How A Pilot Flies A Hot Air Balloon

balloon flights

Being a hot air balloon pilot needs skill and knowledge of weather and wind conditions. Before the balloons launch, the pilot will be in contact with the local weather station getting relevant information on wind speeds and climate changes in the surrounding area; this ensures that the weather conditions are ideal for ballooning and the balloon can be launched.

Because a hot air balloon works on the principle that hot air rises, to make to balloon ascend the pilot fires the balloons burners to fill the envelope with hot air; the longer the pilot fires the burners the higher the balloon rises into the air.

To make the balloon descend the pilot lets out some of the hot air; this is done in two ways, either by using the burners less frequently or by pulling the parachute valve. The parachute valve is a circle of fabric that overlaps a cut out at the top of the balloon envelope, when the valve is opened it lets out some of the hot air making the balloon descend towards the ground.

Because a hot air balloon is not manually steered by the pilot, but travels with the wind, the pilot must use their knowledge of the wind to their advantage. Wind blows in different directions at different altitudes, so to manoeuvre the balloon to different locations the pilot will ascend and descend to the right altitude and ride with the wind.

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