Twin Balloons USA Tour
The upside-down balloon appears at first glance to be standing on its head. In actual fact, there is a concealed cabin on the underside and a further dummy cabin at the top. The engineers of the manufacturing company Cameron Balloons worked with great enthusiasm to produce this “special shape” balloon, which is unique in the world.
The ballooning twins
Festo's two hot air balloons are often seen together. The reason is simple: as the upside-down balloon rises into the sky, it needs to be guided. Its unusual design, with its integrated cabin beneath its skirt (or lower envelope), obscures the pilot's vision, meaning that s/he is required to fly blind. The pilot therefore needs directions from the accompanying balloon, particularly during the tricky landing phase.
Frequently asked questions
Why do balloon flights take place in the early morning and late evening?
Balloons need cool stable conditions in order to operate safely. Winds are generally most favourable the first hours after sunrise and the last hours before sunset. The sun’s uneven heating of the earth’s surface causes strong, variable winds. In the morning it takes a few hours before the sun heats up the earth enough to generate the thermal activity that creates wind. In the evening, the sun’s intensity has diminished enough to reduce winds to acceptable levels.
How do balloons fly?
Hot air rises, it’s that simple. A large propane fuelled burner heats the air inside the envelope hotter than the air outside the envelope. The pilot controls the altitude and rate of ascent by controlling the temperature of the balloon.
What are balloons made of?
The envelope is made of fabric called ripstop nylon (very lightweight and very strong) with load bearing webbing tapes and stainless steel flying wires utilised to attach the envelope to the basket. The basket is made of rattan/wicker and each one is individually made by hand.
What fuel do balloons use?
Propane gas, because it’s clean and powerful.
What kind of clothing should I ware?
Casual clothes are most comfortable. A warm sweater or jacket may be needed for early morning or late evening after landing. Wear also shoes on which you can stand for more than 1 hour.
Is it cold up there?
You do not feel the wind in a balloon as it always flies along with the wind. Therefore, and because the burner gives also heat, it’s not colder than on the ground. The decrease of temperature with height is normally not noticeable. Only in winter or when flying extremely high, it is recommendable to wear warm clothes.
How do you steer a balloon?
Balloons can not be steered! Winds determine a balloon’s direction. However, wind direction and wind speed vary at different altitudes and a pilot has a limited ability to change the flight path by changing altitudes.
If you can’t steer a balloon, how do you get back?
Here we come to the indispensable heroes of ballooning; the dedicated retrieve team. After assisting in the launch, the retrieve team follows the balloon in the retrieve vehicle. They try to stay in visual and radio contact at all times. When ever possible, they also seek permission from the landowner to use their land as a landing site.
Can anyone fly in a balloon?
There are different regulations per country. In general we use from 12-14 years up and minimum length/height of 52 inches.
What is the maximum wind speed for a balloon?
Normal Festo balloon: 10-12 knots (11-14 mph)
Special shape up-side-down: ± 5 knots (6 mph)
How long does the entire ballooning experience last?
About 3 to 5 hours; the actual flight time is 1 to 1,5 hours. It takes about 20-30 minutes to built up the normal Festo balloon and about 40-60 minutes for the Up-side-down. Packing the balloons will take approx. the same times.
Can a balloon flight always take place?
Unfortunately balloon flight can not take place at all kinds of weather circumstances. Rain, fog, too much wind and also thunder and lighting are reason to cancel (or when possible reschedule) a planned flight. The decision if it’s safe to fly is only made by the pilots in command.