Aboard a Hot Air Balloon

Aboard a Hot Air Balloon

Living in the Emirates has opened a lot of doors for me and my family…

When I wrote my 101 BUCKETLIST a couple of years ago; even before I entertained the thought of working in the desert, I didn’t take it seriously. Never did I imagined that it is where I will realized some of my dreams… Then an opportunity to work and live here in the Emirates came for my family… only then I started ticking off one after the other from my list.

So, let’s begin with the Hot Air Balloon…

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You know what’s the best thing about riding a hot air balloon? can you imagine what it’s like being there? the rush? the adrenaline? the excitement… the thought that finally, you’re starting to realize a dream…

Let me break it down…

We met shortly after dawn for a morning flight at Festival city since according to our pilot; captain Peter, this is because the wind is at its calmest early morning. The wind is the most important factor when it comes to a balloon ride as the weather may seem fine early on in the day but wind speeds can change drastically as the day moves on.

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However, it could be quite frustrating when sometimes hot air balloon flights are cancelled due to the weather condition. One more thing is, you have to stick with the schedule, there is Zero tolerance for late comers and the bus will not wait for you. I overheard our captain talking over the phone to a local lady that morning who is running late and we’re actually behind the scheduled time that was supposed to be at 5:45 am, sharp! She was insisting us to wait for her, but our pilot firmly said; “NO, I am not going to compromise 60 passengers for the sake of 1!” Sunrise will not wait for us. Although this can be somewhat frustrating, it is really worth it when the flight finally goes ahead.

There is nothing really quite like riding in a hot air balloon!

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The pre-flight setting up of the balloon is just as spectacular a show for the passengers as the actual flight itself as they are able to witness the impressive sight of the envelope being fully inflated.

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the pre-flight set up

The envelope is laid out flat and stretched out on as much land as possible. An inflator fan is placed at the neck and the balloon starts to fill up with air. The basket is then attached to the envelope and the burner secured in place. With the balloon now half full of air, the burner can be fired up and the rest of the envelope if filled up in no time. The basket is constantly secured to the floor throughout this whole process, to make sure that the balloon doesn’t just take off without all the passengers.

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Once the envelope is full, the passengers will make their way into the basket. And when all the weight is fully balanced out, the balloon is unsecured from the ropes holding it to the floor and the flight gets underway.

DSC_0661It’s actually quite hard to describe the feeling of flying in the balloon. It’s more than the excitement that I felt when I first board an airplane, a flyer, a roller coaster.. no match!

Imagine yourself up in the air, no life-jacket or parachute to save your ass just in case something bad happens… trusting your life at the hands of your pilot! It’s like you’re in a magic carpet cruising through the desert…

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It’s almost like a feeling of weightlessness, as if you are drifting along, floating on air…

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We’re lucky enough to fly on a clear day, able to see for miles. The hot air balloon flight lasts for about 1 hour in total before the pilot will start looking for a safe place to bring the balloon in to land.

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The landing is actually quite a bumpy affair. The pilot will bring the balloon down at a very slow rate and actually land it at a 45 degree angle to the floor. This is to help the basket lose speed and come to a halt quicker. The basket will actually end up on its side with all the passengers lying horizontal with their torsos sticking out of the top of the basket. There are side rail supports and ropes to hang on to make sure nobody falls out.

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After everyone is safely out the envelope needs to be deflated and packed back up. The basket and now deflated envelope are then secured on to the van which will have been following the balloon’s path. All the passengers are then driven back to the starting point for a small treat of drinks and snacks; depends on what they offer.

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However, even how much I explain the whole experience, there is really nothing more compared to actually being up there yourself!

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You may check groupon.ae for deals if you want more value for your money or if you are a group… details on this link – https://www.groupon.ae/deals/balloon-adventures-emirates-llc

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Have fun and enjoy the ride!! Visit their site here –> Balloon Adventures Emirates

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plus having’ the captain; who happens to be the owner, as your pilot is a BONUS!!! Fun and Hilarious!

CIAO!

Paragliding next!

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