Requirements for Becoming a Hot Air Balloon Pilot

7th June 2010    FAQ's

Hot air balloons are not easy to pilot rather they are very difficult. They must be flown early in the morning or during evenings. This is because the air during this time is still quite controllable for balloon pilots. During the day, a lot of interference may be there with hot air rising (in the form of thermal pockets) and can give instability to hot air balloons.

Hot Air Balloon Burner

As regards decision of any of you to become a balloon pilot you will find that there are many types of pilot licenses that require thinking and planning. Planning has to be done with respect to money and time. It needs to be checked first of all what are the rules in the area one is living.

A total of 16 hours of flying time has to be showed as experience. There is a time limit for achieving this and this is usually 2 years. Four, faultless, instructor flights must be conducted allowing the student to prove their proficiency at handling the hot air balloon. After having completed this requirement, the trainee pilot can look at doing a ‘recommendation’ flight and a ‘checkout’ flight.

Where Should You Start?

One should search for a reputable training school. You will find that each training school has its own program. All training schools need to follow government instructions and follow strict rules. Regarding the government regulation, the first requirement is that you should at least be 17 years old or more. There will be a test to check your knowledge and education.

Both written as well as oral work has to be done apart from doing a specified amount of practical task. Medical fitness is another task which needs to be checked. As the course will progress you fill have to accomplish 30 minutes of successful flying on your own, know as your ‘solo’ flight / checkout flight.

There are different types of pilot licenses that one will get from different training schools according to the variety of the courses offered and the specific requirements of the training balloon pilot. Some pilots train for their commercial pilot’s licenses (CPL) and some for their private pilots licenses (PPL). For becoming a balloon pilot, seven types of exams / courses need to be passed. These exams are:

  • Air law – Examination
  • Navigation – Examination
  • Meteorology – Examination
  • Aerostatics and Airmanship – Examination
  • Human Performance Limitations and Factors – Examination
  • Landowner code of conduct – Study Course
  • Communication (New exam coming soon, April 2012, to syllabus)

When one has passed these few simple tests / papers and completed their pilot training, then you can explore the blue skies as you want and choose fit.