Fun Facts

Fun Facts, FAQs and Trivia

Talk Like A Pilot

English is the international language of aviation to ensure communication is clear no matter what country a pilot may come from or is flying in. Using standardized phonetic alphabet from the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) also helps to promote easier understanding regardless of what first language a person may have.

A - Alpha
B - Bravo
C - Charlie
D - Delta
E - Echo
F - Foxtrot
G - Golf
H - Hotel
I - India

J - Juliet
K - Kilo
L - Lima
M - Mike
N - November
O - Oscar
P - Papa
Q - Quebec
R - Romeo

S - Sierra
T - Tango
U - Uniform
V - Victor
W - Whiskey
X - Xray
Y - Yankee
Z - Zulu

0 - ZEE-RO
1 - WUN
2 - TOO
3 - TREE
4 - FOWer
5 - FIVE
6 - SIX
7 - SEVen
8 - AIT
9 - NINer

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes and no.  There is no direct mechanical means of controlling lateral movement for a hot air balloon, but a change in direction can be achieved by utilizing the wind currents at hand.  Sometimes, at different altitudes, the wind will vary in general direction.  By climbing or descending into these layers of air, the pilot is able to maneuver the balloon onto a preferred line of travel.

On average, flights are approximately one hour in length.  Some flights can vary from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending on the amount of fuel on board, the passengers' combined weight, the temperature of the air and when the pilot finds a suitable landing field.

Flights take place at sunrise and approximately 2 hours prior to sunset.  Hot air balloons are not able to fly during the middle of the day due to thermal activity, which makes the air unstable.

Hot air balloon flights take place in winds less than 10 knots (about 18 kph), with no rain or approaching storms in the immediate area.  Flights also require visibility of at least 4 km.

Special clothing is not required for hot air ballooning.  We suggest practical wear, such as long pants, a light jacket, a hat and flat shoes (no sandals or high heels).  We do not fly high enough for a significant change in temperature so plan to dress for the temperature of the day.

Yes, we encourage it.  Some of the greatest pictures of the surrounding area can be taken from 500 feet in the air.  Don't forget to bring batteries for your camera and a protective case for landing.

Yes, some of the best flights take place during the fall and winter months.  During this time, visibility is usually unlimited.

No, it is usually the same temperature on the ground as it is in the air.  The temperature only begins to drop when you fly very high.

A small hot air balloon is 77,000 cubic feet and is approximately 80 feet high and 60 feet in diameter.  An average of 3 passengers and the pilot can fly in a balloon of this size.  Some larger balloons can carry 8-12 passengers.

Hot air! High-powered propane burners heat the air inside the balloon making it less dense than the outside air, allowing the balloon to rise.  The burners create 20+ million BTU's of heat.  In comparison, an average home barbecue generates 30,000 BTU's.  Each flight uses approximately 100 litres of propane.

The balloon travels the same speed as the wind.  An average flight is approximately 15 km in length.

To fly a hot air balloon you must be a licensed balloon pilot.  Much like a fixed wing pilot, balloon pilots go through extensive training including ground school, written exams and hands-on flying.  A balloon pilot must have a minimum of 50 hours experience to fly passengers in Canada.

Balloons are made from rip-stop nylon much like a winter ski jacket.  Unlike a jacket, the balloon is coated to help it resist heat and mildew, and to last longer.  Balloons have an average life expectancy of 300 hours of use.  Manufacturers have many different colours of fabric to choose from to create the many different patterns seen flying through the sky.

Though the altitude record for hot air ballooning is greater than 90,000 feet, the height of passenger flights range anywhere from treetop height up to 2,500 feet.

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