Hot air ballooning is a kind of activity where a person can fly a hot air balloon and receive a feeling of calmness and quiet, unforgettable impressions of marvelous landscapes. Passengers feel no wind because the balloon moves as the wind directs.

The best way to organize a hot air balloon launch is to make it at dawn or before sunset. The wind is rather light at this time of the day and makes launching or landing of the balloon easier. Launch at this particular time avoids a vertical air current called thermal, which appears after heating of the ground and prevents you from controlling the balloon. It can even lose the ability to climb and fall to the ground. 

Balloon competitions are organized not with the aim of speed testing, but, as a rule, accuracy testing. The pilots of the balloon must be real professionals in their ability to read the direction of the wind at numerous altitudes. The goal of the balloon competition is to fly closely to some point or target. When the aim has been reached, the marker with the number on it is fallen. The score is determined by the proper distance between the marker of the pilot and that very target. In some competitions pilots need to reach 5 or even more targets before they load. GPS units, topographic maps help pilots to navigate. Another kind of race is called “Hare and Hound”. The Hare balloon takes off before the Hound balloon and tries to change its altitude all the time during its fly in order to prevent the Hound balloon from finding its route. Then the Hare lands and makes a target cross for the Hound to drop its weighted marker. As the result the scores are determined by the distance between the target and the pilot’s marker. Many pilots don’t prefer to change altitude with the aim of catching wind. Experienced pilots are able to control a perfect landing at the destination. Only occasionally they may land to the launch site because of the influence of a box effect, when winds at altitude and surface winds flow in opposite directions to each other.


Like any other kind of sport hot air ballooning can be dangerous when some aspects occur, for e.x. collapse of the balloon because of the collisions with power lines, mid-air collisions, landing with high speed. Collisions with power lines are the most dangerous in this aspect and unfortunately they are rather frequent. The reason of these collisions lies in the fact that many pilots aren’t afraid of landing their balloons nearby the roads, trying to reduce the time of recovering the balloon far away from the road. In this case pilots don’t remember that dangerous power lines run along roads!

When balloons are equipped with lights which are visible to aircrafts, they can fly at night. As a rule such flights are organized before sunrise and landing takes place in the morning when all obstacles can be noticed.

Hot air balloons can fly perfectly in winter. The hardships in this case are connected only with the ability of cold withstanding of the participants. The temperature inside and outside the balloon differs, determining the lift of the balloon. In this case to fly in cold weather is possible as internal temperature is much lower than in hot time of the year. It can be noted that the liquid propane in the fuel tank can’t be very cold because it won’t produce vapor pressure enough to feed burners. In this case fuel tanks can be charged with inert gas nitrogen and they must be insulated from cold in the winter.


          During some festivals hot air balloons can flow while being tied with tethers or ropes to the ground. Such technique gives opportunity of quick journey to many participants as the wind can’t effect flying greatly. Tethers can be fixed to the burner support, to the basket or to the top of the envelope. Tethered flights can be held at night. During night flights pilots organize the beautiful orange flame instead of usual blue flames of day flights in order to create something unforgettable for spectators.

          The pleasant moment during flights occurs when balloonists can taste champagne upon landing. It’s something like a tradition and one of the most popular toast among travelers is “soft winds and gentle landings”.

          Cluster ballooning is a kind of ballooning where a balloonist is attached to a cluster of helium-inflated balloons by a harness. Looking at hot-air balloons we can see that a single balloon possesses vents for altitude controlling while cluster balloons consist of multiple, individually sealed, small balloons. With the aim of controlling the flight a pilot tries to deflate or to jettison balloons.