You see them flying in the air and you think to yourself "I want to fly in a hot air ballon." Life is short, why not take a flight this year?
Pilots are currently booking passengers for flights at Carolina BalloonFest. Flights are $225 per person. That's a lot of money, you say? We say it is an experience of a lifetime and worth every penny!
There are definitely reasons for the cost. Pilots have to be licensed, and not just a regular pilot's license to take paying passengers. They must also be a commercial pilot, so additional certification is required. They need a ballon, of course, and those cost money. Think price of a car. Some very high priced, though sometimes they can be purchased used. But once a pilot gets the balloon, they have to keep it in top flying shape, with regular mandatory inspections. Then they need a chase vehicle.....something that can hold a balloon, crew, and passengers. Propane for the balloon, gasoline for the chase vehicle, and insurance for both. This is just the tip of the iceberg in ballooning expenses, but get the picture? It is not a cheap sport! It's hard to get rich giving rides.
Carolina BalloonFest is a very popular event to mark special occasions. How about celebrating that special birthday, that "cancer free" celebration, that new job, or that special anniversary?
So much more to say about rides. There will just have to be a part two! But if you are ready to book, go to carolinaballoonfest.com, to the tab "Pilots and Hot Air Balloons", and you'll find contact information for all of our pilots offering rides at Carolina BalloonFest. You'll also find pictures of their balloons, in case you're going for a certain look, or want to coordinate your outfit! Have fun with it. We hope to see you in the skies!
We're excited that Daniel Sasser is a licensed hot air balloon pilot and Madison Sharpe is a student approved to fly solo as he finishes his training. Congratulations to both! It's exciting for us to see young pilots embracing this sport.
You didn't know that balloon pilots have to be licensed? Yes, and it takes many hours of both classroom work and supervised flying to make sure they have mastered the skills and are ready to be certified to fly.
There are schools where some pilots go to train, but the vast majority trade their services as crew to local commercial pilots for instruction time. This means a lot of hours need to be dedicated to the task and they have to really want to learn to fly.
It was in June that I was able to be Daniel's first non-pilot passenger. Would that scare you? It didn't me. I had confidence in the pilots who had taught him (some of the best in the country), I knew how seriously Daniel had taken the training, and I also knew he understood the responsibility of being a pilot with passengers.
We had a wonderful ride in the eastern part of the county and a perfect landing. Some folks saw us flying in the air over their house and when they saw we couldn't land in their neighborhood, they put their children in their car and joined our chase crew in following the balloon. They watched the landing and even lended a hand when we were packing the balloon up. The neighbors in the Spring Forest neighborhood welcomed us with open arms. It's fun when the landowners make landing an impromptu party!
These won't be the last new pilots you see in this area. Others are in training now. Two of our young people who crew for pilots in the area, Duncan Dunavent and Tyler Ayers, attended the Great Eastern Balloon Camp this summer. You just may see these guys as pilots at BalloonFest in future years.
Balloonmeister Sam Parks requires that pilots that fly at Carolina BalloonFest have 100 solo hours under their belt. Those who fly passengers for money must be licensed commercially, with additional training that goes beyond the private pilot's license.
Thinking about taking a flight at Carolina BalloonFest? Check out the Pilots & Balloons page on our where you will find contact information for those pilots who are booking passengers during the event. Flights are $225 per person.
On The Breeze ~
Festival news about
Rain or Shine... Carolina BalloonFest is open October 18-20, 2019!
Hot Air Balloon Flights are scheduled twice daily; early morning & late afternoon. All ballooning activities including static display, tethered rides and balloon flights are weather-dependent. The decision to inflate hot air balloons is made just prior to the scheduled ballooning activity. Please note that due to the popularity of our festival, Saturday is our most popular festival day and the admissions booths will close when we reach maximum capacity. This is a decision out of our control and made by local law enforcement. Tickets are non-refundable. National Balloon Rally Charities donates a portion of our festival proceeds to other local nonprofits and surrounding community agencies.
National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. is an incorporated 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible. A portion of proceeds raised through Carolina BalloonFest are distributed to local nonprofit organizations. PO Box 267 ~ Statesville NC 28687