What are hot air balloons made of?
The bag or envelope is made of reinforced fabric called rip-stop nylon (some balloons are made of dacron). The material is very light weight but very strong. The fabric is coated to prevent leaks.
What are the baskets made of?
The baskets are made from rattan or wicker. The material is lightweight and very durable. Each basket is individually woven by hand.
How fast does it go?
As fast or as slow as the wind. Since the balloon has no forward propulsion system, its speed is determined entirely by the speed of the wind. That is why balloon competitions are strictly for accuracy, not for speed.
When is the best time to fly?
Usually just after sunrise and one or two hours before sunset. This is the time of day when the winds are calmest and the air the most stable.
How long can the balloon stay up?
It depends. Normally, the balloon carries enough fuel to remain aloft for 1 to 2 hours, but factors like outside air temperature, weight being carried in the basket and weather conditions determine the duration of the flight.
What kind of fuel is used?
Propane is kept in pressurized tanks in the basket. The balloon carries 30-40 gallons of liquid propane. It is carried under pressure through flexible hoses to to the burner. When the valves are opened, the propane atomizes and is ignited by a pilot light in the burner. The flame may shoot out as much as ten to twenty feet, making a loud whoosh.
How do you get back?
With the help of friends, who drive a chase vehicle. The chase crew will follow the flight of the balloon (as well as existing roads allow) and should be on hand to make the recovery when the balloon touches down.