251-970-FLYU (3598)       P.O. Box 113 Magnolia Springs, AL 36555       trachel@gulftel.com     

HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE INFORMATION

Gift Certificates

Give the gift of a lifetime to your friends and family! Is it that special birthday? Or how about an anniversary for someone you know? They will never get over the shock of getting a Hot Air Balloon ride from you as a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion gift.

“Taking Off” Hot Air Balloon Co. makes each event a memorable one. You will get a special Hot Air Balloon Gift Certificate that you can present. All they have to do is pick the date and time. If weather permits we will take off for a flight across the scenic Baldwin County countryside. To provide the maximum safety for our passengers we will fly only when the winds are light and less than 10mph. The flights are always in the early morning or late evening when winds are lightest. The balloon can carry the pilot and 2 to 3 passengers.

Gift certificates are valid for one year. However, they maybe extended for $50.00 per year to cover the rising cost of expenses.

 

Disclaimer

NOTE: While we strive to launch the balloon on special days, the weather is always a factor and may inhibit a balloon launch on a particular day. We will always work to reschedule the ride at another time that is convenient to all involved.

 

To purchase your Gift Certificate, please call us at the number below and we will be glad to help you. We accept checks and credit cards.

 

Gift Certificate
Click Here to View Gift Certificate

Release Form
Release Form

 

Tommy Rachel
P.O. Box 113
Magnolia Springs, Al. 36555

trachel@gulftel.com

251-970-3598

 

Cost:

Our normal rates are $225.00 per person (for 3 or more), children under twelve $125.00 each. Couple’s trips are $550.00 Monday through Friday. The rate for a couple’s flight on Saturdays will be $650.00. The exclusive couple’s flight ensures that there will be no other passengers on the flight with you. The exclusivity makes the flight more personable for those special occasions. Special rates can apply to groups of four or more. The typical ballooning “experience” will last approximately three hours. We guarantee a safe and fun filled flight to be had by all. We provide extra crew for your trip to ensure that you have a good time. The crew members are all volunteers. Please show them your appreciation after the flight.

 

WEATHER INFO:
www.balloonweather.com

 

PRE - FLIGHT INFO

What you need to wear / bring:

Print out disclaimer, read, sign and bring with you.
Bring cameras and / or video camera. Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Co. or any of its associates will not be liable for any cameras under any circumstances. If you decide to take them in the balloon when we fly, there is a chance that they could be damaged when we land.

Casual long pants are highly recommended with a sleeve type shirt. (Short sleeves are fine) Tennis shoes or boots are a must.
We provide gloves and drinks.

 

What you need to know:

Part of the ballooning experience is participating in the setup, launch and packing up of the balloon. You will be asked to hold certain ropes and help unload the gondola and envelope. The various components of the ballooning system are heavy. We ask if you have any physical problems please advise us when you book your flight.

 

please remember your Crew! They volunteer their time to insure that you have a great experience.Rules of crewing:

  • Lift with your knees and not your back
  • Never wrap a rope around your hand
  • Be very careful around the inflater fan
  • When the balloon is inflated, always stay upwind of it to keep it off of your toes
  • DO NOT let the balloon lift you off the ground at any time—turn loose
  • If you have a question, ALWAYS ask
  • Wear provided gloves

Flyers:

  • Do not pull on any ropes in the basket
  • Enter and exit the balloon from the upwind side
  • Do not enter or exit until the pilot instructs you to do so
  • Keep your hands down inside the basket
  • Be polite to spectators on the ground
  • Be polite and respectful of landowners where we land
  • Face forward in front of the pilot and bend your knees when we land
  • Tell everyone you know how much fun you had!

 

BALLOON FLIGHT SUMMARY

Hot Air Balloon rides are one of life's most exciting experiences! The ride itself is only part of the overall event. The launch and retrieval of a balloon involves three phases:

 

Launch

First, the pilot and crew decide on a suitable launch site based on winds and other factors. The team then arrives at the designated time at the launch site. Everyone brings gloves and wears suitable clothing. The balloon is unloaded and the pilot begins assembly of the system. The crew unpacks and lays out the envelope taking care to not damage any balloon fabric.

Once the system is hooked up and all systems are tested the cold air inflation begins. During this step a large inflater fan blows air into the balloon to pack it while lying on the ground. The pilot double checks all cables and connections and seals the top of the balloon. When everything is all set and the balloon is completely packed while on the ground, we are ready to hot air inflate.

During hot air inflation the pilot lights the burner pilot lights, then ignites one of the huge 18million BTU/HR burners. The balloon immediately lifts up and begins to stand up right. One of the crew on the crown line lets the balloon raise slowly and stops it once it reaches a vertical position. The pilot checks all components, seals the top and turns the instruments on.

Once the passengers are loaded and a final check is done we are ready to launch the balloon!

 

Flight

After the balloon lifts off, the pilot controls the ascent and descent by making varying lengths of burns, which shoot large amounts of heat into the balloon. The wind takes the balloon in the direction of travel and every flight is different. No one ever knows for sure which way the balloon will go until it is in flight and at altitude.

The pilot must abide by FAA rules and stay certain heights above congested areas. They also cannot take off and land at airports or fly in controlled airspace. But other than those rules a hot air balloon can go anywhere.

A typical flight lasts approximately one hour. During the fall and winter months flights can be extended up to 2 hours. On a typical 80-degree day the temperature at the top of the balloon might reach as high as 230 degrees! You could boil water up there. It takes that much heat to lift the weight of the envelope, basket, propane and passengers. On cooler winter days the balloon might only reach 160 degrees with the exact same load.

After flying over the countryside at various altitudes the pilot decides where to land. A suitable field is picked which contains no crops, livestock or other obstacles. The crew will get permission from the landowner to make sure we can land the balloon there. The pilot gently brings the balloon closer to the surface and at just the right time uses a vent line to release large amounts of hot air allowing the balloon to descend and land. Once settled back on earth the crew gathers around, the pilot grabs the 'red line' and pulls out the top of the balloon. This lets all the hot air out and as a crew member pulls on the crown line the balloon is gently put back to the ground.

 

Retrieval

After the balloon lands the pack up process begins. Once again help from 3-5 people is required as the balloon gets unassembled, packed up and stowed back in the trailer or pickup. The envelope itself weighs about 225 lbs and the basket with propane loaded weighs about 450 lbs. So it's a full time job lifting and carrying the equipment. The crew is instructed how to handle everything and in just 20-30 minutes things are packed away and the post flight traditional celebration begins.