How dangerous is hot air balloons?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by evapilotaz, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz Pattern Altitude

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    i rarely see any discussion on hot air balloons here. Now is the time in AZ they are up every morning. My wife wants to take a ride In one. I think nope those things have a big flame thrower just waiting to catch on fire. I know I’m being unreasonable thinking this but the fear is real. The video accidents I have seen is mainly high wind landings

    So are they safe?
     
  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I dunno any statistics, but I rarely ever see any hot air balloons make the news.

    No news is good news?

    I say go out with your wife and enjoy yourself. Don’t sweat it!
     
  3. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't really know but I flew in one* a while back and other than having a giant flame thrower a few feet from your head and having no landing gear and having no way to steer and having no safety equipment and our 'pilot' was probably drunk (I don't know that I'm just assuming they all are), it seemed perfectly safe to me. basically hot air rises (that much is true) so u float and go where ever the wind takes you, then you have to find an open field and basically crash land in it.


    *do you actually 'fly' those things? seems to me u just get dragged around in it. either way, I recommend it, it was neat.
     
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  4. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz Pattern Altitude

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    Lol doesn’t seem to take much skill to fly one.
    Knowing the winds seems to be the biggest challenge
     
  5. Lachlan

    Lachlan Pattern Altitude

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    To answer the question directly, I am of the opinion that hot air balloons is pretty safe. I took my wife for a balloon flight for her birthday a few years ago. It was cool to help inflate the envelop, watch it get bigger and bigger by having gigantic fans blowing into it while it laid on the ground, then starting to blast horizontal columns of blue flame inside it to make it stand up. Very cool process. Once we started to gain altitude, though, it was like we were on solid ground on a dead calm day. The balloon goes wherever the wind blows it, and even if your groundspeed is noticeable, there's no perception of air movement at all. None. It's dead quiet. You can hear sounds from the ground even while you're pretty high. It's cool. Do it. @eman1200's description of crashing into a field is spot on. Hope for a field, because it's gonna be a crash. It might even hurt a little. A hot air balloon ride with paying passengers will almost always be on a relatively calm day, but you're likely to have some groundspeed as you land, and wicker baskets full of people and propane tanks don't tend to slide very far once they've re-established contact with Mother Earth. It's an arrival, and will probably end up with the basket laying on its side. You'll be prepped for how to stand, brace and be ready to "land" by the fireman. (I just can't get myself to say 'pilot' for a balloon. I will change my ways if you feel that a kid flying a kite should be called a pilot, too.) ;)
     
  6. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    Lets go flying in a wicker basket, dangling from a big flammable parachute, powered by a flamethrower and a big propane tank, that we can't steer. What could go wrong? :dunno::biggrin:
     
  7. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    IF you don't hit power lines and noone runs into you, there isn't much to worry about.

    I would argue that there is a little more skill involved besides just up/down and riding the wind whereever it takes you.
     
  8. PaulD

    PaulD Filing Flight Plan

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    I've taken 9 or 10 flights in balloons and would highly recommend taking the Wife for a flight. It is a very peaceful and calming experience. Can't comment on the landings, I've never actually landed in one.
     
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  9. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Since you put it that way, where can I get transition training and which DPE can give me a check ride?
     
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  10. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    Very safe. Just as is the case with "little airplane" accidents, a mishap involving a balloon is so rare that it always makes headlines. When the pilot uses the burner while in flight, the flame goes straight up into the interior of the envelope and does not impinge on the envelope itself. Go for it.

    Bob
     
  11. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Finding a Balloon DPE is almost as challenging as finding the weather for the checkride :)
     
  12. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Anything goes wrong, just hitch a ride with your neighbor...

    [​IMG]
     
  13. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Regarding skill in balloon piloting, I have a friend who won two new cars two different times at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta by taking off, flying up the valley, returning to the takeoff site, and grabbing the car keys from a pole erected in the field.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  14. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Does this race have an ASEL class?

    Asking for a friend.
     
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  15. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My wife talked me into it a few years back. Scared the living crap out of me.

    She's singing "Up Up and awayyyeee... " - and Im yelling at her to quit shaking the effin basket!!!! My knuckles were stark white from the death grip i had on the wicker basket the whole flight. I was literally terrified.

    Probably a good time to mention i am terrified of heights.

    We almost crashed into the roof of a building as well.

    I did think it was kind of cool that after an hour flight - we flew north, then east, then south, then west, then north and ended up a few hundred yards from where we started. Had to give the pilot some props for that feat.

    Still hate friggen ballons, though.
     
  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    A friend took his wife on a sunset balloon flight for their anniversary a few years ago. They landed (???) in a tree as night set in and were stuck there until sometime after midnight. Ended up with multiple scrapes and cuts. Surprisingly, they're still married, AFAIK.

    Perfectly safe.....
     
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  17. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I’m tired of people asking questions for their friends. It’s retarded. Tell you friends to ask their own darned questions
     
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  18. H2daB

    H2daB Filing Flight Plan

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    I am partial to three axis control.
     
  19. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's what?! :D
     
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  20. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    I've flown in a hot air balloon twice. First time we hit powerlines, burst into flames, and I got 2nd degree burns on my face and arms. Balloon went up in flames.

    Second time was actually quite pleasant! So my opinion on them is 50/50.
     
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  21. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pre-takeoff checklist

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    some locals got burned up hitting some power lines recently. The guy running the operation was a druggie. Everyone died and I imagine it was probably a horrifically terrifying experience to helplessly see those power lines coming at you. f that noise.
     
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  22. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My friend wants to know why you would use the R word in 2018. Does that mean anything to you? Asking for a friend.
     
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  23. mscard88

    mscard88 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    5...4...3...2... :popcorn:
     
  24. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    I read your post to my Downs daughter. She's crying. I hope you're happy.....
     
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  25. mscard88

    mscard88 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    :skeptical:
     
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  26. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz Pattern Altitude

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    Speaking fear of heights I have them too.
    Strap me in an airplane zooming along while I’m in control no fear at all.

    Now I’m worried about fear of falling out of the ballon basket.
     
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  27. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    I tried a tethered balloon once. I just have to say that’s a whole lot of nopety nopety nope for me. I’m also terrified of heights.
     
  28. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    That was a really stupid and insensitive thing for you to do. You should be ashamed of yourself.
     
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  29. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Because it is an appropriate adjective to describe the behavior I was referring to in my post.
     
  30. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    If you mean joining PoA, I am. Oh well.
     
  31. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    No, actually it's not, and the behavior you're trying to describe isn't typical of the people I know who are mentally handicapped. "Cowardly" might have been a better choice as an adjective. But keep trying.
     
  32. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Thats your opinion. I don't agree. You have anything else to say take it to a PM. Not appropriate in the forum at this point.
     
  33. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How in the world was there a second time?!?!?
     
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  34. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Big brass balls?
     
  35. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz Pattern Altitude

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    Oh Lordy. I will ignore the other comments
     
  36. simtech

    simtech Pattern Altitude

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    My co worker rode in a balloon once. They crashed and he broke his ankle. Said he will never ride in one, not even in a small plane because of that.

    My brother in law and his wife rode in one a few months back. Said it was the best thing ever and a very smooth landing.

    Me...nope, I don't trust them and since I can't be in kind of control I'm out.
     
  37. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No joke
     
  38. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Obviously you are humor challenged, and therefore I have no interest in a PM exchange. I'll happily and laughingly make my responses openly in the forum without regard as to your opinion about whether they're appropriate.
     
  40. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Ok...well i thought you were being serious. Apologies if I was wrong. I am not humor challenged. This format of communication is compromised in many ways though...
     
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