Physical Requirements

Ballooning can be for anyone

A balloon flight is usually a very gentle, beautiful, peaceful, serene experience. Therefore we have been able to share this experience with hundreds of handicapped, aged, fragile, frail, and terminally ill people. We have given tethered rides, dozens of times, for Camp Good Days And Special Times camps, both for adults and for young people. We have flown several people in wheel chairs. We took Rae Hargrave of Manhattan on a flight celebrating her 100th birthday!

But that landing…

But a balloon flight can become a fairly rigorous athletic adventure with a minor increase in wind speed. If the wind reaches 6 to 8 mph during the takeoff process, the balloon will sway in the breeze, causing the basket to tilt sideways, back and forth. This tilting stops when the balloon becomes airborne, but the same 6 to 8 mph of wind (or any greater wind) will again cause excitement on landing. Even with perfect pilot technique, these winds will cause the basket to bump and drag along the ground during landing. The pilot may have to deflate the balloon to control the bouncing and dragging. This will cause the entire balloon (including the basket) to tip over on its side and lie down on the ground. Pilot and passengers remain low in the basket, hang on, relax, and lie over with the basket as it tilts. This bouncing and dragging might be similar to standing on the second step of a stepladder and jumping to the ground. This windy landing is considered a “normal operation” and for this reason the basket is built like a roll cage. And we always explain and discuss this procedure in our preflight briefing. This briefing is your “last chance to back out”!

To get a feel for what a landing might be like, we have selected a few videos showing safe but bumpy landings.

It is the pilot’s responsibility to exercise extra care with fragile passengers. The more fragile the passenger, the more nearly perfectly calm the wind conditions must be, or the flight must be postponed. Therefore it is the passengers responsibility to advise us when scheduling the flight of any physical or other limitation. We should know of any bad back, bad knee, pregnancy, recent surgery, illness, or other limiting factor! Any questionable condition must be cleared with your doctor before the flight.

While the landing is the portion of the flight that most often requires attention in terms of physical requirements, there are a few other specific requirements that may not be immediately apparent.

Stand unassisted

Each passenger must be able to stand unassisted for the duration of the flight. Expected time in the air is 45 minutes to an hour, but can sometimes be longer. In addition, there may be time after the landing when additional standing is necessary. Space in the basket is limited, and there are no seats. We cannot accommodate walkers, wheelchairs or portable chairs or stools on board. Our baskets are not equipped with doors, so it is necessary to climb over the edge of the basket in order to get in and out of the balloon. The sides of the basket are approximately 3.5-4 feet high.

See over the basket

It is necessary for each passenger to be able to see over the side of the basket during the flight. This is both a safety and comfort issue.

Age requirements

We do not have a maximum age, but we do require a minimum age of 7 years old to ride in the balloon.