St. Petersburg Balloon Rides answers Hot Air Balloon Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the flight?
The flight lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the wind speed and direction on the morning. But plan on being with us for about 3-4 hours from start to finish.
How high do you go?
Your altitude will vary during your flight, but most flights take place between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. The balloon may go higher if the day’s winds allow your pilot to do so. Winds permitting, some flights will also occur at lower altitudes (treetop level) that provide a nice close up of the landscape below.
How far do you travel?
Because your balloon flight relies 100% on the wind, no two flights are the same, but most flights travel approximately 2-5 miles.
How many people go into the basket?
It depends on the size of the balloon. Most of our areas have several sizes of balloons, the largest capable of taking 16 persons plus the pilot. We are usually flying our larger balloons on the weekends. But we have 12 person, 10 person, 8 person and 4 person balloons as well. We bring out the best size to comfortably lift the number of people who book on a given day.
What should we wear?
Wear casual clothing and comfortable shoes appropriate for an outdoor adventure. Dress for the season and layer your clothing so that you can adjust for the warming temperatures as the morning progresses. The coolest you will be is on the ground. Once in flight, the burners tend to keep the basket nice and warm during the winter months. In the winter, appropriate clothing includes hats, gloves, boots and sunglasses. Summer attire includes long pants, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses. No shorts, open-toed shoes or sandals please.
What should we bring?
Bring your camera and plenty of film. Video cameras are also permitted.
Is it quiet in the balloon?
When the burner is off, it is extremely quiet. Quiet is one of the most enjoyable aspects of ballooning.
Does it get cold up there?
Actually, at sunrise, it is not uncommon for it to be slightly warmer in the air than on the ground due to a temperature inversion at that time of day. The coolest part of the morning is when we meet. It gets warmer from that point on, and quite cozy when flying in the balloon. We therefore recommend that you wear clothing in layers so you can adjust for the rising temperatures as the day progresses.
Does the basket sway and move around when flying?
The baskets do not sway since it moves with the wind.
How do hot air balloons work?
Hot air balloons rise because the air inside the balloon is warmer than the surrounding air, and the resulting pressure differentials produce an upward lift.
How do you get the balloon inflated?
A fan is used to blow cool air into the balloon. Later the burners are used to heat the air as the balloon lies on the ground. Gradually the balloon will rise to an upright position.
How do you steer a balloon?
The only way to steer a balloon is by finding different wind directions at different altitudes. Our pilots are specifically trained for mountain flying and are extremely skilled at navigating the balloon.
What about children?
Around the age of 6 years, children are tall enough to see over the side of the basket and have the attention span to enjoy an hour or more flight in an open basket. Sometimes young children are sensitive to the sound of the burners, but most quickly become interested in how the balloon works. They enjoy looking for wildlife in the vineyards and generally enjoy the inflation and pack up almost as much as the flight itself. Very small children and infants should wait until they are old enough to appreciate the ballooning experience.
What about special requests?
Since we are committed to offering personalized ballooning adventures, our staff is available to assist you with special requests to make your adventures with us even more special. We regularly accommodate in-flight weddings and marriage proposals, for example. Gift certificates for special occasions are available. Call us at to arrange for your special occasion, or purchase a Hot Air Balloon Ride Gift Certificate!
St. Petersburg Balloon Rides