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Old 2nd August 2012, 02:47   #1
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Default Exhilarating Hot Air Balloon Adventure Ride in Colorado!

I would like to share with all of you the experience of hot air balloon adventure ride. My wifey and me completed this ride about one month back in Boulder, Colorado.

The below excerpts are from the Boulder Hot Air Balloon Rides with whom we had booked our balloon ride flight. The deal which I got was $165 per person which includes breakfast and champagne toast at the end to celebrate the successful completion of the ride.
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History of Hot Air Balloon ride

All throughout history man has envied the birds and dreamed of flying alongside them. From bizarre contraptions to strapping on feathered wings, there have been many failed attempts at flight throughout history. On June 5th of 1783 the secret to flight was unlocked by the Montgolfier brothers when the first unmanned paper balloon took flight in front of a crowd of spectators. It is said that these two French papermakers got the idea for a hot air balloon while watching a piece of clothing get lifted into the air from the smoke of a nearby fireplace. The Montgolfier brothers claimed that it was the smoke filling the balloon that made it take flight but it was in fact the temperature of the air inside the balloon that was the secret!

Why do Hot Air Balloons Fly?

When the air inside the balloon is heated it becomes less dense than the air outside of the balloon. The greater the difference in density between the inside of the balloon and the surrounding air, the more lifting force is exerted on the basket.

How are Hot Air Balloons Launched?

The large fabric part of the balloon known as the “envelope” is removed from a large bag and laid out in a field. The basket is laid on its side with the burners facing the opening of the envelope. The basket is then attached to the envelope with steel carabiners. A powerful fan is placed near the opening of the envelope inflating it with cool air. After about five minutes the envelope is completely filled with air but is laying on its side. A propane burner attached to the basket is then used to heat the air inside the envelope and the balloon stands up. Passengers are then invited into the basket and with a bit more heat from the burner the hot air balloon takes flight!

What is the hot air balloon flight like?

Aside from the occasional interruption by the burner the flight is very silent. It is very common to hear birds and other wildlife while drifting along with the winds. There is rarely even the slightest bit of turbulence during the flight.

How are Hot Air Balloons Steered?

A hot air balloon only has direct control in the vertical direction, however it is very typical that winds are moving different directions at different altitudes. A skilled pilot can use these different currents to achieve an indirect form of steering.

Where do we land?

Ahh, that is one of the most fun things about a hot air balloon ride. While the pilot may have a good idea of what town the flight may finish in it is almost impossible to tell where exactly the landing site will be. As the flight goes on the pilot will gain an understanding of the different wind layers and will have a much better idea of what landing area he will navigate towards.
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Generally the balloon rides are launched at sunrise or sunset when the winds are calm and the pilot has more control on the direction and speed of the hot air balloon. We opted for the sunrise and on July 14th we were asked to report at the launch site at 5:45 am. The launch site was a big open ground close to twin lakes. The breakfast was ready and we had few fruits, cereal and some juice.

Soon after that the pilot and his wing boys started the process of inflating the balloon. The balloon envolope was spread on the ground and then the pilot started a heavy duty fan which was blowing air in the balloon. It took almost 30 minutes for the balloon to inflate. Then the basket which could hold about 15 persons was attached to the balloon. The basket had a 6 propane tanks to be used to create flame and heat the air inside the balloon. Once the balloon was inflated everybody was asked to get in the basket one by one and people were asked to stand in such a way that the weight was distributed evenly in the basket. Not the pilot let off the rope which was holding the basket to the ground so that the balloon can launch in the air.

Once the balloon was in air the initial jitters which we were feeling were gone. The breeze was calm and the balloon was climbing in air at a slow pace. The view of the rocky mountains and boulder town was ecstatic.
Standing in basket was very comfortable experience and we didnt feel any turbulence like it is felt in airplanes.

I will let pictures do the talking of the views which we saw from about 4000 ft high in the air.

Balloon envolope spread on ground ready to be inflated
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Basket attached to balloon with heavy duty fan
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Beautiful sunlight passing through the balloon
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Balloon is inflated and ready to be launched
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View of rocky mountains
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Tennis courts Swimming pools and parking lot of one of the apartment complexes
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Small shadow of balloon on the green fields
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View of road from the basket just before landing
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Beautiful shadow of balloon on the highway
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Enormous shadow of balloon on the highway just before landing
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Last edited by athanedar : 2nd August 2012 at 03:02.
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Old 2nd August 2012, 02:52   #2
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Default Hot Air Balloon Adventure ride

After about 75 minutes in the air the pilot decided that it was time to land. Since the wind was calm the pilot was able to land the basket very safely on an open ground close to highway.
We were then brought back to our launch site where we had parked our cars and we ended the experience with a glass of champagne.

The experience was once in a lifetime experience and would definitely recommend whenever you get a chance.

All the photos below are after the landing and deflation of balloon

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Exhilarating Hot Air Balloon Adventure Ride in Colorado!-img_4625.jpg

Last edited by athanedar : 2nd August 2012 at 02:55.
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Old 2nd August 2012, 14:11   #3
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Default Re: Exhilarating Hot Air Balloon Adventure Ride in Colorado!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd August 2012, 17:27   #4
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Default Re: Hot Air Balloon Adventure ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by athanedar View Post
After about 75 minutes in the air the pilot decided that it was time to land.
A different and a nice travellogue.

If you have no objections, please share how the baloon is controlled in air and how was the balloon landed?

Lastly - What is the cost per head for the ride.
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Old 2nd August 2012, 19:41   #5
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Default Re: Exhilarating Hot Air Balloon Adventure Ride in Colorado!

Wow man that's awesome!!! Hot air balloons have a certain charm that nothing else can compare. I just imagine it must be so quite and peaceful once you are in the air. Just an occasional sound from the burners!! (that's how I imagine it must be )

Really nice pics! The shadow pics give a nice perspective of distance and depth!

Cheers!
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