An altimeter to indicate altitude, a variometer showing its rate of climb or decent, a compass to show directions, and a temperature gage to show how hot the fabric is at the top of the balloon. Each propane tank has a fuel gauge, and the burner has a fuel pressure gauge.
If well taken care of, a balloon envelope should last approximately 500 flying hours.
Because weight is critical in balloon flying, the baskets are made of light materials such as wicker, fiberglass or aluminum.
Rip-stop nylon, dacron, taffeta and nylon are the most common.
A hot air balloon gets its lift from heating the air with propane fuel. A gas balloon gets its lift from lighter than air gases, usually helium or hydrogen.
Most balloons are larger than your house. They hold from 19,000 to 211,000 cubic feet of air and loom from 50 to 90 feet.
A balloon flies better in cooler weather since the hot air gets a better “lift.” Balloonists usually fly just after dawn, because there is less wind at these times.
At high altitude, it is colder than at ground level, generally 3.5 degrees colder for each 1,000 feet of altitude.
The balloon goes wherever the wind takes it. However, pilots can seek higher or lower altitudes to find wind currents of various direction. We refer to it as the truest form of sailing.
The Civil Aviation Administration issues a Balloon Pilot Certificate to candidates who pass an IDAC written examination, obtain a prescribed number of hours in a balloon, make a solo flight to altitude, pass a flight test, and submit a medical statement.