Balloon in Air!

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I wondered why balloon ride is so expensive even after having a Groupon Coupon. Here is why.

Team of 2 people carry a huge nylon balloon and a wooden basket  in their van.Introduction and safety instructions are given. Later passengers are taken with them to the location where they can set up the huge balloon to ride in the air.

Weather plays an important role to fly a hot air balloon.First they check for the wind speed .Meanwhile they keep checking for wind in certain miles per hour,clouds and storm conditions. A small balloon is let go in the air check the wind direction. Only when the weather is ideal they set up the balloon for ride.

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Now, setting up the balloon is not an easy task at all.

First the basket is unloaded from the van. Then the pilot checks the burners and propane gas cylinders in the basket. After the basket is set, a huge nylon balloon is laid on the ground and connected to the wooden basket. A high speed fan is used to blow air into the balloon. After the balloon is fully bloated they use the gas to let it stand connected to the basket. Now the balloon is ready to fly.

Propane gas is used to hold the balloon in the air.When propane gas flows through the burner, the gushing fire sends hot air into the balloon.

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We all got into the basket with our pilot Jason. We were 2 couples plus the pilot. Basket is big enough for 5 to stand comfortably.To keep the balloon flying in the air, the pilot has to keep sending  hot air into the balloon. When the hot air is blown into the balloon, you can feel the heat. It’s hot.

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We went around 4 miles at a height of 2000 ft in the air. Its always a beautiful view of the place when seen from a height. We could see Salem from the top. The pond, swamps, forest, communities, million dollar homes.People on the ground are so excited to see the balloon flying the air with people inside it.

Why is balloon ride an Adventure sport? It is definitely an adventure to the Pilot. The pilot has to constantly keep the balloon in the air flying. Landing is the most exciting part .They have 3 types of lading. Soft Landing,hard landing and crash landing.There is no option to choose the type of landing. Consider yourself lucky if you land safely. Else it is an adventure.

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In our case it was soft landing. But while we were landing we crashed into a tree and broke few branches. That was exciting for us.
While the balloon is in the air, Pilot’s partner Michelle tracked the balloon on road. The lady driving does a great job of tracking the balloon and landing it.

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Balloon has no specific place to park. The Pilot has to choose the place to land. This place can be anybody’s front yard or back yard of the house. Since balloon ride is common in the area, people might be aware that the balloon might land in or around the house. People who are not aware find it very exciting to see a balloon land.

It is a Balloonist tradition to leave a thank you note with a champagne bottle at the place they park. A goodwill gesture thanking the owners of the house. After we landed safely and packed up, There were a small treat. History of the hot air balloons  ,champagne, snacks, certificate and a souvenir.

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It’s a lot of effort and hard work to fly and land a balloon and they did a great job.
http://infinityballooning.com/

All in all a great experience. Thank you Jason and Michelle for landing us safely.

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