Flying over the Desert using Propane, Fire and Nylon… Crazy!

Nancy & Shawn Power experiencing their 1st ever Hot Air Balloon Ride

There we are getting ready to enjoy our 1st ever Hot Air Balloon Ride

You know, there’s just something that makes us nervous about standing in a wicker box, 4000 feet above ground, looking up at a propane thing-a-ma-bob that blows fire up into a balloon to make the box we’re perched in rise higher.

Have you ever been on a hot air balloon ride before?

Yesterday, in Phoenix, Arizona, was our first time…

…“first time”, meaning it was totally OK for Nancy (not Shawn, cause he’s so much more brave then she is … yeah right! ;-)) to be a bit shaky beforehand not knowing what to expect.

A gal sitting next to us, who happened to be a pilot trainee cheerfully piped up and said it was perfectly normal & common for people to be a bit nervous. Funny thing- that made the shakes go away… but it was her eagerness to teach us all about hot air ballooning and the way she lit up as she spoke about it, that really put us at complete ease.

Some things we learned from this pilot:

  • Hot Air Ballooning is safe and accidents are rare… Phew!
  • Balloon Pilots have to go through rigorous training and testing before getting a license.
  • To heat the air inside the balloon which causes it to rise, the burners are fueled by propane gas, much the same as you probably use in your backyard barbecue grill.
  • The Balloon itself is made of nylon, the same type of cloth that parachutes are made of.
  • Balloons range in size from about 54,000 cubic feet for a one or two-person balloon to over 250,000 cubic feet – for carrying a pilot plus eight or ten passengers.
  • The baskets are made of wicker because it has proven to be very strong, durable and flexible. The wicker is sometimes woven around a steel or aluminum frame, which helps to support the upright posts and is usually padded and covered in suede or leather.
  • Hot air balloons fly in good conditions only, and bad weather includes any rain.
  • All equipment has to be tested after every 100 hours flown or yearly, whichever comes first. Every piece is put under precise testing for safety.

Armed with all this knowledge, it’s safe to say that with hot air ballooning – safety comes first, and the experience for us guests is super important to the pilot and crew at

Overall, we would describe the experience as special. An ultimate sky cruise experience! 🙂

Gliding in a basket was ferry-tale like and soothing. At 5 miles an hour, you could light a candle and it would have stayed lit. Panoramic views of the skyline in many shades of blue, and then to tints of orange, yellow and pink as the sun set just before we gently touched back down on earth… were incredible!

Just when we thought it was all over… out came two picnic tables side by side, with table cloths, cloth napkins, candelabras, champagne glasses, hors d’oeuvres and plenty of champagne… oh and don’t forget the natural setting-  out of this world!…

… as the moon and stars were gently getting brighter and brighter, a silhouette of individually shaped cactus’s set the background. Breathtaking!

Yup, we loved it, the whole experience!

Just have a look at the video to see what we mean:

(Tip: For best viewing click the Full Screen mode in the very bottom right corner of the video!)

TIP: It’s best to dress like a hiker when you go for a ride. You have to climb in and out of the basket. Also, we forgot to bring them, but we would have been more comfortable wearing hats because it gets hot on your head when the burners are turned on. 😉

So, how about you? Have you ever gone up in a hot air balloon ride only to feel like you were the luckiest people in the sky too? Was it a sunset or sunrise tour? Did you get nervous your first time, like us ( we mean, Like Nancy did :-)) or were you just captivated right from the start? Share your story with us below, we would love to hear about it.

We Appreciate You,

Nancy & Shawn

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