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Got a taste for a bird’s-eye view of Orlando by hot-air balloon? The people at Orlando Balloon Rides can make that happen for you.
OBR’s website has a great home page with full-screen video of the experience. Get a feel for the size of the basket you’ll ride in (bigger than a car) and the size of the balloon overhead (taller than a multi-story building); aerial footage gives a taste of what it’ll be like floating over the landscape.
Average balloon flights last one hour. Actual flight time varies according to amount of fuel on board, passenger combined weight, temperature of air, and landing site. Cost per adult is $195 (weekday) or $225 (weekend). Kids’ fare is roughly half (age 6-14).
How the Day Goes
Be ready for an early morning wake-up!
Balloon riders meet the pilot and flight crew at OBR’s welcome center about half an hour before sunrise for a pre-flight information session.
From the welcome center, passengers are taken to the launch site where the balloon is inflated for approximately 20 minutes. There’s a rundown on safety procedures and then it’s flight time.
During flight, the balloon will go as high as several thousand feet in the air and travel roughly seven miles. You’ll be able to see area theme parks, orange groves, forests, and swamplands.
After the flight, passengers enjoy a champagne toast (non-alcoholic beverages are available) and are then returned to the welcome center. OBS recommends planning 3-4 hours for the whole experience.
About the Balloons
OBR balloons range in size from 210,000 cubic feet to 310,000 cubic feet. They can accommodate 16-20 passengers. They are made of rip-stop nylon coated with a heat-resistant chemical and last for about 300 hours of use.
Hot air is what makes balloons go up. Every balloon has two propane burners. These burners ignite and heat liquid propane which produces 30 million BTU’s of heat in the air. This heated air has the power to lift a balloon.
A few manufacturers around the world make hot air balloons. OBR manufactures its own balloons, at a cost of about $60,000 per balloon with basket, at its factory in Ontario, Canada.
Hot air balloons have been flown as high as 90,000 feet, but typical passenger flights range from just over the treetops to around 2,500 feet. Balloons travel with the wind, so windspeed determines balloon flight speed.
Not just anyone, and not just any pilot, can fly a hot-air balloon. There is specific and intensive training that a hot-air balloon pilot goes through to become a licensed balloon pilot. All OBR pilots are FAA certified, experienced professionals.
Orlando Balloon Rides phone number: 407.894.5040.
OBR Welcome Center and meeting location: 44294 US Highway 27, Davenport, FL 33897 (GPS address: 2400 Access Road, Davenport)
Orlando Balloon Rides is licensed and insured.
Create your own Coca-Cola Orlando Eye Experience