Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about your flight
If you have a large group or would like to fly on a weekend it’s recommended you book two weeks in advance. If you have predetermined dates then let us know as soon as you can so we can ensure you secure your spot and don’t miss out.
All our flights use the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley as the meeting point and is very easy to find especially early in the morning. Passengers are invited into the main foyer before completing our safety briefing and heading out to one of 20 launch sites to setup the balloon.
Thanks to the stunning sunny weather in the Hunter Valley we are lucky and fly all year round. We continually check weather patterns throughout the day and we are directly linked to the Bureau of Meteorology to determine flight conditions.
Although we need some wind to fly the balloon we can’t fly if there is too much wind. We fly early morning because the winds are at their calmest. Also, a lower ambient temperature means that it is easier to get the balloon off the ground and keep it in the air and we don’t need to heat it to such a high temperature.
This in turn means we don’t use so much gas and can fly longer and also no passenger should miss the spectacular Hunter Valley sunrise.
You can expect an unrivalled feeling of freedom and exhilaration as you gently float above the beautiful Hunter Valley.
Generally it doesn’t get much colder than what it is on the ground. You don’t feel any wind because you are moving at the same speed as the wind. We also find that the burner acts as an excellent provider of heat.
Questions about our balloons
Hot air balloons fly as hot air rises. Hot air rises because it is less dense than the cooler air around it and so it tends to ‘float’ on the cooler air. We use a burner to heat the air in the balloon until it is hotter than the air outside the balloon. Once this is effected the balloon will rise, carrying us with it. If we were to allow the balloon to cool it would begin to descend as it becomes the same temperature as the external air.
If we were to let some of the hot air out of the balloon the same thing would happen because there would no longer be enough hot air in the balloon to lift us. Gas balloons work on a similar principle except that they use helium gas, which is less dense, and therefore lighter than air to achieve the same effect.
How high we fly depends on the wind patterns on the day. At different heights there are different wind layers in which the wind has different speeds and directions. On an average hot air balloon flight we go from tree-top level up to between one and three thousand feet.
The cost of a balloon varies depending on the size and average from between $70,000 to $120,000 per carrier.
Yes, our hot air balloon pilots have Commercial Pilot licenses, we are just like any other aviation charter business and the same rules and regulations apply.
There are many different balloon sizes from small one person balloons to very large ones that can carry twenty people or more. Beyond Ballooning currently have in our fleet a 24, 20, 10, 8 and 2 passenger balloons.
We begin by laying the basket on its side and then laying out the envelope (the balloon) and attaching it by very strong wires to the basket. We then inflate the balloon with cold air using a portable petrol-powered fan.
When the envelope is almost completely inflated with cold air we turn on the burners and begin to heat the air inside. This will make the balloon begin to rise to an up-right position. Then we just keep heating the air until it is hot enough to take us skyward.
The material is rip-stop nylon which is coated with polyurethane. The first three panels of the balloon are made of Nomex which is extremely fire-retardant.
We do not need sand bags. If we want to go higher we just heat the air in the balloon. If we want to go down we let the balloon cool or let the hot air out. Gas, (helium), balloons use sandbags.
Wicker is light in weight, flexible and very strong – and besides they look great.
This depends on the size of the balloon. Our largest balloon weighs around 500 kilos.
LPG – liquid propane gas, the same fuel you might use in your gas BBQ.
Our smallest balloon can carry 2 passengers while our largest balloon can carry up to 24 passengers plus the pilot.
Flights generally last for an hour, however the balloon can remain airborne for longer periods, subject to fuel supplies.
We go where the wind goes. However, the wind does go in different directions at different altitudes and so by ascending and descending we can take advantage and select a wind direction that is consistent with our predetermined flight path.