How do I check availability, and schedule my flight?
- Click on the “Book Online Now” button, in the navigation bar of this website.
- Select a service. Shared flight or Private flight.
- Select a date. If the date is “not available”, it is not available.
- If you select a shared flight.
- Please be sure to select the number of people in your group.
- Create a user account.
- Be sure to include the weight of every individual in your group.
- Provide a cell phone number for a cell phone you will have with you, the morning of your flight.
- Provide an email you actually use. We will be sending you important information.
- You will be transferred to PayPal.
- Pay a 35%, refundable, deposit. With your debit card, credit card, or PayPal account.
- We will receive notification of your booking.
- We will reply.
- Usually with in two hours. Within four hours, if we are out flying balloons.
- If your appointment is “denied”.
- You will receive an explanation, from us, via email.
- You will have the option to reschedule or receive a full refund.
- If your appointment is “accepted”.
- You will receive a confirmation email from us, with time and location information.
What time do we meet?
We meet at, or just before, sunrise. Sunrise varies, throughout the year, from 6:15 am to 8:00 am. Please check your email at 8:30 pm, the night before your flight, for the exact meet time.
Where do we meet?
Where we meet is determined by weather, and how many passengers we have scheduled. Please check your email at 8:30 pm, the night before your flight, for location information.
What should I wear?
The coldest part of the morning is when we meet. It gets warmer as the sun rises, and even though we are high up in the balloon, we get warmth from the burners and direct sunlight, so don’t worry about bundling up too much. It is, however, a good idea to wear long pants, comfortable shoes such as light hiking boots, and a hat to shield you from the radiant heat of the burner.
Where should we stay?
First, and foremost, we recommend searching Google for hotel accommodations. Below is a list of hotels that are closest to where we’ll meet the morning of your flight.
- Holiday Inn Asheville Biltmore West
- 435 Smoky Park Hwy, Asheville NC 28806. 1.4 miles from where we meet.
- Comfort Inn Asheville Biltmore West:
- 15 Crowell Rd, Asheville NC 28806. 1.9 miles from where we meet.
- Country Inn and Suites by Carlson Biltmore West:
- 1914 Old Haywood Rd, Asheville 28806. 2.1 miles from where we meet.
For an option closer to downtown Asheville.
- Country Inn and Suites by Carlson Asheville Westgate:
- 22 Westgate Parkway, Asheville 28806. 7 miles from where we meet.
The flight is about an hour. How long does the whole morning take, from beginning to end?
From the scheduled meet time, to when we drop you back off at your car, is generally about four hours. On some mornings the duration can be up to five hours, these mornings are very rare, once or twice a year.
Why do we meet so early?
The weather is coolest, and the winds are calmest just before sunrise. So early morning is the ideal time for ballooning. In fact sunrise is the only time ballooning can occur in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
How high will we go?
Typically we reach altitudes of 500 to 2000 feet above the ground. We may go higher on mornings when the winds aloft are light. Our altitude will depend entirely on wind direction, and wind speed.
Where do we launch from?
We launch, fly, and land in Candler. Launch sites are determined, the morning of, by our pilots, based on observed winds, and fog conditions.
How far does the balloon travel?
One-to-three, Three-to-five miles in forty-five to sixty minutes.
May I bring a camera, or video camera?
Of course! We are not responsible for any possessions, or equipment, on the ground, or in the air. If you drop something it is probably gone forever.
Does the basket sway when we’re flying?
Because we move with the wind, the basket does not sway. Many people are surprised to discover what a smooth ride it is.
Do you fly year-round?
Yes. Any time you choose to fly will be exceptional, though you can expect different things in each season. The best season for crystal clear views is winter. This is also the best time to see snowy mountain peaks, wildlife, and the little details of life on the ground when all the leaves are gone. Use heated insoles, hand warmers, and insulated boots and you’ll be ready for the only winter ballooning adventure in town! In springtime you’ll enjoy the fields of yellow daffodils, the green buds of hundreds of species of trees, and snowy white blossoms of pear and dogwood. Take a break from the bustle of your summer vacation to ride the warm morning currents up to where the buzz of summertime will gently fade into a tossing ocean of green. And of course, Western North Carolina is renowned for gorgeous autumn color, so there’s nothing like getting your fill of the season by seeing the changes from up above. The reds, golds, and oranges create a carpet of hues that will take your breath away.
Do you have to be licensed to pilot hot air balloons?
Yes. Our captains have earned their FAA commercial certifications from an FAA-designated pilot examiner by demonstrating a precise knowledge of commercial standards. Or, to put it simply, they know their stuff. And although it isn’t required that pilots be multi-generation aeronauts, our captains are.
Is there a minimum age?
We require children be at least five years old. We strictly prohibit anyone from, assisting children, by picking them up, in the basket, during flight. Feet must remain on the floor of the basket at all times.
Is there a maximum age?
We’ve had passengers in their seventies, eighties, and even nineties. The space inside the basket is large enough for standing room only. Occupants should be able to stand for up to ninety minutes (maximum possible flight time).
Is there space in the basket for a wheelchair?
No, there is not.
Is there a door for getting in, and out of the basket?
No, there is not. We do have step ladders available, and ground crew to assist with entering and exiting the aircraft.