A: No and Yes. Sound confusing? In the United States, there exists no requirement nor authoritative body to govern or regulate any code of ethics, however the United States does enforce all pilots to be licensed. While this is good, we have subscribed to a code of ethics as outlined in the British Balloon Club. As a United States Company, we cannot enroll membership into a UK group, however we voluntarily uphold these BBC Guidelines. Additionally, Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company enrolled as a charter member into the new US-based (and voluntary) Balloon Ride Operators Division of the Balloon Federation of America.
A: Because it is illegal for any non-governmental agency to imply any kind of endorsement! See the FAA website and see for yourself.
However, all our pilots, instructors, examiners and repair personnel ARE FAA licensed. We currently hold over 20 licenses and ratings within the USA, as well as foreign countries.
On the other hand, when you plan to take a ride locally, then we recommend to buy locally. Of course we'd like you to purchase from us, just keeping your dollar local, helps the local economy and well as saving you money from the middleman associated with nationwide re-sellers. Also, most nationwide re-sellers do not own the actual aircraft.
A: Shockingly, NO! Believe it or not, a lot of balloon operators operate as a small side business, augmented by the owner's full-time job somewhere else. While this in itself is just fine, it does tend to allow operators just to piggy-back on their personal insurance policies. The three main areas:
A: Pretty much noted above as all factors add cost. The cost of operation of ANY aircraft increases yearly with general operating expenses. We all watch gas prices, but in the grand scheme of flight operations, it's actually a very small factor. Things like appropriate insurance, new and updated state-of-the-art equipment, professional pilots, experienced grounds crewmen all factor into the price of a flight, which reflects in the cost of a balloon ride. There are cheaper options out there, we know that.
A: Some operators state they have been flying for over 20 years, or more. That sounds like a ton of experience. Yes it would be! The only part omitted could be a ten year hiatus between the first flight and today. Yep, we've heard this one! Our operations stem way back to 1978, under a different name and original pilot. We CAN state that our senior pilot has been flying since 1981. Additionally, pilots are required to maintain something call currency, meaning a pilot completes at least 3 flights within 3 months and if they fall outside the minimum requirements, that pilot must complete a flight review before commencing with flight operations. Our senior pilot not only has been flying since 1981, but has also been flying consecutively ever since, ALWAYS completing the minimum flight requirements at all times since 1981, without a gap in service, and has completed flight reviews as well as administered flight reviews to our competition.
We believe you DO get what you pay for with Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Company, Ltd. Thank you for your consideration! Research, research!
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