As you’re busy getting ready for your hot air balloon Las Vegas adventure, the pilot and crew are behind the scenes deciding “weather” or not to fly. What you might not realize is that the weather actually plays a large role in determining whether or not you fly. Therefore, your pilot and flight crew will keep an eye on the radar, and the skies for that matter, up to the minute that you take off. While you might be disappointed if your flight gets canceled due to weather, you can rest assured that such a decision is made to ensure that you, fellow passengers, and the pilot stay safe.
Gone With the Wind?
If there’s one weather factor that affects whether or not a hot air balloon launches more than any, it’s the wind. Hot air balloons cannot fly if ground wind speeds exceed 10 MPH. Ideal wind speeds are in the range of 4-6 MPH. In addition to falling within a certain speed range, winds should be stable and light. In addition to interfering with steering and passenger comfort, wind affects the success of pre-flight balloon inflation. The balloon is essentially a large sail, and winds that are too strong can batter the balloon around on the ground.
Unlike planes, pilots in hot air balloons do not have the luxury of navigating with instruments if the weather is poor. Therefore, conditions that impact visibility, such as haze, fog, and mist, may ground Vegas hot air balloon rides. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires hot air balloons to have a minimum of one-mile visibility to fly. A flight that’s canceled because of poor visibility works in your favor anyways, as one of the best parts of the flight is the spectacular view!
Rain and Thunderstorms
It probably goes without saying that thunderstorms will ground a hot air balloon ride. But what is a bit more challenging is the fact that a pilot may sometimes need to make a decision based on a forecast. As a rule of thumb, hot air balloon pilots make a decision about whether or not to fly by looking at a forecast with weather predictions no more than four hours out from the scheduled ride time.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
Another factor that affects whether or not a balloon flies is the temperature. Balloons are filled with air, and the temperature to which they’re heated is based on the outside temperature. At a minimum, balloons must be 140 degrees Fahrenheit to fly. If the outside temperature is too hot or too cold, your flight will be canceled.
Hot air balloon Las Vegas flights might look simple from the ground, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure your ride is safe. Governed by a pilot’s decision and applicable FAA regulations, the weather will ultimately determine whether or not your balloon flies on a given day. Just remember that if it is canceled, it’s for your own good, and you can look forward to a future flight in better conditions!