Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do hot air balloons fly so early in the morning?
Most of the reason is the weather. The wind and weather is most stable at sunrise, the coldest part of the day. This allows us to inflate and launch easily, and makes landing the hot air balloon simpler. Watching the sunrise is a beautiful part of the experience, as is the champagne breakfast after the flight – they’re also benefits of the early morning flight.
Q: What should I wear?
- A warm jacket.
- Comfortable layers of clothing.
- Sturdy closed-toe shoes and warm socks. We will be walking on grass and parkland so heels are not acceptable. Your feet may get wet so bring a change of socks.
- A hat, cap or beanie. The burners radiate heat, so we recommend a hat, or a beanie in winter.
- Gloves in winter.
The coldest part of the morning is on the launch site, because a layer of cold air settles on the ground overnight. Once you are in the air above this layer, the temperature will rise and generally be very comfortable. Because the balloon moves with the wind, you won’t feel any wind chill. As a guide, our pilot flies with a t-shirt and shirt all year round, but bring layers for the launch site.
Q: Does it get colder as we get higher?
The coldest part of the morning is on the launch site, because a layer of cold air settles on the ground overnight. Once you are in the air above this layer, the temperature will rise and generally be very comfortable. Because the balloon moves with the wind, you won’t feel any wind chill.
Q: Where do we meet on the morning of my hot air balloon flight?
For Melbourne flights, we meet at Sofi’s Lounge, in the lobby of the Melbourne Sofitel at 25 Collins Street (the Spring St end). For Yarra Valley flights, we meet at RACV Healesville Country Club, 122 Healesville-Kinglake Rd, Healesville Vic 3777.
Q: Where do we take off from?
The parks we use are chosen on the day and depend on the wind direction and speed in the morning. We have launch and landing site all over Melbourne, thanks to the city’s expansive and numerous parks and gardens. Some commonly used sites are Royal Park, Fawkner Park, Albert Par and Yarra Bend/Studley Park. An example: If the wind is coming from the South (a Southerly) and not very fast (10-15kph) we may launch from Fawkner Park and fly to Royal Park.
Q: What direction will we fly?
Your hot air balloon will fly in the direction of the winds on the morning. The pilot can change direction by finding winds of a different direction at a different altitude.
Q: How high does a hot air balloon fly?
Generally we fly between 500 – 2500 feet, sometimes higher and sometimes lower. Depending on weather conditions, our pilots give you some variety of heights during your flight.
Q: How long is a hot air balloon flight?
Our hot air balloon flights last for roughly an hour, sometimes more. This depends on the wind speed on the morning.
Q: What happens in cases of bad weather?
If our pilots decide that the weather is not suitable for flying, they will cancel the flight. You will be notified of this, and will be able to reschedule your flight to another day. The expiry date of your booking/voucher will be extended to give you more time to find a date to fly with us.
Q: How does the pilot steer the hot air balloon?
Your pilot can change the course of the balloon by changing altitude. At different heights, the wind direction is often different, and the pilot can change altitude to use these different wind directions. The wind reading that you will see the pilot doing before your flight are so they know what the wind directions are on that day. An example: At 500 feet the wind may be travelling east. At 1500 feet the wind may be traveling north. This means that by changing altitude between these heights, the pilot can direct the hot air balloon east, or north and anywhere in between.
Q: Can I fly if I am pregnant?
While we do conduct very safe operations, due to the fact that we sometimes have slightly bumpy landings, we cannot allow anybody who is pregnant to fly with us. If you have already booked in to fly and later found out you are pregnant, contact our office and we'll gladly hold your booking until after you have given birth.
Q: What age does a child have to be to fly?
Our minimum age for children to fly is 6 years old; this is a restriction enforced by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and is specified on our Air Operators' Certificate, so unfortunately we cannot allow any child under the age of 6, including infants, to fly with us.