Remember, we are in an air raft floating gently down stream. There is very little sense of motion... only floating. You will not experience the sensations you would expect in other forms of flying. The scenery is great. You may fly at treetop level, or much higher, depending on the air speed, direction, and our need to guide the balloon to an area for landing. You can see great distances. You might see the dawn of a day or a beautiful sunset, talk with people below, pick leaves from trees, see a wide variety of wild life or perhaps even glide across the surface of a lake. All of your senses come to play as you press your nose against the sky!
What about safety? Our staff has over thirty years experience and several thousand hours flying time. We make every effort to provide a safe and enjoyable ballooning experience. Our balloon design is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and must, by law, undergo regular inspections. Our flight crews are Federal Aviation Administration commercially rated balloon pilots. Captain Robert Willbanks is President/CEO of Aeronautical Enterprises Inc., Georgia's oldest and most experienced balloon company. He is one of the most experienced hot-air balloon pilots in the world.
What about the weather? Because we float with the wind, our weather requirements are very strict. We strive for winds less than ten miles per hour with no inclement weather in the area. Prior to your adventure, we obtain a weather briefing from the FAA Flight Service Station. Using that information as a background, we make our wind and weather observation from the launch site. At times, we may cancel a flight to ensure that the conditions are right for an enjoyable and safe trip. If Mother Nature does not cooperate, we will reschedule your charter just as soon as we can find a date that works with your calendar and ours.
Are there physical Limitations? We accept passengers who have generally good health. There is no lower age limit so long as the child has no fear of the burner noise and is able to remain still for the flight duration of approximately an hour. Our retrieval crew will rig and handle the equipment. However, if you prefer to participate, you are welcome to do so. Just ask your balloon captain. Passenger physical limitations will be accommodated at the pilot's discretion based on an evaluation of the passenger. Because landing conditions cannot be predetermined, we do not recommend that pregnant women participate in ballooning until after delivery. You must advise our staff if you have any history of injury to your back, hips, legs, ankles or feet. If you can safely jump off a chair to the ground, you should be able to go ballooning.
When can I go? Ballooning takes place near dawn or dusk when the wind tends to be lightest and when the sun is low in the sky. Flights are available at sunrise and about three hours before sunset. If you have scheduled a morning flight, you need to arrive at the launch site shortly before legal sunrise. An evening flight begins approximately 3 hours prior to sunset. Morning or evening, it is gorgeous! We will get a last minute weather briefing and probably launch a toy helium balloon to check the wind direction and speed.
Then we will choose a launch site, unpack the balloon, assemble it and make safety checks. After inflating with cold air from a gasoline powered fan, we light the burner and heat the balloon until it comes upright. Now begins your ascent into the Wild Blue Yonder. We encourage you to make photos and videos during the entire process and participate in the inflation process as much as you wish. The flight itself will last approximately one hour, depending upon weight, weather and availability of landing sites. The whole experience will take about three hours, from unpacking through the champagne toast afterwards. With your charter, we provide complimentary champagne or beverage of your choice following the flight.
What should I wear? We suggest you wear comfortable, casual clothing, long pants and waterproof shoes and socks for dewy mornings. Clothing in layers is a good way to adjust to temperature changes. And of course, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended according to the weather requirements. Many passengers bring a bottle of water for the trip, and insect repellant. We provide water at the beginning and end of the trip, and beverages during the celebration.
How do I schedule my flight? CALL 1-877-BALLOON. A $200 non-refundable deposit will be required to hold a flight date. Any flight cancelled due to weather conditions will be rescheduled at the next available date (We fly 7 days a week, weather permitting).
We ask that you call us after 8:00p.m. on the evening before your scheduled flight to discuss the weather and launch locations. We select our final launch location based on the speed and direction of the wind.
All passengers are required to sign a wavier of liability prior to the flight.