Riding hundreds of feet in the sky from a hot air balloon can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience. On the other hand, much like other adventure sport, there are risks involved when riding in a hot air balloon. There’ve been lots of cases when hot air balloons crashed and resulted to the untimely death of its riders. With this being said, you should never ride the balloon and enjoy the sea of clouds if you haven’t studied the precautionary measures and guaranteed full protection yet.
Before you hitch a ride, there are few safety precautions and checks too that you must do.
Number 1. Safety equipment – every balloon must have safety equipment, which should be a basic necessity. Make it a point that you’ve gathered sufficient info from reliable sources such as expert websites and even ballooning guides. As minimum, you must check if the balloon has onboard flint spark lighter, fire extinguisher and parachutes.
If the flame of the balloon has gone in midair, then the flint spark lighter will be used to reignite it. The pilot will be able to relight the flame and avoid crash. On the other hand, fire extinguisher is vital for some obvious reasons.
You have to check if there’s a drop line too. If the pilot isn’t able to steer the balloon effectively because of mild wind, then this will be put into use, it’s the same reason why some other countries made it as a requirement. Because the balloon has the risk of damage from ground obstruction, the ground crew uses the drop line dropped by pilot during landing in order to guide the hot air balloon away from obstructions in the ground.
Number 2. Maintenance – balloons that haven’t gone through maintenance is guaranteed to be unsafe. Regular maintenance is critical to balloons, much like in the aircraft. The fabric is one of the most vulnerable part of the balloon. Any damage in the balloon has to be repaired as soon as possible since even a small tear or rip can spell disaster.
Number 3. Alertness – when riding a hot air balloon, alertness and attentiveness can go a long way. Being sensitive to the objects around you is essential when flying. Watch out for electrical lines, masts and poles that the hot air balloon may collide. At times, the pilot may be too focused on one thing and may not be able to notice other obstacles. Take it as your personal reasonability to be alert on behalf of the pilot.
Number 4. Listen to what you’re told – you’ll be brief of the terms and the conditions in flight before taking off, make sure to follow these.