How to Get Your Hot Air Balloon Pilot License

Perhaps, after going on hot air balloon rides Las Vegas, you want to fly your own balloon! As with any aircraft, becoming a hot air balloon pilot takes time and dedication. Although the training to become a licensed balloon pilot is not as comprehensive as the requirements to fly a plane, you’ll need to complete both instructor-led and solo flights before passing a final test to get your license. There are also certain requirements you must meet to become a student, private, or commercial pilot.

Basic Requirements

If you want to pilot Las Vegas balloon rides, the first step is making sure you meet all requisite basic requirements as detailed by USA Today. To start training as a student pilot, you must be at least 14 years old. You must also be proficient in English. Finally, you can’t have any pre-existing medical condition that will interfere with your ability to safely operate a hot air balloon.

Additional requirements must be met if you want to become a private or a commercial pilot. To become a pilot who flies others, you must be a minimum of 16 years old. Additionally, you are required to complete at least 10 hours of flight time, which includes at least one solo flight. You must ascend 2,000 feet or higher during one of your training flights, and you must complete two flights that are an hour long, which is the longest time a commercial hot air balloon flies. After making two separate hour-long flights within a two-month time period, your skills will be assessed and you’ll receive a pilot rating.

Once you fulfill your flight training time, you’ll need to pass FAA-administered tests in order to get your license.

Finding an Instructor

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to pilot lessons, signing up for Las Vegas balloon rides is a good place to begin. Your pilot may very well have suggestions of instructors who you can contact to inquire about lessons. A pilot can also ask around for recommendations for instructors from others in the ballooning community. But even after you find an instructor, it never hurts to keep looking. By taking lessons from multiple pilots, you’ll be able to fly on a regular basis and learn a variety of flying techniques and tips.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pilot?

The answer to this question is “it depends”! There are many factors that affect the time it takes to complete pilot training, including your schedule, the availability of an instructor, and suitable flight days. Some people complete their pilot training in two weeks. For others, it can take closer to a year.

Like some, you may have been inspired to become a hot air balloon pilot after a few Las Vegas balloon rides. Taking the step from being a passenger to actually flying the balloon is a process, but it’s one that is ultimately rewarding. If you’re in good physical health, complete the requisite flight time, and pass the FAA pilot tests, you’ll be ready to start flying as a newly licensed pilot.


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