We want you to be aware of two facts and a conclusion.
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 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 airborn, 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 bumping and dragging. This will cause the entire balloon to gradually tilt 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”!
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.