Hot Air Ballooning by Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson – Owner & Balloon Ride Pilot:
Adirondack Balloon Flights

Visitors to the Lake George Region have the opportunity to experience the first form of flight through the magic of a hot air balloon ride. The story of ballooning began in Paris, France in 1783. The brothers Joseph and Etienne de Montgolfier designed and built the first balloon that was flown for French Royalty and a crowd of 400,000. The feeling of escape and freedom that you experience during a balloon flight today are the same as those experienced by the very first aeronauts as they drifted over Paris. Only the technology built into the balloon has changed.

Today, the hot air balloon is operated under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, including maintenance and inspections, and is flown by a pilot with a FAA commercial license. State-of-the-art means high-powered propane burners for rapid heating of the air in the balloon, efficient venting for controlling altitude and landing, and padded compartments for the comfort and safety of the passengers, plus a flight computer to monitor altitude, rate of climb, and the flight temperature in the balloon.

Don’t expect to be able to go ballooning around noon. The weather conditions needed for ballooning are found early mornings around sunrise and just before sunset, when you find gentle winds that are ideal. Each balloon flight is a unique experience. The wind speed and direction determines your flight path and destination. The average flight covers 10 miles and lasts about 1 hour.

When you go on a balloon flight, wear casual outdoor attire, like jeans and sneakers—not your best clothes. The air temperature up in the balloon is about the same as on the ground, so don’t overdress. Layer for the cooler flights, and wear waterproof footwear for the morning flights, since fields can be wet with dew.

The amazing thing about a balloon flight is the lack of the sensation of motion, and, you will find every space offers you a window view. This makes a balloon great for taking pictures of the spectacular north country scenery, and eliminates the worry of motion sickness that some people get when going on an airplane or boat.

One of the last great challenges was finally realized in 1999 by the successful around-the-world balloon flight by the Swiss registered Breitling Orbiter 3 flight team of Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. A project that was fantasized in stories such as “Around the World in Eighty Days.” The 180-foot tall, hybrid hot air and helium balloon launched from Chateau d’Oex in the Swiss Alps, landed in the desert, west of Luxor, Egypt, traveling 29,054.6 miles in 19 days, 21 hours, 55 minutes.

For more information on Adirondack Balloon Flights, click below.