Frequently Asked Questions
Please see below for the most common Frequently Asked Questions:
How far in advance do I need to book?
If you have a large group or would like to fly on a weekend, it’s recommended that you book two weeks in advance. If you have predetermined dates far in advance then let us know as soon as possible so we can secure your spot immediately.
Which season represents the best weather for hot air ballooning?
Thanks to the stunning sunny weather on the Gold Coast we blessed to be able to fly all year round. We are directly linked to the Bureau of Meteorology to determine flight conditions and continually check weather patterns throughout the day.
How does a balloon fly?
Hot air balloons fly using rising hot air. Hot air rises because it is less dense than cooler air and so it tends to ‘float’ on the cooler air. We use a burner to heat the air in the balloon until it is hotter than the air outside the balloon. Once this takes effected the balloon will rise, carrying us with it. As we allow the balloon to cool it begins to descend as the temperature drops. If we let some of the hot air out of the balloon the same thing happens because there is no longer enough hot air in the balloon to lift us. Gas balloons work on a similar principle except that they use helium gas, which is less dense and therefore lighter than air to achieve the same effect.
How high do you fly in a hot air balloon?
How high we fly depends on the wind patterns on the day. At different heights there are different wind layers in which the wind has different speeds and directions. On an average hot air balloon flight we go from tree-top level up to between one and three thousand feet.
How much does the balloon cost?
The cost of a balloon varies depending on the size and average from between $70,000 to $120,000 per carrier.
Do you have any hot balloons for sale?
Yes, on occasion we do have hot air balloons for sale. Its best to contact us directly to check. If you need more information about how or where to buy a hot air balloons, our staff are more than happy to help.
Do you need a license to fly a hot air balloon?
Yes, our hot air balloon pilots all have commercial pilot licenses. We are just like any other aviation charter business and the same rules and regulations apply.
How big is a balloon?
There are many different balloon sizes from small one person balloons to very large ones that can carry twenty people or more. Balloon Aloft currently have in the fleet a 24 person balloon, a 20 passenger carrier, 2 x 16 passenger carriers and a 10 passenger carrier.
Why do you fly so early in the mornings?
Although we need some wind to fly the balloon, we can’t fly if there is too much wind. We fly early morning because the winds are at their calmest. Also, a lower ambient temperature means that it is easier to get the balloon off the ground and keep it in the air and we don’t need to heat it to such a high temperature. This in turn means we don’t use so much gas and can fly longer. We also want our passengers to be able to see the spectacular Gold Coast sunrises.
How is a hot air balloon inflated?
We begin by laying the basket on its side and then laying out the envelope (the balloon) and attaching it by very strong wires to the basket. We then inflate the balloon with cold air using a portable petrol-powered fan. When the envelope is almost completely inflated with cold air we turn on the burners and begin to heat the air inside. This will make the balloon begin to rise to an up-right position. Then we just keep heating the air until it is hot enough to take us skyward.
What are the balloons made from?
The material is rip-stop nylon which is coated with polyurethane. The first three panels of the balloon are made of Nomex which is extremely fire-retardant.
Where are the sandbags?
We do not need sandbags. If we want to go higher we just heat the air in the balloon. If we want to go down we let the balloon cool or let the hot air out. Only gas (helium) balloons use sandbags.
Why do you use wicker for the baskets on the hot air balloons?
Wicker is light in weight, flexible and very strong – and besides they look great! Have a look at some of our images in our Hot Air Ballooning Gallery
How much does a balloon weigh?
It depends on the size of the balloon. Our largest balloon weighs around 900 kilos.
What type of gas do you use?
LPG – liquid propane gas, the same fuel you might use in your gas BBQ.
How many people can you carry?
Our largest balloon can carry up to twenty four passengers plus the pilot.
How long can you fly for?
Flights generally last an hour, however a balloon can remain airborne for longer periods, subject to fuel supplies.
Can you steer the balloon?
We go where the wind goes. However, the wind does go in different directions at different altitudes and so by ascending and descending we can take advantage and select a wind direction that is consistent with our predetermined flight path.
What should I expect to happen on a flight?
You can expect an unrivalled feeling of freedom and exhilaration as you gently float above the magnificent Gold Coast skyline.
Is it colder during flight?
Generally it doesn’t get much colder than what it is on the ground. You don’t feel any wind because you are moving at the same speed as the wind. We also find that the burner acts as an excellent provider of heat.
When was the first hot air balloon flight?
There is a great history and information on the history of Hot air ballooning on Wikipedia.