If you stop to think about it, how often have you actually seen a hot air balloon land? Probably not very often, if ever! Hot air balloon landings are influenced by many environmental factors. And these factors, including wind speed, wind direction, and the landing site, all have an influence on where the ride ultimately ends. On the day of a ride, while you’re busy getting ready and making your way to the launch site, your pilot and crew are carefully planning the perfect landing spot. If you’ve ever wondered “where do hot air balloons land?”, here’s your answer.
Gone With The Wind
One of the biggest influencing factors on where Vegas balloon rides ultimately end is wind direction. The wind propels the balloon along throughout the flight, so both the launch and landing are based on current wind direction. If the wind is blowing from the south, for instance, the balloon will be launched so that it travels north. What adds a bit of complexity to this seemingly simple equation in hot air ballooning is the fact that wind direction can differ with altitude. Once you’re airborne, the pilot will use the changing wind directions to maneuver the balloon to the landing spot.
Factoring In Wind Speed
Wind speed also determines where the balloon lands and how accurate the landing will be. In gentle winds, the pilot can land the balloon in a precise location. But if wind speed is greater, the balloon will travel a longer distance. This means that landings will be extended as the balloon needs more time to slow down. Sometimes the balloon will drag along the ground, similar to a plane landing, before it comes to a stop. For safety reasons, flights are canceled if wind speeds are too high.
Coming In For Landing
Like any aircraft, a hot air balloon needs a certain amount of space to make a safe landing. The area for landing is carefully scoped out by the pilot and staff before a flight. As you’re enjoying the scenery during the flight, your pilot will be in close contact with the ground crew to discuss where the balloon will land and to make sure there are no safety hazards that would prevent a safe landing, such as power lines and obstacles. In addition to enabling a safe landing, the space must also be big enough to properly dismantle the balloon.
As you probably guessed, (and hoped!), there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that Las Vegas balloon rides are nothing less than safe, enjoyable, and relaxing experiences for guests. Now that you know how a balloon landing site is chosen, you’ll appreciate the hard work that your pilot and ground crew do even more. If you’re curious about the landing or other aspects of a balloon’s flight, don’t hesitate to ask the pilot before, during, or after a flight!