Ballooning in India Guide:
In India, the adventure sports of ballooning is somewhat new, as it was started here in 20th century. The Balloon Club in India which was established in 1970 at Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi, is the tail off point and headquarters of ballooning. The Balloon Club of India annually organizes a ‘Balloon Mela’ or Balloon fair in November, when a large number of competitions and events are held. Today the aerosport has gained popularity among the adventure enthusiasts. In India commercial balloon rides are still not available. Joy rides on the balloons provide the picturesque view of the ground from the top, which is altogether an exhilarating experience.
Major Ballooning Destinations:
Delhi, Guwahati, Dehradun, Bangalore, Jaipur, Nagaur, Bangalore, Agra and Pushkar.
Best Time for Ballooning:
The months of October to March are ideal for ballooning as the temperature remains cool. During summers it is advisable to take off early in the morning.
Ballooning – High Up In The Air:
For many centuries human beings dreamed to fly high in the open sky, but they did not have the technology to fulfill their desire. By early 18th century, following the continuous efforts of several years, people finally succeeded in making big balloons filled with steam. Those balloons were lighter than air, which took them into high into the air, but initially only few people dared to fly on those balloons. In the year 1783, ballooning became an adventure sports, when two French brothers Joseph Michel Montgoflier and Jacques Etiene Montgoflier created and set aloft a 17.83 m high fire balloon. The balloon carrying a sheep, a roosted and a duck landed safely at a distance of 3.2 kms, after a flight of eight minutes. Later in the same year Jean Francois Pilatre De Rozier along with Marquis D’Arlandes, flew in a hot air balloon, which marked the first journey made by man through air. This historic event took place in Paris and the success of this journey gave birth to the air ballooning sport.
The balloon is made from a 1,000 sq.yards of rip stop nylon, load tape, steel wire ropes, basket, an altimeter, a compass, cylinders of propane or butane gas, burners, ropes. Generally a balloon is 50 ft wide and 70 ft high and 57,000 cubic ft in volume, the bigger sizes are also available. The Balloon is attached to basket with steel ropes, the cylinders of propane or butane fire burns are fixed at the mouth of the Balloon. The basket is made from resilient wicker and enforced with a mesh of steel wire ropes. As hot air ballooning is still not much popular in India, you may have to import the necessary equipments from abroad.
How a Balloon Flies:
When cold air is blown into the mouth of balloon by a fan and the burners are lit, it makes the balloon airborne. The pilot can steer the balloon along the chartered route by regulating hot a cold air. A balloon with a single person can rise up to 800 feet, while for groups its height is restricted between 200 and 500 feet. A balloon can fly as fast the speed of wind, but high wind landings always need skill and experience persons.
- One must be physically and mentally fit to enjoy the thrills of air ballooning.
- The basket has no seats to sit, therefore standing for the duration of the flight may be panicky.
- Do not take children as they may disturb the comfort and enjoyment of other passengers. The size of the basket is quiet small and the walls are usually four feet high, small children would hardly see the surroundings unless accompanied by an adult.
- Clothing should match the climatic conditions- sturdy shoes, sunglasses, gloves and a cap.
- Must take permission from the Balloon Club of India, before starting a ballooning trip in India.