Thinking of becoming a Hot Air Balloon Pilot?

Written by Brett Watson on August 23, 2016

Thinking of becoming a hot air balloon pilot? It’s a wonderful occupation; it is a beautiful way to see the world and meet new people. This is the perfect job for those who love to ‘go where the wind blows’ them.

Balloon Pilot

Flying a Balloon is a Unique Experience

Flying a hot air balloon is an experience like no other! You, and your passengers, will gently float along above the gorgeous landscape. Using the winds to help you steer your aircraft, you get to enjoy the spectacular scenery unfold below you. Ballooning is also a wonderful job for those who love to be up in the air, but don’t want to pursue a pilot license. It’s a romantic way to see the world!


Hot Air Balloons

Balloons were man’s first form for aviation. Today they are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, just as planes are.

There are two different kinds of hot air balloons, and both are rated differently. The most common are those that burn propane in order to get up in the air. The second type uses hydrogen, helium or ammonia to become airborne. These are called ‘gas balloons’. These are a lot rarer today but there are groups who sill fly Gas balloons.

You can hold one of three types of certificates as a hot air balloon pilot; you can have a student certificate, a private certificate or a commercial certificate.

To be a student you must be at least 14 years old, to be a private balloonist you must be at least 16, and to be a commercial pilot you must be at least 18 years old.

You must also have at least 10 hours of instruction for a private certificate and at least 35 for a commercial certificate. A commercial rating allows you to advertise your business and even instruct other would-be balloonists.


Not for Type A Personalities

Ballooning is not for those who prefer to be in control of everything at all times; Type A personalities may find ballooning challenging because you never know exactly where your balloon will land. Your plans have to be ‘up in the air’ a bit.

Ballooning is, however, wonderful for those who love to follow the weather (it’s important to know the weather patterns in order to avoid severe winds and inclement conditions). Those who are patient, can follow directions, know how to pay attention to weather patterns and who love going where the wind takes them will love being a hot air balloonist!




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