Hot Air Balloon Flight FAQs
Your Questions Answered
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Passenger flights take place all year round, although our main scheduled season is between April and October as the most favourable conditions are usually found between Spring and Autumn each year. Balloon flights take place shortly after sunrise or around 2 hours before sunset, when the winds are generally at their calmest.
We also fly during the Winter months when we get suitable weather. In the Winter months, clear, frosty days are the best for ballooning.
In terms of where we fly, we are unable to fly in the greater Dublin area due to controlled airspace (and less opportunities for landing sites), so we fly from neighbouring areas i.e. mainly Meath/Boyne Valley.
Our chief pilot has been flying balloons for almost 40 years and would be considered amongst the most experienced pilots of Hot Air Balloons. Similarly, our ground crew and staff are all experienced in all aspects of ballooning in order to make your flight an experience to remember.
We also provide complimentary photographs and/or video from your flight experience.
We actively encourage flight ticket purchasers to pay a deposit for the flight, giving them the option to pay the balance when they know that their flights are actually going ahead. This means that the purchaser does not need to pay the full amount in advance of the planned flight.
Once you have a flight ticket you can make contact in order to make a reservation. Should your planned flight be postponed, due to unsuitable weather, we will reschedule you back in for a mutually agreeable date and time.
Hot Air Ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation and enjoys an impeccable safety record. Balloon flights always take place in suitable, stable conditions and our pilots are all trained to the highest standard and each holds a Commercial Pilots Licence in order to carry out Public Transport flights. Our company is regulated by the Irish Aviation Authority and we are rigorously audited to ensure the highest levels of safety and compliance. Whilst it might be tempting to take a potentially cheaper paid flight with a ‘private’ balloonist (non-approved) these flights are illegal and there would certainly be no insurance cover. Our balloons are treated exactly the same as any other licenced aircraft and are subject to annual inspections and maintenance.
We recommend that you dress in layers. It is generally no colder in the air than it is on the ground on any given flight, so there is definitely no need to overdress on warm days. There are some items of clothing that are NOT suitable for a flight. As we can sometimes land in a field that could contain thistles or nettles, we ask passengers to wear sensible clothing in that environment. Shoes must be flat with no heels and no open-toed sandals or pumps. Also, we strongly recommend waterproof footwear for morning flights, when there can be substantial dew on the grass.
Yes, Hot Air Ballooning does require stable, light wind conditions, with no rain in the vicinity. Due to this, it is possible that flights could be postponed prior to having your flight. If multiple flights are cancelled due to weather, we extend the validity period of the ticket(s) free of charge. If flights are postponed due to bad weather, we then ask you to make contact to reschedule back in for another convenient date. We are governed by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) in terms of weather limitations and have to abide to these limits for safety reasons.
We will make contact the day before your morning flight, or during the morning for an evening flight to provide a weather update. It is important that we have the most up to date forecasting information.
We fully understand that some passengers might want to travel earlier and, potentially, take advantage of accommodation in the flight area. In these circumstances, we ask those passenger to contact us outside the cancellation parameters of the accommodation provider, and we will give our best analysis of the anticipated weather for their flight.
We ask passengers to allow 3 to 3.5 hours for the whole experience. This includes the preparation and packing away time, plus travel time back to the meeting location following the flight (plus the time for the champagne toast!). The flight itself is around one hour in the air, give or take a few minutes either way.
The distance travelled is down to the wind speed on the day, and can be up to 20 kilometers on some days. On calm days, it might only be a few kilometers. The balloons will generally fly at different altitudes and will normally find different winds at different heights.
Good question! The simple answer is that nobody knows – it’s a Magical Mystery Tour! Hot Air Balloons always fly with the winds and the exact landing location is not known until fairly late into the flight. Balloons do not land in crop fields or near animals / livestock. Our retrieve vehicle follows the balloon on the ground, in radio contact, and will gain permission from the landowner before recovering the balloon!
We encourage our passengers to get involved with the balloon preparation and packing away, but this is completely voluntary! Getting involved definitely enhances the experience.
A flight in a Hot Air Balloon is completely different to being at the top of a high building, tower or cliff etc. When taking off, it is as though the ground is slowly receding away and, in all our years of flying balloons, we have never had a single person who advised that they could not handle the experience of flying in the balloon.
The minimum age is 12 years of age. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, all passengers must be able to see over the edge of the basket and be able to clearly follow safety instructions. There is no upward age limit providing that each passenger has sufficient mobility to be able to get into and out of the basket. It is akin to crossing a field gate, where there are a couple of steps in the side of the basket to facilitate entry. Passengers must also be able to comfortably stand for a minimum period of 90 minutes. Unfortunately, we are unable to facilitate wheelchair users on our flights. We are also unable to fly anyone who is pregnant or suffering from certain medical conditions. If you are unsure as to whether a specific medical condition is allowed, please contact us.
Commercial Aviation in Europe, including commercial Hot Air Ballooning, is governed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the relevant national aviation authority (in Ireland it is the Irish Aviation Authority). Commercial operators make a declaration to the relevant aviation authority and can be audited to ensure compliance with all the legal and operational requirements. Pilots carrying out commercial flights must have a commercial rating on their pilots licence and take biennial check flights with an EASA flight examiner, as is also required by commercial airline pilots. Similarly, pilots are required to hold a Class 2 medical certificate. Balloons used for commercial flights must also be maintained under an approved EASA CAO/CAMO organisation. Sky High Adventures also hold both passenger and third-party liability insurance, underwritten by Lloyds. Passengers flying with Sky High Adventures can be assured that every requirement has been fulfilled to ensure an approved, safe and legal experience. Whilst it might be tempting to approach a ‘hobbyist’ balloon pilot for a flight, they are neither licenced or insured to carry fare-paying passengers.