You and your friends drift over the countryside in the basket of a hot air balloon. Floating effortlessly, you are at one with the wind, the earth and sky. Hot air balloons offer romantic adventure and a unique way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Best of all, balloonists form a community unlike any other. We love this sport and invite you to join us. If you’ve ever dreamed about flying a balloon, here is our plan for making your dream come to life.
Try it! Most people who decide to try ballooning have gazed at one floating silently over the countryside just before sunset. Or, they have gone to a balloon event and gotten goose bumps watching a balloon envelope rise to the size of a ten-story building as the roaring flame of its burner breathes life into it.
The yearning to be in the basket as it lifts away from the earth in defiance of gravity is almost irresistible.
“How can I do that?” is the question.
There are professional pilots in almost every area of the country offering balloon rides. Typically, a balloon ride cost $175-250 per person for a 1 hour flight. Usually arrangements can be made with 1-to-2 week’s notice.
A better way to get experience ballooning is to volunteer to be a crew member. Crew members assist with inflation, participate in the “chase”, help pack up after landing and join in the post- flight celebration. While you may not fly right away, you will have a chance to get some hands-on experience and a chance to share the fun of a ballooning adventure. And, eventually your opportunity to fly is usually a reward for your crewing effort.You are invited to call or visit the Lindstrand factory. Chances are, we can refer you to a pilot in your area that would be happy to have you along as crew. If you visit our factory (about three hours west of Chicago) we can usually arrange a tour and, if we are flying that day, we’ll be happy to have you join us. Find Your Sense of Style… Express Yourself! There are about as many shapes, sizes and designs of balloons as there are people. Picking out the one that is “right” for you is part of the fun. Your decision should be based on your needs after you have become aware of what is available. A used balloon can be a good way to get into the sport although you will want to have it inspected at an FAA repair station or the manufacturer before you buy.
Keep Your Dollar Sense Even while you’re dreaming, a little practicality is a good thing – when it comes to money, good used balloons begin at about $18,000, while you can expect to pay about $38,000 for a new one. Larger or more elaborate balloons range from $55,000 to $80,000 or more.
- Flight training for a private pilot’s license ($2,800-$3,800)
- Balloon insurance ($700-$1,200/year)
- Inflation fan ($900-$1,500)
- 2-Way radios (optional, but very useful)
- Chase vehicle (pick-up truck, trailer or van)
- Fuel ($30-$40/flying hour)
- Champagne (for those post-flight celebrations!)
Feed Your Mind: Thinking about ballooning can be almost as much fun as doing it. Here are a few books we recommend:
- ‘Ballooning’ by Dick Wirth, edited by Per Lindstrand
- ‘Balloon Digest’, a publication of the Balloon Federation of America (with contributions from Phil Thompson of Lindstrand Balloons)
Or subscribe to a ballooning publication:
- ‘Ballooning Journal’ published by the Balloon Federation of America, P.O. Box 400, Indianola, IA 50125, ph: (515) 961-8809
You can join a national balloon organization:
- Balloon Federation of America (BFA) is the oldest balloon organization in the US. Visit them at www.bfa.net
Key Facts About Lindstrand Balloons:
- Lindstrand Balloons USA, is a fully US-owned manufacturing company based in Galena, Illinois.
- Lindstrand offers a full range of U.S. type certified sport, commercial, ride and special shape balloons to meet the needs of all balloonists.
- At Lindstrand we believe “fun” should come as standard equipment on every balloon we build. Get some help with your dreaming by ordering your free Lindstrand information packet today!