Friendship Hot Air Balloon Company
Frequently Asked Questions---FAQ
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- General Questions & Answers
- Who can fly a balloon?
The Federal Aviation Administration issues a Balloon Pilot Certificate to candidates who pass an FAA written examination, obtain a prescribed number of hours in a balloon, make a solo flight to altitude, pass a flight test, and submit a medical statement.
- How many people does it take to inflate a balloon?
A minimum of three but preferably four. If the wind is over 8 knots, six to 10 people may be needed.
- How do you steer a balloon?
- The balloon goes wherever the wind takes it. However, pilots can seek higher or lower altitudes to find wind currents of various direction. We refer to it as the truest form of sailing.
- How safe is a balloon?
- Hot air ballooning is considered one of the safest forms of flying. The major risks are tangling with powerlines and treetops and hard landings. Serious accidents are rare. It is a sport that demands skill.
- Is it cold in a balloon?
- At high altitude, it is colder than at ground level, generally 3.5 degrees colder for each 1,000 feet of altitude.
- What are the best conditions for flight in a balloon?
- A balloon flies better in cooler weather since the hot air gets a better "lift." Balloonists usually fly just after dawn or before dusk, because there is less wind at these times.
- How large are hot air balloons?
- Most balloons are larger than your house. They hold from 19,000 to 240,000 cubic feet of air and loom from 50 to 90 feet.
- How does a hot air balloon differ from a gas balloon?
- A hot air balloon gets its lift from heating the air with propane fuel. A gas balloon gets its lift from lighter than air gases, usually heliun or hydrogen.
- What kinds of fabric are used?
- Rip-stop nylon, dacron, taffeta and nylon are the most common.
- What are the baskets that hang from balloons made of?
- Because weight is critical in balloon flying, the baskets are made of light materials such as wicker, fiberglass or aluminum.
- Do balloons wear out?
- If well taken care of, a balloon envelope should last approximately 500 flying hours.
- What instruments do balloons use?
- An altimeter to indicate altitude, a variometer showing its rate of climb or decent, a compass to show directions, and a temperature gage to show how hot the fabric is at the top of the balloon. Each propane tank has a fuel gauge, and the burner has a fuel pressure gauge.