How to inflate a hot air balloon

Hot air Balloons are flying machines that most people  have seen in the skies but don’t know much about. You may be thinking of going on a balloon ride, have been given Gift Voucher for a special occasion or seen the balloons floating peacefully by on a sunny day and it might have you thinking, how does it work? Well it all starts with inflation and here we will explain the process.

 The balloon you will fly in may range in size from a small sport balloon 77,000 cu ft capable of flying 3 persons up to a 525,000 cu ft massive balloon capable of flying 25 persons. But it doesn’t matter what size they are the procedure to inflate differs very little.   

 The entire balloon and ancillary equipment is transported to the launch site on trailers towed behind a 4 wheel drive. All our passengers are given a quick safety talk before anything happens to explain what they are about to let themselves into. And then it begins…

Before OHS regulations took most of the fun out of life passengers got to get their hands dirty and help with the process, these days you get to watch it from a safe distance and save your energy for the pack away. 

 First job is to pull the basket off the trailer and lay it over on its side. Next the balloon envelope is attached and rolled out downwind. A rope is attached between the basket and vehicle to prevent the balloon taking off on its own which could be a little embarrassing.

 Your Pilot then fires up an inflation fan holds the mouth of the balloon open and lets cold air pump the balloon up. The ground crew will be found at the top of the balloon putting in the deflation valve.  When the balloon is cold inflated looking a bit like a beached whale the pilot stands behind the burner and fires it up pumping loads of hot fire and air into the balloon. While the Pilot is doing heroic things up the top of the balloon the poor ground crew are working overtime on a rope controlling the speed at which the balloon stands up. Basically, they’re making the bloke on the burner look good. 

 Once upright the pilot will call for everyone to get in and take their take off positions in the basket. This is usually crouching whilst holding rope handles. Once everyone is in and has practised their positions, the pilot will use the burners to increase the temperature of the air in the envelope and when buoyant will pull the quick release which detaches the balloon from the 4 wheel drive then the balloon will drift peacefully up into the blue sky!

 So now you know how a balloon is inflated, why not click the link below and enjoy the experience first hand.

Clare Allen