Weather – It’s key
Safety is our top priority, and the balloon ride can be canceled at any time due to unsafe weather conditions.
One of the great enjoyments of ballooning is its peacefulness as you float with the breeze, feeling no sensation of movement. When you’re in the balloon, you become the wind... you are moving with it… and therefore, you have become a part of a complex weather system that is ever-changing.
Ballooning is weather dependent
What might be a nice day to the average person may not be a good balloon-flying day. The most common reason for canceling a flight is wind speed. Anything more than light winds is too fast. It needs to be quite calm and stable for the first few hundred feet to inflate the balloon and take off nice and safely. Once we are up and flying, we can fly a bit faster within reason, but we also like it nice and calm when we return to land again. So it’s the surface wind for the first few hundred feet that’s the all-important wind, not just the wind speed at the ground level. Other conditions that will keep us grounded include rain, fog, cold fronts, and thunderstorms.
We will not intentionally operate the balloon outside of our safe operating limits. Our pilots all have a commercial pilot rating and will also follow the FAA Aeronautical decision-making (ADM) Process The below criteria is our base operating limits Your pilot will take into account several other factors. Our pilots have the final discussion on whether to fly or not. Even if the base wind operating limits are met, several other factors still go into the decision to fly or not.
Base flight operating limits
0-150' Less the 6mph
150'-500' Less than 12mph
500'-1,000' Less than 18mph
If any winds from 1,000' - 3,000' Showing >20 mph, we will cancel
Any fog that restricts visibility below Visual flight rules VRF requirements
1000 ft above,
500 feet below
2000 ft horizontal
If there is any Rain within a 30mil radius of the pickup point location, we will cancel
We will use multiple weather sources. Click here for a list of a few forecasting tools we use. Airport code KISM
Cancelling On The Field
The localized wind conditions also mean that some mornings are ‘flyable’ even when the forecast for the day may not be promising. Conversely, sometimes seem perfect for flying at sunrise, but the pilot is also assessing the time and place of the landing a few hours hence. This means the pilot may be forced to cancel a flight on the field even though the weather looks perfect. If the pilot is not confident the ‘weather window’ will hold, then it is in everyone’s best interest that the flight is canceled.
We do not aim to inconvenience our passengers, nor do we wish to disappoint them. Please understand that if our pilot feels that it is a good idea to meet in the morning, he is confident that the flight will happen. However, the weather can make a fool of any forecaster so sometimes the only way our pilot can really be accurate is by having everyone ready to go on the field in the morning. So unfortunately, at times the flight must be cancelled on the field. The pilot is dedicated to your safety and enjoyment. If you feel disappointment at a cancelled flight, Air Hound Adventures and our team are equally disappointed!
If the flight is cancelled due to unsuitable weather conditions, then we are happy to rebook you at your convenience or refund the payment in full.
Low visibility and Rain
Your pilot is a commercial-rated balloon pilot and must follow safety guidelines set by the FAA. Some mornings we may have dense fog, which would not allow for a safe flight. While the balloon may be able to fly above the fog, the pilot can't safely land the balloon because he can't see the ground. This includes being unable to see hazards like trees and power lines. The FAA also restricts the pilot when the weather doesn't allow for visual flight rules (VFR) requirements. We will also not fly in the rain