How High Can Hot Air Balloons Go?

You’re in good company if you find yourself wondering how high do hot air balloons fly? For many potential riders, this question helps them understand if they will feel safe on the balloon. The most relevant answer to this question for the average person is a height of a few thousand feet, with 3,000 as the upper limit. This allows for a view from above that captures the beauty of nature at a unique angle and creates a peaceful experience. The commercial flights that are available to people with no experience flying balloons are limited to this height. However, some extreme pilots have gone up to 113,000 feet in the air on stunt balloon rides. Flying at such heights is very unusual because of safety concerns and the amount of fuel needed to reach that altitude.

Standard Flying Heights

When it is time for a hot air balloon to land, the pilot will open the parachute valve. The valve is located at the top of the envelope, or balloon portion, and lets out the hot air through a vent. This lets the balloon lose altitude slowly as the buoyant hot air escapes, and the air inside the balloon becomes as cool as the air around it. Landing can be a very difficult task, so pilots typically choose wide, open areas of vacant ground as a landing spot. Fields and meadows are common choices. An open area is necessary because there is no steering mechanism in a balloon, so empty spaces let pilots land safely.

How Do You Control a Hot Air Balloon?

Your pilot will steer your hot air balloon by adjusting the burner to make the balloon go higher or lower in altitude. How high can a hot air balloon fly? The pilot has complete control over the altitude through the burners. These adjustments also let the pilot take advantage of different wind currents, which go in various directions depending on altitude. The pilot can aim to go in one direction by finding a wind current that goes in the desired direction. Ultimately, the wind guides your hot air balloon trip, making it a fun and unique form of transportation. Commercial hot air balloon rides always include a chase vehicle down below that will follow the balloon as it flies. When you land, the chase vehicle will be waiting nearby so it can drive you back to the base.

What Qualifications Does a Hot Air Balloon Pilot Have?

In order to fly a hot air balloon, you need a Balloon Pilot Certificate. Pilots are required to pass an examination through the Federal Aviation Administration to prove that they can safely control a balloon. To qualify for the certificate, pilots must have several hours of experience working in hot air balloons. The certificate requirements include a written portion, a flight test and oral examination, meeting the altitude requirements on a test flight, and making a successful flight alone. Hot air balloons are monitored by the FAA just like other aircraft, so you can be sure you are in capable hands when you take a ride in one.

How Long Can a Hot Air Balloon Fly?

You may be wondering how long a hot air balloon can stay in the air. Hot air balloons are able to fly by creating hot air. The length of time they can fly depends on the amount of fuel on board. Commercial flights typically last about an hour in length. Ideal weather conditions are less than 10 mph, which means that your travel overall will likely end up being only a few miles. This slow, leisurely speed of movement will allow you to soak in the gorgeous views and take excellent photography. Contact us today for more information!

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