For some, the calm and peaceful feeling experienced during a hot air balloon flight is so intoxicating that it makes them dream of their next ride. Here in Temecula Valley, our beautiful landscapes, rolling hills and lush vineyards make hot air ballooning one of the most highly sought-after activities for visitors. In fact, one of the region’s most popular events is the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, held each year in May. 

Before taking a hot air balloon flight, first-timers often have a lot of questions, and they may even have a bit of anxiety. Here are 10 of the most common questions: 

#1 What makes a hot air balloon rise? 
Warm air rises, and by heating the air on the inside of a balloon it becomes lighter than the cooler air on the outside. And voila! The balloon floats upward. If the air is allowed to cool, the balloon will slowly begin to descend. 

#2 How high can a hot air balloon ascend into the air and how fast can they fly? 
Hot air balloons rise from tree-top level to 3,000 feet (about twice the height of the Empire State Building). The flight plan depends on wind velocity, direction, and the passenger’s desires. Passengers typically fly in gentle breezes up to six miles per hour. 

#3 How long does the average hot air balloon ride last? 
From start to finish, a hot air balloon flight usually takes 2-3 hours. The actual flight itself is about an hour, but it takes time to fill the balloon and to descend it back to the launch site. 

#4 What is required to become a hot air balloon pilot? 
To pilot a hot air balloon, a certified FAA pilot’s license is required as well as a Lighter-than-Air (LTA) certification, which requires one-on-one lessons with a flight instructor, as well as other requirements.  

#5 How does weather impact a hot air balloon flight? 
Weather is a very important factor in hot air ballooning. Wind conditions in the Temecula Valley allow for balloons to fly safely at sunrise, so most flights lift off between 5:30am and 6:30am. If there are strong winds or rain, flights may be rescheduled for safety reasons. It’s good to keep this in mind while booking and try to have a couple of days available for the excursion. 

#6 Is it cold in a hot air balloon? 
Contrary to popular belief, it is very warm in the basket because you are basically adjacent to a very large BTU burner. However, it’s good to dress in layers because temperatures can change as you ride to and from the balloon launch site. Shorts, heels, or open-toed shoes are not recommended. 

#7 Is there a toilet in a hot air balloon? 
Nope! It’s best to take care of business before your flight, and to avoid drinking large amounts of fluids before the ride. 

#8 Do riders need a parachute? 
No parachute is needed because the balloon, in and of itself, is a parachute! They are designed to float and descend slowly, so a parachute is not necessary.  

#9 How many people can fit into a hot air balloon? 
Hot air balloons can accommodate many group sizes – from one passenger to 20. Balloon size is measured in cubic feet – from 55,000 cubic feet for a sport balloon and 300,000 for a large commercial balloon. Some balloon baskets have doors for ADA access.  

#10 Can you get motion sickness on a hot air balloon? 
Motion sickness is not an issue for passengers because there is no physical link between the balloon and the ground. The basket remains relatively stable during flight.  

Here in the Temecula Valley, hot air ballooning is one of the most fascinating attractions for visitors, and booking early is highly recommended. To schedule a hot air balloon flight in Temecula, go here. See more information about the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival