Florida Guide > Other Activities
Up, up and away in a beautiful balloon!
A balloon flight is something that we’ve been saying for years we wanted to do but never got around to it. When it was announced we could purchase tickets through this site, we had every reason to book a trip on our recent visit to Florida.
E-mail confirmation duly arrived, excitement mounted and the news that we had to meet the flight team at 5. 45am began to sink in! ! However the thought of floating above the ground as the sun rose was a chance just too good to miss.
Having met up with not only the pilots but also the others who would be taking the trip with us, we were transported to the ‘launch site’ where the balloons, equipment and baskets were unpacked and the men in our group were dispatched to help hold onto the balloon whilst cold air was pumped in to start inflating it. Soon they stood aside and the gas jets were lit, adding hot air to the balloon.
Suddenly there were five balloons, inflated with baskets attached, straining to get off the ground. We were given our places in the basket, we all clambered in via ‘steps’ in the side of the basket and just as suddenly as the balloons had inflated, we had lifted off and were floating over the grass. Gosh, we’d done it!
It was a misty morning and, as we floated higher, it was magical and mystical to see the balloons silhouetted in the sky with the ghostly shapes of the trees below us.
The rising sun quickly burnt off the mist and there below us were rows of orange groves, houses, lakes and deer running through the fields. We had a bird’s eye view of the I4 and Highway 27 and it felt as though we were going to drop into Dennys for breakfast! Within seconds, we were rising higher and the pilot announced we had reached 6000 feet. The overriding impression from everyone was peace and quiet as the balloon just glided along.
All to soon (we were actually airborne for around 75 minutes), we were dropping towards the landing site and then we were on the ground and helping to pack up the huge balloon which eventually fitted into a canvas bag around six feet in diameter – how did we do that? !
Next came the champagne to toast our flight and wish happy birthday, anniversary and even wedding congratulations to those who had taken the flight as a celebration. Then back to the meeting point and an ‘all you can eat’ breakfast where we were also given our flight certificates. And it was still only 11am!
For those considering a balloon flight, we would say ‘Just do it’. The safety aspects are all well covered, instructions are clear as to what you can and cannot do. All help is available to get in and out of the balloon basket and the heat from the gas jets can be felt but is not intrusive or unbearable. As take off and landings are in fields, closed toed shoes are safest and most comfortable. It is not cold in the air and we were plenty warm enough in tees shirts and shorts. Cameras are an absolute must – what a photo opportunity this is!
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Page added on: 10 June 2007
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