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Frequently Asked Questions

THE BIRTH OF HOT AIR BALLOONING

On June 5, 1783 in Annonay, France, two brothers, Etienne and Joseph Montgolfier filled a large cloth bag with heated smoke.  The bag measured 35 feet in diameter. The smoke was produced by burning charcoal on a pan beneath the bag.  The air inside the bag, being warmer than that on the outside, caused the balloon to rise.  Of course, this test flight only carried a duck, sheep and a goat... all of whom survived the very first flight in anything man-made.  Later, the same year on November 17, 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, having convinced the King of France to be first person in a balloon, ascended into the skies of France.  And thus aviation was born!

WHO CAN FLY A BALLOON?

The Federal Aviation Administration defines the requirements for pilots.  Every person that pilots any aircraft, must hold a pilot's certificate and each certificate defines the type of aircraft that can be flown. In other words, a person flying a balloon, must hold an Pilots' Certificate and that certificate must define lighter-then-air aircraft.  Qualified applicant's must complete a training curriculum, including a written exam, a prescribed number of flight hours in a balloon, complete a solo flight & pass a flight test.  

Here at Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company, our pilots also must pass a review of the company and hold at least ten times number of bare minimum the government required flight hours.  Additionally, the area's only Certified Pilot Examiner, on our staff, performs not only pilot duties for the company, but also issues pilot certificates to applicants.... including pilots for our competitors!

HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO INFLATE A BALLOON?

Depending upon the size of the balloon, the pilot plus one professional ground crew person performs this function.  Larger balloons and Special-Shaped balloons tend to require a crew of 2-4.  For the added experience of flight operations, our flight guests participate with setup and pack-up.

HOW DO YOU STEER A BALLOON?

The balloon goes wherever the wind takes it. However, pilots can seek higher or lower altitudes to find wind currents of various directions. We refer to ballooning as the truest form of sailing.

HOW SAFE IS BALLOONING?

Hot air ballooning is considered one of the safest forms of flying.  The most dangerous part of a balloon flight is the commute to and/or from the office!  The major risks generally involve just abrasions or bumps during ground handling with treetops & hard landings.

Additionally, ALL aircraft require periodic inspections.  Periodic inspections range from annually or sooner for high usage balloons.  Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company, also holds a Certified Repair Station Rating and employee four maintenance inspectors.  As the sole Certified Repair Station in Southwestern Ohio, we not only service our balloons, we service the competition as well.

WHAT ARE THE BEST CONDITIONS FOR A BALLOON FLIGHT?

A balloon flies better in cooler weather since the hot air gets better lift. The safest time to fly a balloon is at sunrise or just shortly before sunset. Light winds less than 9 knots.

IS IT COLD IN A BALLOON?

Generally it is only 3.5 degrees F per 1000 feet. A typical flight does not reach great heights to notice a difference.

HOW LARGE ARE HOT AIR BALLOONS?

Most balloons are bigger than your house. They hold from 19,000 to over 300,000 cubic feet of air and loom from 50 to over 100 feet tall.

HOW DOES A HOT AIR BALLOON DIFFER FROM A GAS BALLOON?

A hot air balloon gets its lift from heating the air with propane fuel. A gas balloon gets its lift form lighter than air gases, usually helium or hydrogen.

WHAT KINDS OF FABRICS ARE USED?

Rip- stop nylon, Dacron polyester or taffeta is most commonly used.

WHAT ARE THE BASKETS MADE OF?

Because weight is critical in balloon flying, the baskets are made of light materials such as wicker, fiberglass or aluminum. Wicker is traditional.

DO BALLOONS WEAR OUT?

Yes, but well taken care of could last 300-500 hours before any fabric needs to be replaced.

WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO BALLOONS USE?

An altimeter to indicate altitude; variometer showing the rate of ascents or descents and a pyrometer which shows internal air temperature at the top of the balloon. Also each propane tank has a fuel gauge & the burners have a fuel pressure gauge.

GENTLE BREEZE caters to groups of two or more. Gift certificates, rides and further information can be obtained by contacting us at (513) 932-9007 or on the web at: www.hotairballoonrides.com

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