
Who can fly a balloon?
Anyone who earns a balloon pilot rating from the FAA can fly a balloon. To get the rating, one has to fly a minimum number of hours with an instructor, make a solo flight, and pass written, oral and flight tests. There are two categories of license, Private and Commercial. All of this must be fulfilled before you can fly a hot air balloon. Utah enforces these standards for your safety.
Where do they land?
Since a balloon travels with the wind, it is not possible to determine an exact landing site before the flight. A pilot’s first concern is safety. A typical landing spot is clear of crops, livestock, small trees, power lines or other obstructions. Whenever possible, permission of the landowner is obtained before landing a hot air balloon in Utah.
How do you get home again?
After the balloon is launched, the chase crew follows in a chase vehicle. Using maps, two-way radios, and visual contact, they try to be present for the landing of the hot air balloon (Utah crew does their best). The crew helps the pilot deflate and disassemble the balloon, and the balloon and all the people are driven back to the launch site in the chase vehicle.
Must you be rich to fly a balloon?
Absolutely not! Balloons are owned and flown by teachers, clerks, secretaries, engineers, farmers, construction workers, police and firemen, just to name a few. If you can afford a nice boat, a new car, or annual vacations, you can own a balloon and go for hot air balloon rides in Utah. Or you may become a crew member for someone else who owns a balloon. Most crew members get to fly.
Is there a corporate side to or a business application for ballooning?
Very much so! Hundreds of companies world-wide have adopted this “floating billboard” as a major part of their advertising campaigns. Whether attending one of the many balloon festivals held around the country (27 million visitors estimated in 1996) or store front grand openings, or even company picnics, the hot air balloon is a big draw. As one corporate balloon pilot said, “I’ve never seen anyone pull their car over to the side of the road to take a picture of a billboard, but I’ve had that happen many times while flying my company balloon.” Yes, it’s true, the hot air balloon: Utah’s most interesting form of advertising.