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Get Involved in Ballooning

inflating the balloonIf you are one of those who find hot air balloons fascinating, you've probably dreamt of going for a balloon ride, or maybe even piloting one.

Did you know it's relatively easy to get involved in ballooning? Getting involved can be as simple as following a balloon and meeting it at its landing spot. There are lots of other ways to get involved, a few of which we explain here:

Buy a balloon ride

Buying a balloon ride for yourself is often the most direct way of learning about the sport. Ask if you can help with the inflation and deflation of the balloon - most passengers enjoy helping which maximizes your experience.

There are lots of companies who offer balloon rides. The flight lasts generally an hour, and you should plan to spend about 3-4 hours for the entire adventure. Flights will take place near dawn and dusk since that's when the wind is the calmest.

You can find a balloon ride company in our Ride Directory or in your local phone book.

Call a Local Pilot

If there are any local hot air balloon pilots in your area, give them a call and tell them you are interested in crewing. Most balloon pilots are very happy to accept new crew people. You'll help with all aspects of the flight, and will ride in the chase vehicle as it follows the balloon during flight. Don't expect to fly, as this very important job will keep you grounded. Your efforts will be appreciated and you'll learn all about balloon flight quickly.

Go to a Festival

Balloon Festivals are a popular place to watch balloons fly. There are hundreds of balloon festivals around the world each year, with the majority occurring in the summer or fall. Some festivals allow spectators to walk amongst the balloons, while others may keep spectators away from the pilots and crews.

If you go to a festival, don't be shy -- balloonists are happy to answer your questions, and its possible you'll find a balloonist that lives near you. We are working on the new version of our Festival Directory, and if you'd like to know when it's available, just subscribe to our newsletter (in the box to the left).

Find a Balloon Club

There may be a balloon club near you, which would be a great way to find a balloonist to help. Many pilots welcome new crew members, and volunteering to be an a balloon crew is probably the quickest way to learn about the sport. Our Balloon Club page is a great place to find out of there is a club near you.

Learn to Fly

If you've as fascinated about the idea of learning to fly a balloon as we are, we think you'll enjoy the current edition of the FAA's Balloon Flying Handbook.

This 252 page guide provides comprehensive information about flying balloons. It is used by some flight instructors as they train students.

Balloon Flying Handbook It covers all the important aspects including both actual flying and regulatory matters. While some of the topics are best understood while training, it serves as a window into the world of ballooning for even the casual armchair pilot.

The Balloon Flying Handbook is in PDF format and can be downloaded immediately.

Click the image to purchase and download this book now.

New Balloon Ride Business Guide

We are often asked about the feasibility of starting a balloon ride business in some far-off location. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers since there are many variables to consider. Everything from weather, location, regulations, to the size of balloon that is used can make or break a balloon ride business.

Our article about how to get a balloon pilot's license is a great overview of the steps needed to learn to fly a balloon, but for those interested in the business side of starting a balloon ride business will get valuable information from our new book.

Balloon Flying HandbookStarting a Balloon Ride Business
We've just published our own guide that will give all the items, point by point, that you need to research before you spend tens of thousands of dollars on a hot air balloon and support equipment.

This book was written by a veteran of the balloon business who has been a pilot for over 30 years. This insider's guide will prove invaluable as you do your research.

We've got other great books in our Pilot's section.

Search our site: 

Learn About Ballooning

preparing for a balloon rideWe regularly run in to people who have dreamt of going for a balloon ride, or maybe even becoming involved as a pilot or crew.

Fortunately it's relatively easy to get involved in ballooning. Sometimes it's as simple as following a balloon and meeting the crew at the landing. There are lots of other ways to get involved, a few of which we explain here:

Buy a balloon ride

Buying a balloon ride for yourself is often the most direct way of learning about the sport. Ask if you can help with the inflation and deflation of the balloon - most passengers enjoy helping since it maximizes your experience.

There are lots of companies who offer balloon rides. The flight lasts generally an hour, and you should plan to spend about 3-4 hours for the entire adventure. Flights will take place near dawn and dusk since that's when the wind is the calmest.

You can find an approved balloon ride company in our Ride Directory. If there aren't any balloon companies near you, plan to go for a balloon ride during your next vacation!