Frequently Asked Questions

Why do flights take place so early in the morning?

It’s a great time to be up and the mornings in Mareeba are just spectacular besides balloons need cool stable calm winds to operate effectively and the hours following sunrise are the most suitable. As balloons are the only form of flight, which moves with the wind, the weather is most important. The pilot cannot directly steer but chooses heights carefully to utilise wind currents to sail towards the closest, most appropriate landing site.

top

What do I bring on the morning ballooning?

Dress as for a casual walk in the bush, sensible sturdy shoes are recommended. We suggest you bring sunglasses, a hat/cap and dress in layered clothing. During the morning as the sun comes up, the day will become warmer.

Remember there is so much to see from an entirely new perspective, you will want to record it all to relive later, your own camera or video camera are welcomed on board. Don’t forget your cash or credit card (M, V) for that extra special souvenir of your fantastic balloon experience.

Of course if you choose to add on a Great Barrier Reef tour or Rafting tour after ballooning, please bring your swimming outfit, a change of clothes, sunscreen and towel.

top

Where does Hot Air fly?

Hot Air choses their take off locations for their excellent conditions throughout the year, as well as their spectacular scenery. Balloons are weather dependent, however Hot Air’s location on the Atherton Tablelands is one of the most reliable in the world for ballooning. The Atherton Tablelands are a sub-tropical haven located one hours drive west of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. This unique region of World Heritage Listed rainforests, National Parks, bird and Australian wildlife watching and charming outback towns is a great place to take off from

top

Why should I choose to balloon in Cairns, Australia?

Hot Air and the ballooning industry of the region, offer the best value and most reliable balloon departures in Australia. Letters, faxes and e-mails from Hot Air passengers confirm that many of them see ballooning as a highlight of their holiday and some tell us it’s they had the best experience of their life! It’s a great way to start the day!

top

What are balloons made of?

Balloons are made of ripstop nylon supported on an air-frame of wires and high grade webbings.

top

How is the balloon inflated?

The envelope is stretched out and attacked to the basket. A powerful fan is used to inflate the envelope with cold air firstly. When partially inflated, a burner heats the air and the envelope rises above the basket. With further heating, there is sufficient 'lift' for the balloon to fly.

top

How tall are balloons?

Balloons may be up to 30 metres tall.

top

How is the balloon steered?

Balloons cannot be steered! Some directional control is possible by ascending or descending into air currents going in a different direction, this information is checked prior to take off be releasing a small helium balloon and checking up to date weather reports. The pilot can raise or lower the balloon by controlling the temperature inside the balloon.

top

Can anyone do it?

Whether you are nine or ninety, you can go ballooning. Hot Air has flown passengers of all ages.

top

What about Vertigo - I hate heights?

Balloon flight is very gentle and stable and because you start from the ground and gently lift up, rather than looking off the edge of a building - there is quiet a different sensation. We recommend you try it – so many of our passengers attest to how surprised at how comfortable and safe they felt flying with Hot Air.

top

How high do balloons fly?

Most balloonists enjoy low-level flight as more can be seen. We often see Wallabies and other wildlife in the bushland surrounding creeks. The typical balloon flight would be anywhere from tree level to approximately 3,000 ft. The Mareeba district allows balloons to fly anywhere up to 7,500 feet.

top

How far do balloons fly?

Anywhere from 5 to 30 kilometers, depending upon wind speed and flight duration, take off location depends on the wind directions around Mareeba at the time.

top

Is wind required to fly?

No, but most balloonists prefer about 6-8 km per hour surface wind.

top

What do you hear whilst you’re flying?

You travel with the wind - so when the burner is off, it is completely quiet. It’s easy to hear sounds drifting up from below you, dogs barking, birds singing etc.

top

What regulations are in Place?

Balloons are required to be fully registered aircraft with the Australian Civil Aviation and safety Authority and are subject to regular airworthiness checks by authorised personnel. Pilots need to have different levels of experience before they are allowed to progress to larger balloons and this again is carefully monitored by CASA. Each commercial operation must operate with a nominated Chief Pilot and under an Air Operators Certificate from CASA.

top