More than a decade ago, I had the pleasure of being a passenger in a hot air balloon before it was legal to do so. The pilot explained the safety procedures, but I was still unprepared when we had to release the balloon envelope and float upward.
The thing about hot air balloons is that they’re the only vehicles in the sky that you’re really in direct contact with. You don’t ever get to put your hands on a plane’s controls.
You’re always under the balloon. That means you’re always in control, but it also means that sometimes the balloon can be unpredictable.
It’s raw, it’s adventurous, and it’s a breathtakingly beautiful way to see the world. Not only does flying in a hot air balloon give you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings, but the gentle breeze that keeps the balloon in the air also works as a kind of scenic parachute.
If that wasn’t enough, hot air balloons are a blast to fly and have a sense of freedom that can’t be matched by any other method of transportation.
The balloon is the easiest, most fun way to experience the freedom of flying, and it is perfect for children and beginners. A hot air balloon ride is safe, easy, and affordable—just ask.
It is easy to learn how to fly a hot air balloon, and is a great way to start your flying career.
How to become a hot air balloon pilot?
Hot air balloons are hot! Hot, high, and flying. It’s a big leap of faith from the ground to the sky. Not everyone has the skill-set or the temperament to become a hot air balloon pilot.
But, some people DO have the ability to become a hot air balloon pilot.
Hot air balloon pilots can get into some pretty spectacular adventures in the sky. But even the most experienced pilots are not immune to the perils of weather, or wildlife encounters.
That’s why before taking to the skies, you should take the time to learn how to become a hot air balloon pilot.
Step 1: Determine your level of interest
- Find a Training School
Hot air balloons have long been a tradition in France, Italy and Germany, but they have recently begun to spread across the United States. So far, there are over 300 training schools and over 200,000 people who have completed an FAA-approved course.
- Volunteer as a crew member
Hot air balloons are a fun, economic, and environmentally-friendly way to travel. They offer the dreamy sensation of floating in the sky, and the freedom of not having to make airplane reservations or follow traffic laws.
As the start of the spring season draws near, there are more pilots and crew members that are needed to maintain and fly the balloons.
- Training hours
The average cost of a hot air balloon training course is $12,000, and the FAA requires a minimum of 250 hours of flight experience on hot air balloons prior to starting a training program.
Most commercial pilots begin their careers in hot air ballooning, and many of them stay with hot air balloons for their entire lives. It is a great way to travel, get in touch with nature, and have fun.
Step 2: Understand the requirements for your level of interest
If you are thinking about being a hot air balloon pilot, there are many things you need to think about before you start. This is a big commitment and you may want to think about these questions before you get started.
What kind of flying do you want to do? What areas do you want to fly in? How much money do you want to make? And what kind of person do you want to be?
First things first, you need to understand the requirements to become a pilot, and no one can do that better than the National Aeronautic Association (NAA).
NAA is a non-profit organization that provides educational resources, safety advice and flight training to help people who want to know more about aviation, including pilots, flight instructors and aviation students.
- Be Committed
The sky’s the limit when it comes to hot air ballooning. While the progression of ballooning has been slow, there’s no denying that it’s come a long way.
In fact, you may have even flown in a hot air balloon at one point in your life. However, hot air balloons are fascinating in a different way than most people realize. They are not just the ride of the rich and famous.
Not everyone can become a pilot, so I’ll tell you how to make it happen. You need to be willing to commit to the time and money needed to become a hot air balloon pilot.
It’s not easy to become a pilot, but once you do it’s the most amazing life experience you can have.
- Paying for Lessons
You are probably here because you want to become a hot air balloon pilot. There are a number of ways to learn how to fly a hot air balloon.
One of the most common ways to learn to fly is through flight lessons. This is how you learn to navigate the airspace required to safely launch and land a hot air balloon.
However, traditional flight lessons require you to purchase a balloon, pay for the flight lessons and then pay to fly the balloon.
Student Balloon Pilot Certificate
In addition to flying, you’ll learn about the history of hot-air ballooning and the different types of balloons. You’ll also receive a balloon pilot certificate at the end of the program.
Private Balloon Pilot Certificate
Hot air balloons are a great way to get up in the air, but there are some rules and regulations that you need to follow in order to legally take to the sky.
For example, before you can fly a hot air balloon you need to pass a stringent test for private balloon pilot license (PBL).
A Private Balloon Pilot Certificate (often referred to as a P.B.P.C.) is a certification that is obtained by anyone who is interested in flying balloons for pleasure, and is not required in order to fly commercially.
Commercial Balloon Pilot Certificate
In order to purchase a flight lesson, you must first acquire the appropriate license and certification. The process varies from country to country, but in the United States, pilots are required to have a commercial pilot’s license.
This license requires training in several areas, including flight maneuvers, principles, aerodynamics, meteorology, and human factors.