Thursday, August 2, 2012

Balloon Ride!

When I was a youngster, maybe 10, I saw on TV a propane heated hot air balloon glide through the air. Of course I wanted one. No, my family could not even remotely afford one, or even rides in one.

Couple nights ago, after 57 years, I rode in one. Here are the pics:

Balloon is inside the trailer
Out comes the basket

Big propane burners; these did the job.
There were two balloons being prepared, quite a distance apart.
Initial inflation is by big fans, not hot air.

See the pilot way up at the end inside; he was doing a careful inspection of the envelope.
OK, taking shape.
Rising up!
All aboard.
The other one is up.
That's me on the left in the basket.
Very gentle ascent. Light winds. Speed on GPS was 20 km/hr.
I'll let the scenery do the talking...

Jerome has been a balloon pilot for 20 years.

This is good.
So is this one. Which do you like best?

Just touching down.
Came down on a slope. The balloon slowly collapsed to the ground, and tipped the basket. No problems, a gentle and slow tipping. Got out in an orderly fashion.

And, off back to start for our champagne toast!

It was a great trip and well run. Quiet and peaceful. Sailors will know how nice it is with the wind coming from dead aft. Well, same thing for the whole ride.

If you are afraid of heights (Dar!), you should know there is no rocking of the basket, so after a short while, it's like looking out a big window. Also, the basket is quite deep, so you can rest your arms on the wide top part and feel mostly inside, just shoulders and head outside.

I recommend this to everyone.


  1. Ed - great pictures! Wow that must have been an experience! I have always wanted to do this, but have a fear of heights, not sure if I could just let myself go and enjoy the ride. What was it like? Were you scared? It must have been beautiful floating along.

    1. See my comment below. Forgot how to reply...

  2. The takeoff was very gentle, less than most jet takeoffs. After a burst of hot air, it takes a bit of time for the balloon to react, then you feel a gentle lifting. Not too high in altitude, about 26 km/hr, depending on wind.

    On landing, you face backwards, knees bent. The basket gently tippe d on its side, but nobody fell out or got damaged. Do it Dar!

  3. Wow Ed it looks amazing, I am just not sure I can get over the height fear - crazy because motorcycling is risky. I can only imagine how wonderful it is. I tweeted your post on twitter, the pictures are simply gorgeous!

  4. Very glad you enjoyed the photos. Since you have demonstrated your ability to overcome fear of scooters and bigger bikes, I am puzzled by your fear of a nearly zero risk balloon ride. Please, girdle your loins (and old phrase for warriors like us) and go for one. As far as adrenaline is concerned, it's a mild twisty at best. As far as relaxation, it's like being in a hot tub. Not as high as an airplane, you can see more and better. Please do it - you will love it.

  5. Ed - I am not sure either why I find the thought of ballooning a challenging activity. It looks beautiful and freeing, but I just have a fear of height thing. I have zip lined and enjoyed that, but it took some warming up to. I have always thought I would like to go for a balloon ride. I think I am going to have to put it on my to do list. I just came back from kayaking around Clayoquot Sound & there were quite a few big waves and that made me a little fearful, but I got over it.