Is It Possible For a Hot Air Balloon To Fly In The Clouds?
Hot air balloons can go very high in the sky, up to 3000 feet and even above, so what happens when a cloud is in the path of a hot air balloon? Can you fly through it?
A hot air balloon should technically not fly through clouds and should follow the FAA rules by being 500 feet below a cloud or 1000 feet above, if a cloud is at 1000 feet or 2000 feet, then you might cross paths with one.
Down below in our guide, we will take you through if hot air balloons can fly through clouds, how the weather, in general, has a massive effect on hot air balloons, why flying through clouds is dangerous and when it’s the best time to fly.
Do Hot Air Balloons Fly Through Clouds?
A hot air balloon can fly through a cloud if the cloud is low enough at 1000-2000 feet in the air, they should be avoided however since they give the pilot poor visibility making the flight very unsafe since you don’t know what’s ahead on the other side of the cloud.
How Does Weather Affect Hot Air Balloons?
The weather has a massive part to play in hot air balloon flying, too cloudy, too hot or rain and snow can all keep a hot air balloon grounded and delayed, a balloon needs nearly all perfect weather conditions to be able to fly calmly.
We’ve listed some major weather factors which affect whether a balloon can fly down below.
- Wind speed and direction – Too high of wind is dangerous, too slow and the balloon will not move. The direction also needs to be taken into consideration since it determines the path of the balloon.
- Rain – Rain is a big no-no, it can cool down the air inside of your hot air balloon, causing it to sink.
- Clouds – A very cloudy sky means poor visibility and blocked views, it could also indicate a storm or rain is coming.
- Too hot and cold – When the weather is too hot and cold, it can cause potential damage to the hot air balloon, it will also make the balloon use much more fuel causing it to fly shorter distances.
Why Is Flying Through a Cloud Dangerous?
Flying through a cloud in a hot air balloon is not recommended at all and is very unsafe according to flight regulations.
We’ve listed some of the reasons why flying through a cloud is dangerous below.
The number one reason why flying through a cloud in a hot air balloon is not recommended is due to visibility. Poor visibility stops the pilot from seeing where he is going, relying only on GPS, they can’t see the landing sight, power lines ahead and the general route they are taking, increasing the chances of an incident.
No Landing Sight
As we mentioned above, flying through clouds can knock you off your path and block visibility to your landing sight, this could cause landing in an unauthorised place or an emergency landing which is uncomfortable for passengers plus dangerous.
Clouds have condensation and moisture, this should not come in contact with a hot air balloon since it can cool the air down inside, causing the balloon to lower down as well as damage the envelope.
When’s The Best Time To Fly a Hot Air Balloon?
The best way to avoid bad weather conditions when flying a hot air balloon is to time when you do it right.
Hot air balloon rides should be performed during dry seasons to avoid bad rains and storms, most balloon rides often happen in the early hours of the morning too when winds are calmer between 5-10 am.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hot Air Balloons & Flying Through Clouds
Can clouds damage a hot air balloon?
Yes, the increase in moisture can upset the temperature balance inside of a hot air balloon, hot air balloons are not allowed to fly through clouds and fogs due to this and the fact that other aircraft cannot see you.
Can you fly a hot air balloon at night?
Hot air balloons can be flown at night, only with permission, however, visibility might be reduced.
What are the rules surrounding hot air balloons and clouds?
Hot air balloons should follow the same rules as other aircraft when it comes to clouds, they should stay 500 feet under the cloud and 1000 feet above a cloud.
What is the best weather to fly a hot air balloon in?
The best weather to fly a balloon in are clear skies and calm winds, often found during the early hours of the morning, try to plan your flight during dry seasons too.
Overall, a hot air balloon can fly in a cloud, but it is very unsafe and not legal, they should stay above or below clouds, flying through a cloud comes with a lot of dangers such as moisture and poor sight for landing and flying.
I’m Annie, a twenty-something year old girl who loves hot air balloons. So much so, that I have a full time job as a Flight Instructor and it is all I love talking about. Something about being up there in the elevated altitudes helps all my stresses float away!