Hot Air Ballooning by Rob Swinton

Majestic Balloon Flights

Many visitors to the Lake George-Adirondack Region explore the area through various hiking trails and through beautiful scenic drives.  There are some that have chosen to view the area in a different way.  They’ve enjoyed a hot air balloon flight.  A hot air balloon flight is one of the most amazing experiences that one can have.  The panoramic view of the area below gives the passengers a “birds eye” view of the upstate New York Region.

Ballooning began in the 18th Century in France.  Early uses of the balloon include using it for observation in the Civil War.  Although the equipment used in ballooning has been modernized over the years, the concept has remained the same; and is one of the most unique experiences in the world of flight.

Everyone who takes a balloon flight will experience it differently.  Although  there are many shared thrills and emotions that are common to all, most people enjoy the tranquility of a flight while others find it exhilarating.  The quietness of the flight is only interrupted by the sound of the burners.

The adventure begins when you meet the pilot and the crew.  They will take you to the launch area, where the crew and pilot will prepare the balloon for inflation.  After inflation, the pilot will instruct the passengers to get into the basket, and the flight will begin.  The flight lasts approximately one hour.  During the flight, the passengers will experience a 360 degree view of the area below.  The balloon travels with the wind, so the feeling is very smooth and peaceful.  Throughout the flight, the chase crew remains in contact with the pilot, so upon landing the chase crew is there to greet the pilot and the passengers.

After landing, the pilot and crew will deflate and pack away the balloon.  Most pilots will then have an “after flight celebration” that includes a champagne toast and a picnic with the crew and passengers.

One of the special things about a balloon flight is that it’s a “hands on” activity for all.  Some pilots will often invite and encourage the passengers to help the crew and become part of the whole experience.  And because of the size of the basket (an average basket will hold 3-4 passengers), the experience is very intimate and personal.  Flights are not recommended for persons with health concerns or women who are pregnant.

A hot air balloon flight is weather dependent.  The weather has to be cooperative for the flight to occur.  The winds should be light, and there should be no rain.  Flights can be year round but occur more frequently between spring and fall.  Just after sunrise and a few hours before sunset is the most ideal time that balloons can fly.

If you decide to plan a flight, plan for approximately a 3 hour excursion.  Wear comfortable clothing and dress for the temperature of the day.  You should also wear shoes suitable for walking in a country field.  Because of the limited space in the basket, reservations are required.

Many people decide to take a flight after receiving a gift certificate, or seeing a balloon in flight, or even attending a balloon festival. Whatever the reason, it is definitely an experience that one will never forget.

Click below for more information on Majestic Balloon Flights.