Learn to Fly

Aerosaurus Balloons are proud to teach and promote Hot Air Ballooning. If you've had a balloon flight with us and been inspired to fly one yourself then why not contact us today and find out more.

Our Pilot School can cater to your needs supplying all the equipment, training, instruction and exams at the best possible price.

Pilot Requirements

To obtain a PPL (B) Balloon Pilots license you need to have completed the following:

  • Minimum of 16hrs* logged.
  • Minimum of 4 Flights with a British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) approved instructor.
  • Complete a 30 minute tethered flight, watched and approved by a BBAC qualified instructor.
  • Undertaken and passed all 5 exams: Aviation Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Ballooning Systems and Human Performance. These are usually sat in Bristol.
  • Attended a Landowner Relations Seminar.
  • Completed all the above within 24 months.

You can be taught and log flights with any balloon pilot, as long as they hold a full UK PPL(B) license. As for the instructor flights you can use one of our commercial pilots, who is also an instructor, or a choice of several other Westcountry (mainly Bristol area) based instructors.

Advice

To start logging your flights you’ll need your Training Log and Pilots Log Book. Both can be purchased via Pooleys or Aerosaurus. These books are used to record every flight you do. Your Training Log records advice and notes from the pilot who you were training with for each flight.

Weather Conditions

train-to-be-a-pilotBallooning is very weather dependant. As a generalisation suitable conditions are a stable atmosphere (not thermic or thundery), no rain, a minimum of 5km visibility and a cloud base sufficient to allow 1,500m horizontal and 1,000m vertical visibility. Wind speeds should be 9kts or under at the surface and not greater than 18kts at 2,000ft above sea level.

  • The Met Office- Sign up for the free aviation service that provides Balloonist Forecasts and weather predictions for aviators.
  • XC Weather- Obtain current and the forecast spot winds for Britain.
  • BBC Weather- Watch forecasts 24/7 on their site and get forecasts for the area you are due to fly within.

Equipment Needed

All pilots in command must have the following for each flight.

  • An altimeter.
  • A compass.
  • A secondary source of ignition.
  • A time piece (watch).

Training

Aerosaurus can train you directly, from start to finish, however we are subject to British weather. If your time is restricted by a full time job, allow 12 months for the course. The more availability you have the quicker you will graduate.

Ground Crew Retrieving

To get an initial feeling for Hot Air Ballooning we can offer the opportunity to become part of our ground retrieve crew on a commercial (Public Transport) flight. We strongly recommend that aspiring pilots spend some initial time in this role as it offers the opportunity of ‘hands on’ experience and the chance to actually see what's involved in the whole process from pre flight weather decisions through to post flight refuelling prior to committing to a long term expense.

Retrieving does not allow you the opportunity to fly the balloon but covers core piloting ground skills such as meteorology, launch site decision, balloon inflation & deflation, navigation, passenger handling, flight paperwork, refuelling and landowner relations. For those who wish to continue with retrieving in parallel to their pilot training there is also the opportunity of partially offsetting crew remuneration against pilot training costs.

Interested in working for Aerosaurus Hot Air Balloons? Check our vacancies page.

Flight Training Costs

Description Cost
12* hours minimum flight time at £220 per hour to include provision of balloon, training pilot, insurance, retrieve vehicle & balloon trailer, ground
crew, propane, farmers wine
£2,640
4* hours as above but with BBAC Instructor @ £250 per hour. £1000

Tethered flight and instruction with BBAC Instructor

£200
BBAC Examiner recommendation flight. £270
BBAC Examiner flight £270
Any additional hours with a training pilot in addition to the minimum 16*
hours as above
£220 p/h
Witnessed ‘Solo’ flight £200
Aerosaurus Pilot Training Manual £ Free
Exam Fees £ Free
5hrs Ground School (£20 per hour thereafter) £ Free
Please Note: Prices exclude V.A.T and your solo balloon flight and tethered balloon flight cost are significantly reduced if done in conjunction with a flight prior or after.

To find out more call us on 01404 823102.