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One of the joys of hot air ballooning is that you will float with the breeze, feeling absolutely no sensation of movement. We have launch and landing sites all over Melbourne, from many of Melbourne's numerous parks and gardens. Some commonly used sites are Royal Park, Fawkner Park, Albert Park and Yarra Bend/Studley Park. The parks we use are chosen on the day and depend on the wind direction in the morning and the speed of the wind.
We don’t! Hot air balloons aren't fitted with a rudder or steering wheel - instead, pilots can change the course of the balloon flight by floating between the air currents found at different heights (or layers) above the ground. Your pilot will make the balloon climb and descend through the layers using the different wind directions to ‘steer’ the balloon to its target.
Hot air ballooning is an early morning activity because the air is cool and stable during the first few hours of the day. As the day goes on, the sun heats up the ground causing wind currents and turbulence - these are not good conditions for ballooning! We need to fly the balloon between 2-4 hours after sunrise, depending on the time of year. In the ballooning industry this is called the "Hot Air Balloon Weather Window".
No Balloon Flight could happen without a ground crew. The ground crew will pick you up from your hotel (if you chose this option) before filling in the required paperwork and giving you a safety briefing on the day ahead. Then they will drive you to the balloon launch site (spectator vehicles are welcome to follow in convoy!) and assist in preparing and inflating the balloon. The ground crew will then chase the airborne balloon whilst remaining in radio contact with the pilot. Upon landing, the ground crew will assist the passengers out of the wicker basket and help with packing away the balloon itself (known as the "Envelope").
Melbourne CBD, Yarra Valley