Not Just a Lot of Hot Air - the Pure Pleasure of a Day Out in Hot Air Balloons

There’s something genuinely incredible about hot air balloons. Suspended above the world, the occasional thump of the gas jet keeping the balloon steady, the experience is at once superlatively calming and utterly thrilling. Like sailing in the air, where everything seems quieter and gentler – and yet taut and exciting too.

Balloons are not steered – they travel with the prevailing wind. Obviously the pilot has a large degree of control – he or she will drop your balloon down to the right air current to tack I the direction he or she wants the balloon to go, as necessary. But for the most part, you simply drift where the wind takes you, admiring the views of the country unfolding beneath you. From towns and cities to ancient forests, the view you get from hot air balloons changes dramatically with every ride.

One of the most frequently reported “surprises” of hot air ballooning is its almost stationary feel. While intellectually you know you are moving, the actual feeling is that you are hanging free, no longer a slave to gravity. Even the wind makes no sound, because the balloon is travelling inside it – the noise wind normally makes is one of resistance, and with hot air balloons there is no resistance.

Normally the hot air balloon experience lasts for an hour, during which time you will find yourself transported to a magical world you never knew existed. You may see wildlife in a way you have never done before: flocks of birds passing below and around you. Because the balloon is silent and slow, they pay it no heed – giving you a unique flock’s eye view of the land!

Once you have been up in the world of the hot air balloon, you’ll be captivated. Most people who try it once want to come back again and again. Like the ocean, the air travelled in this way is a place where the normal concerns and the normal speed of daily living no longer apply. You are simply left free to drift, to reflect and to take it all in.

One of the most marvellous aspects of hot air balloon flight is watching the pilot at work. Using an array of extremely sensitive instruments, the pilot is able to exert an almost magical control over his or her craft – sending the hot air balloon up and down with whisker-fine accuracy. Dropping the hot air balloons into the right current to go where he or she wants to, rising slowly and majestically to find the way back home – after a while you will realise that the pilot is exercising an extraordinary skill, a degree of anticipation and fine tuning honed by years of practice.

Coming back down to earth can give you a bit of a bump – but even this is safe and gentle. In a way, it’s a nice way to reconnect with the earth and realise that you are, after all, a land dwelling animal!

Hot air balloons are a magical, extraordinary way to spend an hour – drifting in the winds for a quite different view of the world.

Hot air balloons are a magical, extraordinary way to spend an hour – drifting in the winds for a quite different view of the world.


Harry Wilson is a balloon pilot. He takes groups on balloon flights across the city of Bristol and areas of the South West.


This is Harry Wilson, I work as a content manager in many sector and love the opportunity to guest post for your readers....(Read More)

Around the web