With every form of aviation, only extensive training, knowledge, and experience qualify an individual to become a certified, licensed pilot. Since elements of performance and safety pertain to all aircraft, pilots of hot air balloons must be licensed and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in the same way as fixed wing and helicopter pilots.
World-class, professional Balloons Above the Valley pilots have provided over 40 years of safe and comfortable Napa hot air balloon rides over Napa Valley’s breathtaking scenery.
With this in mind, let’s explore the fundamentals of flying a Napa hot air balloon from Point A to Point B.
The primary information that inexperienced balloon passengers should know is that the pilot can only steer by climbing or descending to altitudes where the wind is blowing in the desired direction. To accomplish this successfully requires extensive preparation, knowledge, and experience. Our pilots are Napa hot air balloon experts and have been flying for years.
Hot air balloons fly because hot air is lighter than cooler air. When heated air is captured in an enclosed envelope, also known as the balloon, it and any attachments and passengers begin to rise. The hotter the atmosphere within the balloon, the higher the balloon will rise.
Heating and Cooling the Air
Hot air balloons are equipped with propane burners that the pilot can turn up or down to initiate a change in altitude. At take-off, the pilot will gradually heat the air to fill the balloon. At a sufficiently high temperature, the balloon and occupants begin to rise.
Blow with the Wind
Experienced Napa hot air balloon pilots must be students of the wind. Unlike just about any other conveyance, steering a hot air balloon is not a precision activity. Each day, prior to take-off, pilots pore over wind charts and weather forecasts to determine how and whether specific courses are feasible. With all the necessary information and skills, a predictable course is achievable.
Landing a Napa Hot Air Balloon
Once the target landing spot is identified, one that is totally void of trees and power lines, the pilot contacts the ground crew to advise where the balloon will be landing. By opening valves that slowly release hot air, the pilot initiates a controlled descent.
Maintaining control while descending is the key talent of an experienced Napa hot air balloon pilot since gentle landings are essential. Often the pilot will allow the passenger compartment to touch the ground gently a few times before coming to a soft landing.
Balloons Above the Valley
Napa hot air balloon rides with the experienced professionals at Balloons Above the Valley are safe, thrilling, and memorable. The entire organization is geared toward providing the most pleasant and stress-free adventure imaginable.
And, Balloons Above the Valley also offers additional packages to complement your balloon ride. You may add a gourmet brunch and even a wine tour following your morning Napa hot air balloon ride.
Learn more about the Balloons Above the Valley packages and make your reservations today!