Hot air ballooning has to be one of the most romantic ways to fly.  Few can resist the attraction as a hundred feet of wispy nylon majestically rises with the burner.  And whether you choose a morning or evening flight, the experience will be remembered for years to come!  We are a PART-time balloon business.  We fly ONLY weekends.  At sunrise or about 2 hours before sunset, when the winds are in transition and are gentle, we will meet at a pre-selected launch site (usually Jim Mack's Ice Cream in Wrightsville).  If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we will reschedule you for another day.  As a part of involving you in having "an up-close and personal experience with Ballooning," we will invite you to join in the process of inflating the Balloon System, which takes about 20-30 minutes.

     Before the inflation, we will discuss Balloon Safety with you and the Crew. You'll be reminded as well throughout the flight of our Safety Procedures.

What’s a Flight Really Like?

     Once the Balloon is inflated, we will board the gondola ("Basket"), and we will gently ascend.  There is no sensation of movement, no sensation of rising, rather one of the ground dropping away.  Looking up inside the balloon from the wicker basket, the regular shapes of the colorful panels resemble a vast piece of dome like architecture.  There's just a great feeling of peace and tranquility, heightened by the lack of wind ... because you are moving with it.  High aloft the countryside, the view is unforgettable. The beautiful rolling hills and green pastures of York and Lancaster Counties will drift by silently as we float on the wind.  For about 45 - 90 minutes, on a typical flight, we would start out low, just above the treetops, talking with people on the ground.

     As we ascend, the Susquehanna Valley will come into view.  The Susquehanna River can be seen to the north and east.  On a crystal clear day, it’s not unusual to see Baltimore Inner Harbor skyline!  The balloon travels at heights of up to 3,000 feet or higher if you desire.  You may fly over villages, towns and countryside and even view wildlife, particularly on morning flights.  You can take advantage of the excellent vantage point that the supremely steady balloon basket provides for aerial photography.  Our balloon provides you with a truly panoramic view as you float through the air. 

    Ballooning is one of the most gentle, tranquil, awe-inspiring experiences in life.  It is considered the truest form of sailing, that we will ever experience.  During the flight the balloon will cover anywhere from 2 to 20 miles, depending on the strength of the wind that day.  When it is safe and appropriate, we will descend, land, be joined by the Chase Crew, and pack up the Balloon System, which takes about 30 minutes.  Depending on a suitable landing spot (if it takes us a little longer to find a nice landing field, we hope you understand).  As we descend for a landing, don’t be surprised if we have a small parade of spectators awaiting our arrival.  Upon landing, expect a small bump as we touchdown.

     Many people ask what a ride "feels like." Because balloons travel "with the wind," rather than against it, there is virtually no sensation of motion and the only sound is that of the burner putting heat into the balloon. Generally, on launch the ground simply melts away slowly as you rise into the air, and on landings the ground gets closer. On occasion, things get a bit more exciting, should a breeze kick up during a launch or landing.

     The issue of safety is frequently asked and is explained in detail prior to actually taking a flight. As previously noted, pilots are certified by the FAA and balloons are inspected annually by FAA designated repair stations. Safety is a keyword in ballooning and flights do not happen if there are adverse conditions present. Despite all the precautions, it is important to recognize that ballooning, like anything (and everything) else has an element of risk. It is equally important to know that thousands upon thousands of balloon flights occur each year with the only excitement being that of enjoyment.

* Champagne upon special request.

    To Celebrate the delights of the Flight and the return to Mother Earth, we will share a Sparkling Cider or Champagne* Toast, and tales of our adventure. You will also receive a "Certificate of Ascension" to commemorate our flight together. For our Private Flights, we go one step further with a small bottle of our labeled wine, how romantic.  Then we will return you to your vehicle.  Typically, the whole activity takes about 2-3 hours.

     Like all activities, it is appropriate to "dress for the occasion." Naturally, the temperature will control types of clothing and quantity. As this is an outdoor sport, appropriate clothing is desired. Some recommendations include: closed-toed shoes (sneakers, hiking boots, etc.); jeans; (no dress pants or skirts, or shorts); comfortable shirt/jacket; hat. For morning flights be aware of damp (dew) ground and consider water repellent footwear or a change of shoes & socks for when we return. Sunglasses should be included as with any outdoor event.

     Bring along a camera and lots of film. Video cameras are frequently taken on balloon rides, just be sure to have fresh batteries. You are welcome to photograph the entire process, and the crew will be happy to offer some suggestions for special photo opportunities.

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AE Balloon Flights, LLC

We Can Change Your Altitude!

717-600-8482

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www.AEBalloonFlights.com

photo by Joel Bergstrom

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