Is It Bad For Hot Air Balloons To Fly During The Day? – Our Guide
Hot air ballooning tends to happen at two times during the day, sunrise and sunset, for us non-morning people you might be wondering why hot air balloons don’t fly during the day?
Hot air balloons don’t fly during the day due to their being unpredictable winds during the day and calmer winds at sunrise/sunset, strong gusts of winds make hot air ballooning unsafe and cause the pilot to lose control of the balloon.
In our short guide below, we will discuss the science behind early morning and sunset rides, when you can ride a hot air balloon during the day and whether sunrise or sunset flights are better.
The Science Behind Early Morning & Sunset Ballooning
To understand why a hot air balloon flight doesn’t happen during the day, we must first understand how balloon flights work through buoyancy.
Balloons fly due to the inside air being lighter than the outside air, this is because the inside is heated by the burner which makes it less dense allowing it to rise. The amount of lift a hot air balloon ride has is determined by the difference in temperature to the outside air.
During the latter times of the day the sun becomes stronger which heats the ground and causes thermals which are essentially columns of warm air that rise up, this causes combination of wind strengths in the air and can make the balloon harder to control with a risk of unpredictable wind patterns.
Since the sun is weaker during the early and later hours of the day the light winds are calmer which makes the balloon easier to control.
When Can You Ride A Hot Air Balloon During The Day?
This is not to say you can never do hot air balloon flying during the day, you might be able to if wind conditions allow, for example, this might be during overcast weather when the ground hasn’t been heated by the sun.
You also might be allowed to do a hot air balloon ride at different times during the day during the winter too since the sun is often hidden and conditions can be calmer, but generally, hot air balloon pilots prefer to fly in the early and late hours to avoid strong winds.
Sunrise Vs Sunset Hot Air Balloon Rides – Which Is Better?
If sunrise and sunset hot air balloon rides are best for a hot air balloon ride, this begs the question, which times of day are best?
We’ve compared both sunrise and sunset hot air balloon rides below along with their pros and cons to see which balloon ride experience is best for you.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Rides
Sunrise hot air balloon trip rides have a special tranquil feeling to them, the cooler weather during the summer months is appreciated and theirs something about flying high above the skies while the world is waking up.
There is the advantage that ballooning weather might be calmer during this time in comparison to sunset flying, if your location is far then there will also be less traffic at this time of the morning to get there.
Sunrise lighting might also be preferable for photographers and videographers.
Downfalls of sunrise hot air balloon riding are the early wake-up call, which is very early, if you’re not a morning person this could be difficult.
- Quicker transit time.
- Better lighting conditions.
- Early wake up call.
Sunset Hot Air Balloon Rides
Sunset hot air balloons offer great conditions for riding too, evening balloon flights tend to be much more romantic for a sunset champagne flight and are a great choice if you want to avoid the early morning wake up call.
Negatives of sunset balloon flights are that winds drafts can still be around, which can make the ride slightly more turbulent, if you are nervous about hot air ballooning this also means a bigger lead up to the event.
- More romantic.
- No early morning wake up call.
- Wind drafts can make the ride rockier.
- Not great for nervous people.
Conclusion – Which Time Of Day Should I Choose?
Overall, we would suggest choosing early morning hot air balloon rides if you’re nervous about flying, want a peaceful flight in the morning and avoid traffic on the way to your ballooning site.
However, sunset rides are the better choice if you hate the early mornings.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hot Air Balloons & Times Of Day
How does bad weather affect a hot air balloon?
Bad weather can cause the balloon pilot to lose control of the balloon during the air, since balloons are influenced by wind speed, this could cause incidents such as different landing spots or collisions with power lines which could be fatal.
Which are the best months for the weather when riding hot air balloons?
The most popular times for hot air ballooning tend to be between April and October but hot air balloons can be flown all year round, avoiding rainy seasons is what most companies try to do.
Is a sunset flight more expensive than a sunrise hot air balloon flight?
No, both sunrise and sunset flights should be a similar price, what tends to affect ballooning flights are seasons, during low seasons ballooning will be cheaper, and in peak tourist seasons it will be more expensive.
To conclude, hot air balloons don’t fly during the day due to the risk of unstable winds, these are caused by the sun heating the ground which generates thermals, during the early and late hours of the day the sun is weaker, so winds are calmer.
You might be able to find some hot air balloon flights during the day but these tend to be during the winter seasons when the sky is more overcast.
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!