Frequently Asked Questions about Sri Lanka Ballooning
Frequently Asked Questions about Hot Air Balloons and Hot Air Ballooning in Sri Lanka. Still not sure if we can be of help? Check through some frequently asked questions and then send us a message or e-mail.
How do Hot Air Balloons fly?
A Hot Air Balloon has three essential parts: the burner, which heats the air; the balloon envelope, which holds the air; and the basket, which carries the passengers and pilot.
In a Hot Air Balloon, a gas burner is used to heat air to a temperature of about 212°F (100°C). Since hot air is lighter and less dense than the cool air around the balloon, the heated air causes the whole balloon to rise.
There is a parachute on the inside of the hot-air balloon. This is how air escapes and what is used to descend the balloon or deflate it.
A pressure scoop is used to direct cool air into the balloon (cool air is needed to help pressurize the inside of the balloon).
How big are the balloons?
There are balloons of several sizes that range from small baskets for one person up to baskets with 32 passengers. Some balloons are up to 30 metres high. We operate medium size balloons (10 & 16 pax) to serve optimum Sri Lanka Ballooning experience.
What kind of material is the balloon made of?
The envelope is usually made of nylon or polyester, the similar type of fabric parachutes are made of. It is very tightly woven and is coated with a material that makes it airtight. The nylon is only used to keep the hot air in the balloon. The basket load is transferred by steel or Kevlar cables to a series of vertical load tapes, which carry the load.
Our balloons’ envelopes manufactured with Hyperlast New Generation Fabrics; basket with leather covering, soft paddings and safety belts; burners are Quad Shadow Burners which are the best and latest technology of ballooning industry.
Why is the basket made of wicker?
The wicker basket has proven to be very strong for its weight and is flexible. The wicker is sometimes woven around a steel or aluminum frame, which helps to support the upright posts upon which the burner is mounted. The top rim of the basket and the uprights are usually padded and covered in suede or leather. Also the weight is critical in balloon flying, the baskets are made of light materials such as wicker, fiberglass or aluminium.
Why do flights take place so early in the morning?
Balloons need stable winds to operate effectively and the hours just following sunrise are the best for finding these winds. Since balloons move with the air, the weather is very important in deciding whether or not to fly. The pilot chooses a launch site to use the wind currents to fly to a suitable landing site. It is possible to fly in the afternoon in some northern countries but not so in Sri Lanka because of high temperature and fast wind.
How do you inflate the balloons?
First the Sri Lanka Ballooning crew attaches the balloons (envelope) to the basket and burner. It is then laid out on the ground and the crew begins inflating it with a powerful fan that is placed at the base of the envelope until it reaches a certain level. Then Sri Lanka Ballooning pilots start the burner to heat the air. As the air inside the envelope gets warmer, the balloon becomes upright. The balloon is almost ready for lift-off.
How do you steer the balloons?
The wind directs them. On the other hand the pilots utilize different wind layers by changing the balloon’s height. The direction a balloon takes is not defined in a two-dimensional route, but in a three-dimensional space. Sri Lanka Balloon Pilots change height by changing the heat of the air inside the envelope. Majority of our flights follow a more scenic flight plan and our flight time is longer than any other operators in the area. As the best balloon company in the island, we do not fly just straight. We descent and fly tree-top level over lakes, trees and all beauties on the ground as well as we fly high.
How high the balloons fly?
Guests are keen to enjoy the panorama without missing the delightful details. Thus the Sri Lanka Balloon Flights usually don’t take place very high above the ground. Balloons can fly at the height of a tree, but they can also rise up to a few thousand feet if necessary. Pilots pick the best height depending on weather conditions. The limit set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka is 2000 feet above ground level.
How big is the Sri Lanka Ballooning area?
Flights take place within an area that ranges between 5 – 25 square kilometers. The range is wide, as the speed and direction of the balloon is dependent on the wind. Sometimes the wind can even turn 360 degrees. As a general rule; the higher you fly, the stronger the wind. Sri Lanka Ballooning operated within a range up to 5 NM.
How long is the flight?
An average Sri Lanka Ballooning experience takes approximately one hour. However the real time is dependent on the weather conditions and the availability of landing areas. Our experienced pilots define the place and time of landing by checking existing environmental conditions. Majority of our flights follow a more scenic flight plan and our flight time is longer than any other operators in the area.
What do we see or hear during the Sri Lanka Ballooning experience?
A Sri Lankan Ballooning trip is the most blissful flight experience and one of the best ways to sight-see. You will feel totally comfortable and enjoy each spectacular detail. The differences between the levels of the land and textures are pleasantly visible. There is no other vehicle which enables the traveler to feel so united with the earth and the sky. You may hear the barking of dogs below and the chirping of the birds above… You may see lakes, jungles, hills, temples, villagers, fishermen and more… You may even talk to people walking on the road. The perfect silence only breaks off, when the burner is turned on. As the best ballooning project in Sri Lanka, our experienced pilots create the best probable route depanding the current weather conditions.
How do we feel during the Sri Lanka Balloon Tour?
You will not feel any disturbance after take-off. The basket remains motionless in the air, while the wind carries you. As Lanka Ballooning Pvt Ltd only make trips in good weather, the motion you feel is not more than what you would normally feel in an elevator. While you float over tree tops and lowland, the only feeling that will arouse in your heart will be an unmatched sense of bliss. A balloon minimizes the vertigo effect, and if it is our guests’ wish we will keep our level as low as possible. Most of our guests defined their experience as romantic, while others found it gentle and peaceful.
What should we bring along with us?
We strongly advise you to bring your camera / smart phone. Sri Lanka Balloon crew will also help you to record your special moments. You may also bring your binoculars. Please note that you may need sunglasses as well as a hat during the flight.
What if the balloon flights cancelled due to inclement weather conditions?
Please note that flight availability is totally dependent on weather conditions. A sunny and bright sky is not enough for a flight to take place. We will do our best to realize the trip on the day of your reservation. However, if the weather is bad, we will ask for your understanding and cooperation if we have to cancel a flight. Please be sure that it is the the best choice for your safety and comfort. The final decision for take-off or cancellation is up to the pilot. Sri Lanka Ballooning Pilots are constantly checking the weather. Finally decide to fly or cancel by negotiating with the meteorological institution and Sri Lankan Air Force. If flight is cancelled due to weather, no cost for you of any kind.
Is it cold up there?
Balloons do not climb to great heights where you will feel a large change of climate. Hot Air Ballooning Sri Lanka altitute limit is 2000 feets. Besides, the heat coming from the burner generally keeps guests warm. Even the cold winds, which would normally affect you when you are standing on the ground, lose their influence because the balloon becomes a part of the wind.
What are the legal procedures of Civil Aviation?
All checks and audits related to Hot Air Balloon Flights in Sri Lanka, including balloon pilot licenses, balloon operator licenses, insurance policies are initiated by the officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. All Sri Lanka Ballooning – Commercial Hot Air Balloon Service Providers are listed under aviation companies and are certified by the Authority. www.caa.lk
Who can fly with Sri Lanka Balloon?
We can accommodate almost all persons aged between 6 and 90 who are capable to stand up during the course of the balloon flight, can climb into and out of the basket, and understand and apply safety instructions. Please contact us if your child is younger than 6 years old.
Who cannot fly?
– Persons, who had a recent operation
– Persons with severe pain around the middle parts of their body
– Women who are pregnant
– Persons with fragile bones
– Children aged under 6 years old*
– Persons who require a stick to walk
– Persons with mental illnesses
– Persons who are not able-bodied
– Persons with broken bones
– In case you have any hesitations, please consult your doctor
*Please contact us for younger kids to fly with Sri Lanka Balloon.
What should I wear?
Consider the existing weather conditions. Comfortable shoes with low heels are recommended. Sun glasses, hats and cameras (a must-have) are useful to have during a Sri Lanka Balloon Flight that will be remembered with laughter for a life-time.
What if I have vertigo?
Flying inside a basket is much different than standing at the side of a skyscraper’s balcony. There is no solid line for you to take as a reference to check the height, which is the main psychological factor that triggers vertigo. The Sri Lanka Ballooning basket is stable and does not swing. According to our years of experience; even guests with severe vertigo felt comfortable following take-off and experienced no anxiety during the whole flight.
Why are balloon flights expensive?
– Hot-Air Balloons are imported products. The materials used in the production have a short life-span. Balloons require continuous maintenance and replacement is a must after a certain period. Our balloons and maintenance equipments imported from UK and Spain.
– Hot-Air Balloons use propane as fuel. Propane is priced according to changes in gas prices.
– Legal Balloon Operator Licenses require high fees. In order to adhere to Civil Aviation rules, we have to continuously budget for audits, certified equipment, certified maintenance and additional licenses. Please visit About Us page for more information about our licenses.
– Ballooning is an activity that requires human power to carry the balloon on the ground and flies it up in the air. Crew carry the balloon on the ground before and after flight who are qualified and experienced people. And each balloon operated by a qualified experienced Commercial Hot Air Balloon Pilot. We employ 20 staff such as pilot, crew and operational – marketing staff to operate 2 balloons.