Hot Air Balloons do not fly at night. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to fly in the dark. Hot Air Balloons are no exception, even though it is possible to fly at night.
Flying a hot air balloon at night is complicated but is not impossible. Hot air balloons can be flown at night, but doing so requires a special type of pilot’s license and a different type of hot air balloon.
Hot air balloons use the sun to heat up the hot air inside the balloon, which causes the balloon to rise. The sun is, obviously, not up at night, so hot air balloons can’t rise without special equipment.
To fly at night, a hot air balloon must be fitted with special lights called “night illuminators,” which light up the ground below the balloon and attract the attention of the pilot.
Many hot air balloons used for night flying are fitted with powerful searchlights rather than night illuminators.
Hot air balloons flown at night tend to be a bit larger than those flown in the day.
It’s possible to fly a hot air balloon at night, at least for a short duration. But at night, a hot air balloon’s burner is the only source of light.
How is the flight course determined?
Safety is the number one priority when it comes to flight course. The primary concern is avoiding any type of collision.
There are five phases involved in determining the course: Planning, Briefing, Takeoff, Enroute and Final Approach & Landing.
To avoid collisions, it is important to plan ahead and brief all personnel involved.
For example, if you are taking off from New York to Los Angeles, you begin your planning by telling the LA tower a few days in advance that you are going to be taking off.
The tower will then notify all other air traffic in the area of your flight.
The world is divided into areas of flight controlled by air traffic control, and uncontrolled airspace.
In controlled airspace air traffic control has the final say on who can fly where and when.
high, medium and low.
Three different levels of airspace
Hot air ballooning is a special activity that combines three different levels of airspace. Air traffic controllers divide the sky into three levels of airspace.
Depending on the size, type, and location of the balloon, each requires different clearance from the FAA before a pilot is allowed to fly.
Level Three is for hot air balloons that have multiple pilots and passengers.
This allows for extreme high-altitude ballooning. The highest is the upper airspace.
Level Two is for hot air balloons that have sails that block the pilot’s view of the ground.
This allows for high, banked turns and/or high elevation flights.
Level One is the lowest and closest to the ground. At this altitude you can only legally fly in daylight and must be able to see the ground at all times.
This is the best way to see the countryside below.
Hot Air Balloon Awareness
When you think about hot air balloons, you probably think of colorful balloons filled with warm air, taking off and floating over the landscape.
But there are many dangers that come along with flying in these balloons.
Hot air balloons are experiencing a minor renaissance right now, with dozens of companies offering rides and balloonist training, but they are not without their dangers.
Although the incidents are relatively few in the grand scheme of things, there are still dangers that you’ll want to avoid including fires and ballooning hooligans.
Aviation is an unforgiving business, and it’s important to keep safety foremost in your mind. Fly with the wrong operator and you could end up with a horrendously bad experience.
The easiest way to stay safe is to make sure you have a good pilot. But even the best pilots can’t do everything themselves.
You’ll want to check the weather report before you leave, and make sure you’re dressed properly for the occasion.
How dangerous is hot air ballooning at night?
It offers a unique view of the world from a bird’s-eye view, and the chance to gaze down upon the glittering lights of a city at night is a sight you won’t soon forget.
However, this doesn’t mean that hot air ballooning at night is without danger. Night flying introduces unique challenges that you must be prepared for in order to avoid deadly accidents.
It’s also important to have a general plan for what to do in case of an emergency. Some would say it’s impossible to steer a hot air balloon during the night.
Largely due to the lack of light and the inability to see other balloons, night flights are discouraged for any balloon pilot.
But sometimes these flights are unavoidable. When that happens, it’s important to follow certain safety guidelines to ensure a safe flight.
Hot air ballooning at night is dangerous for many reasons. This type of hot air ballooning requires a lot more work than daytime hot air ballooning.
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!