Indianola: Ballooning Capital of Iowa (Images of Aviation)

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Series: Images of Aviation LibraryThing has 26 suggested works for this series. Series by cover. The vivid light and rich color of the low sun on the horizon allows for many fantastic photo opportunities. For morning flights, we will meet at the launch site approximately 30 minutes before sunrise. Be sure to call at the designated time that is included in your Confirmation Letter and we will inform you of the meeting time and launch site when you call. Since balloons only travel as fast as the wind is blowing, we won't go much faster than 8 miles per hour near the ground.

If the winds low to the ground are any quicker than that, takeoffs and landings become a bit tricky. In those cases, we simply don't fly. There's an old and wise saying we use in the ballooning circle - "It's better to be on the ground wishing we were up there, than to be in the air wishing we were down here! Most of our hot air balloon flights last over an hour, so we will cover anywhere from 1 to 10 miles in that time. You'll traverse lots of countryside and witness diverse changes in scenery on a typical balloon ride in Iowa.

We have never had any two rides alike! Something we are quite proud of!

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As to how high we'll be soaring, we can fly anywhere from treetop level to many thousands of feet up! Down low among the trees is arguably the most enjoyable part of any flight. You'll be able to pick leaves from the tops of trees and converse with earthbound folks as we gently float along. We also like to climb up high to give passengers an expansive view of Central Iowa from a thousand feet up.

On a clear day as seen from a hot air balloon, we can usually see about 30 miles! Acrophobia: The fear of heights. For those passengers who are adventurous enough to conquer their own fears and take to the air, There's a simple explanation for this seemingly remarkable phenomenon:. When looking straight down the side of a tall building, parking garage or similar high place, you are able to visualize your physical connection to the ground. This actual perceived height is what makes you step back from the edge, grasp that railing a little tighter, or in extreme cases, get a little sick to your stomach.

Not fun! However, in a hot air balloon basket, there is no visible connection to the ground. This detachment from the earth essentially removes any uneasy sensations of height. Furthermore, there is no relative altitude in a balloon - whether two feet above the treetops or two thousand feet up, it all feels the the same. But the view is much better from up high! We're sure you'll have no worries once you're up there. If you can get past your initial concern about leaving the ground, you'll be just fine! Turbulence is unheard of, as we are not fighting the wind like an airplane has to.

Since the hot air balloon floats along with the wind, there's no movement to worry about. While airborne, the basket is perfectly balanced underneath the balloon and there is no rocking sensation. The entire flight is very smooth, and changes in altitude are gradual and hardly noticeable.

Passengers who suffer from even the most severe cases of motion sickness will not feel any effects from a balloon ride.

Everybody is welcome to fly with us! We've flown passengers from age 6 months to years old. However, there are a few requirements we need to stand by to make the ride pleasant and enjoyable for all. You should be in good physical shape with no recent surgeries, broken bones or other medical issues which may affect your ability to take part in a physical activity. You'll also need to be able to stand for the duration of the balloon flight at least one hour. In most cases there is no reason for us not to fly a passenger, but we do need to be aware.

Thomas G. Matowitz Jr.

The safety of our friends and passengers is paramount. The weather is the most influential factor on any hot air balloon flight, and the winds will determine our landing conditions. Despite all the advances in modern forecasting technology and up-to-the-minute aviation weather resources we have at our command, weather is still ultimately unpredictable in flight.

Keeping that in mind, there is always the possibility of an occasional windy, bumpy landing. In this case, the basket may make a firm touchdown, tip over in the direction of travel, and drag along the ground until the balloon deflates and we come to a final stop.

For many people, this is an exciting addition to an already adventurous flight! However, for others, a hard landing may not be quite what they expected at the end of a graceful balloon ride. We like to educate and prepare all our passengers that every flight has the potential to end this way. Although we will never launch when conditions are expected to result in such an exciting landing, there's always the possibility we might have a little more fun than we anticipated. Our professional pilot is skilled and prepared to handle any possible situation in the air.

Ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation, but it still has inherent dangers like all other outdoor recreational activities. Please be aware of your physical limitations when scheduling a balloon ride, as it is important to understand all the possible risks involved. Children are always welcomed, however they should be at least 42 inches tall to be able to see over the basket edge.

Thomas G. Matowitz Jr. Books | List of books by author Thomas G. Matowitz Jr.

We don't often recommend children under six years of age, mainly because they'll have to stand still for an hour. Most kids that young will get fidgety and restless after a few minutes of standing in the same place. As well, many youngsters are afraid of the loud noise the burner makes.

However, if you're sure your young child will be willing and able to behave well, we'll be glad to have them join us on the balloon flight. We regret that we cannot take up those who are pregnant. If you wait a few years and take your child up when they're old enough to appreciate it, it'll be a much more enjoyable experience for the both of you. Per FAA regulations, intoxicated passengers cannot be flown. No Exceptions! There's no noticeable temperature difference at the altitudes we normally fly, so you should dress for an outdoor activity according to the season and temperature of that day. It's probably best to wear clothes that you aren't afraid to get wet or dirty, although we certainly won't aim to do such things!

The temperature above is usually the same as on the ground.