It is not the rapid ascent that makes ballooning so dangerous, but the descent. Unlike winged aircraft that have engines to break the force of the impact, balloons cannot control their rate of descent.
A balloon can descend at a rate of up to 3,000 feet per minute, depending on the weight of the passengers and the amount of lift gas, and this rate cannot be controlled.
Hot air ballooning is a popular recreational activity that is also one of the riskier forms of travel. Unlike jetliners, which have multiple backup systems and pilots who have flown the same routes many times, hot air balloons are flown by amateur pilots who have far less training.
The FAA reports there are about 11 accidents and 11 fatalities per year, on average, due to the small, hot-air balloon vehicle and the unpredictable weather conditions it flies in. Hot air ballooning is a thrill-seeking activity, and anyone who takes part in it is likely to experience a degree of danger.
There are many reasons for this, and every event will vary depending on the pilot, the weather conditions and the countryside being flown over, but it’s important to be aware of the risks before you step into a basket with nothing but a giant piece of cloth between you and the skies.
Dangers of Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is a fantastic way to get a bird’s eye view of the world. Unfortunately, for every person who gets to see the world from this perspective, there are three more who are left with a sense of regret.
In fact, a recent study revealed that more than 36 percent of all commercial hot air balloon accidents involve fatalities.
This is a startling statistic, but one that can be easily avoided with a bit of research. Hot air ballooning is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s thrilling and beautiful.
But as with any activity, it does come with certain risks. For example, it can be hard to predict where the balloon will land in case of an emergency. Hot air ballooning is also dangerous because of the propane tanks.
These tanks must be handled with care because a leak can cause a fire or explosion. There are also dangers when the balloon is on the ground.
While hot air ballooning in itself has a low rate of accidents and fatalities, it has earned a reputation as a dangerous sport because of the frequency with which it is featured in disaster films.
But as with many things in life, the risk is all in your head, and it is possible to enjoy hot air ballooning without worrying about the facts that make it seem dangerous.
Hot air ballooning is a romantic activity, but it is also dangerous. When a balloon is airborne, it is at the mercy of the wind, which may change direction at any time and cause the balloon to crash land.
Sometimes, this landing is gentle, but other times, it can be very hard and dangerous. In fact, for every 9,000 hours of flight, a hot air balloon crashes, resulting in at least one injury to the passengers or the pilot.
Number of Pilots Required for Hot Air Ballooning
The short answer is two and a pilot and an observer. Hot air ballooning is a popular recreational activity, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous to a novice flyer.
In fact, most states in the United States require that two pilots, called “pilot in command” and “co-pilot”, fill out certain forms and get a license before they can take off in a balloon.
This is because, despite the name, hot air ballooning is technically a form of aviation, and balloon pilots must adhere to certain rules and regulations. After a hot air balloon takes off, its flight is completely dependent on the weather.
That’s because hot air balloons use the wind to move through the air. So, if the wind dies down or reverses, the balloon can’t move forward and the flight is over. The number of pilots required for hot air ballooning will depend on the size of the balloon.
Larger balloons that carry more passengers typically require three pilots. While smaller balloons may only need one person as a pilot.
Hot air balloons are powered by heating the air inside the balloon and it will ascend while releasing the hot air. These balloons are usually launched from a large field.
Causes of hot air balloon accidents
There are many factors which can contribute to a hot air balloon accident that can range from medical factors to the weather and to pilot error. Hot air balloons do not fly particularly high above the ground, which means they are usually at risk of landing in a body of water.
Although hot air balloons are not as fast as airplane, the pilot has less time to react to hazardous situations such as a gust of wind.
Bad weather, strong winds and lightning are the biggest dangers to hot air balloons, since they can cause problems with the balloon itself, and the balloonist’s ability to control it. High winds can also cause turbulence that can cause the balloon to crash.
Hot air balloons, or hot air balloons, are lighter-than-air craft that use hot air to gain buoyancy. Due to their slow speed and low power, dirigibles are one of the safest methods of travel. (Statistics show that your chance of dying in a car accident is ten times greater than your chance of dying in a hot air balloon accident).
However, there have been three accidents involving hot air balloons since 1970, and the number of people who have been killed in these accidents varies from zero (as was the case in 1970) to thirty-four (as was the case in 1986).
A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope (or in the case of a small hot-air balloon, a wicker basket) that is less than 30% of its total lift.
Heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant and keeps it inflated. On the outside of the envelope is a net of fabric called a gondola or gondola. Inside the gondola is a burner and an attached basket or cockpit for a pilot and passengers.
Safety measures to take while hot air ballooning
Hot air ballooning is an activity that is fun and enjoyable. At the same time, it is also an activity that can be extremely dangerous if the right precautions are not taken. The first step to not getting hurt is being aware of the risks involved in taking hot air ballooning.
As with any activity that involves being a hundred feet off the ground, there are many things that can go wrong while you are above the ground.
Balloons are light-weight, colorful, and captivating, which is why a fleet of hot air balloons was used at the grand opening of the Tokyo Disneyland in 1983.
Hot air balloons are still used today for a variety of different activities. These activities include the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, sky divers jumping from hot air balloons, and even as a means of transportation.
However, like any other activity, ballooning has its share of risks, like turbulence and other natural dangers, as well as the risk of human error or mechanical failures.
What’s the best place to fly a hot air balloon
Flying a hot air balloon is one of those things that just makes you smile. It’s a peaceful way to travel and the view is almost always stunning. But if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and trying it for yourself, you might be wondering what’s the best place to go.
Of course, the best place to fly a hot air balloon is the place you’re most comfortable. But if you want to get the most out of your trip, you should pick your launch site according to the amount of wind and the height of the launch site.
While there are lots of places around the world that are great for hot air ballooning, there are some that shine above the rest. Get the best view if you fly up as high as you can, but in practice, this is incredibly dangerous.
Even the most experienced pilots face danger when they take to the skies in their balloons.
So, while you can enjoy the spectacular views you get from a balloon, the key to a successful flight is to plan where you go carefully.
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!