|Frequently Asked Questions
|Air-ristocrat Balloon Rides and Promotions
"Is it safe?"
No matter what you do in life, there is an element
of risk. Ballooning is no different.
Having said that, balloons and their pilots are
regulated and licensed by Transport Canada,
and have to follow the same basic rules as all
other passenger carrying aircraft.
Regular equipment inspections, pilot medicals
and recurrent training are legal requirements.
Over the years, there have been some very tragic
accidents that have gotten a lot of publicity.
One of the reasons for that publicity, is that
balloon accidents are so rare.
In 40 years of modern ballooning in Canada,
there have been 5 fatalities.
To put this into perspective, approximately 10
people are killed by lightning strikes every year
"How big is the balloon?"
I have 3 balloons at this time.
The biggest, holds about 2.5 tons of air, and can carry up to 4 passengers plus pilot. As far as balloons go, it is
a relatively small one.
The River balloon is smaller, 77,000 cubic feet.
Because of this and the added weight of the banner material, it is limited to 1 passenger. Me.
Carl (my other balloon) is 90,000 cubic feet and can carry 2 + me.
"Why do balloons only fly close to sunrise and
These times are when the airmass is most stable.
Between sunrise and sunset, the angle of the sun hits the earth directly causing pockets of air called
"thermals" that rise and spin. Similar to the bubbles on the bottom of a boiling pot. A balloon is also a pocket
of air, and that's why we call the balloon part an "envelope".
Between sunset and sunrise, a cold layer of air develops near the surface of the earth. This layer has a higher
density than the faster air above it, so is less affected by it. Since there is also no mixing of the layers from
thermal effects, the first 1000 feet or so tend to be calm relative to the ground.
"Why does Air-ristocrat have
a no refund policy?"
to fly, you could be cancelled 5-6 or more times.
Every time you book a flight means 2-3 hours of
my time to arrange it.
Scheduling crew, preparing equipment and
monitoring the weather are just a few of the
duties that must be done in preparation for your
flight, regardless of you getting in the air.
When you do get to fly, add another 5-6 hours of
time plus all the expenses of the actual flight.
Although most people are OK with the idea that
"If the guy who knows what's going on doesn't
want to go, I shouldn't either", some people are
the impatient type, and want what they want,
when they want it, despite the wisdom of getting
it at that time.
I refuse to take a chance like that with your
Deposits and gift certificates do not expire
(unless it was a donation), so relax and wait for
the balloon gods to smile on you.
It will be worth it.