Since a hot air balloon has no direct means of steerage or control the weather and ground conditions are an all important factor when deciding whether or not to fly. Prior to each flight pilots research and receive weather information relevant to ballooning from the MET office and other meteorological service providers in order to have the most up to date and accurate weather reports for the period intending to be airborne.
As a rough guide a pilot looks for ideal conditions, good visibility, gentle winds on the surface and at 2000ft (the gradient wind). The best time these winds exist are just after sunrise and just before sunset. As a result that’s why we schedule our balloon flights at these times, when the temperature is cooler and the weather is at its most stable period of the day.
Additionally the ground conditions must be suitable for our tow-vehicles and trailers to drive on during the process of launching and retrieving.
The weather forecast available to the public is not as reliable as the resources that our Pilots have access to and can therefore, not be relied upon when deciding whether a flight will go ahead or not. The weather in the South West is very changeable, meaning that the forecast can change within a matter of hours on some occasions. We recommend that you book a flight date based on your availability and our advice (if applicable). Remember you will need to have had at least 5 cancelled flights within a 12 month period, in order to qualify for a free of charge extension on your vouchers. Visit the passenger information area for more information regarding reserving a flight date.