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    The safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority. All of our decisions to fly or postpone a flight will be based on whether that flight may be conducted safely. This page will provide you with the passenger briefing that your crew will give you and the safety factors that we apply to each and every flight.

The Steps we take to ensure your safety:


  1. We employ experienced and well trained personnel.

  2. Our pilots attend a Balloon Federation of America approved refresher safety seminar annually.

  3. All of our pilots are FAA Commercially certificated.

  4. We are in compliance with an approved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Drug and Alcohol Abuse Monitoring Program - random tests are administered to make certain that no one is abusing drugs! (this is not a FAA requirement for balloon companies and we know of no other company doing random testing to ensure no abuse)


  1. Our aircraft are inspected in accordance with the FAA requirements at either 100 hour intervals or annually.

  2. We fly state of the art, specifically designed ride balloons. No sport or hobby equipment.

  3. Thorough pre-flight inspections are conducted and the use of checklists designed, by us, for our aircraft are used for every flight.


  1. We are very conscientious about the weather we elect to fly in. A conservative approach to the weather has given us a spotless safety record. Weather remains the most critical aspect of ballooning. See our weather page for a complete discussion of what we take into consideration.

  2. We obtain a complete FAA approved weather briefing before each flight. We regularly make weather checks at various intervals during a flight.


  1. We take passengers individual circumstances into consideration as part of the decision to fly or not. When you book your flight you will be asked to inform us of any disabilities and the approximate weight and age of passengers. We use weight for planning fuel consumption and age and disabilities in our decision to fly. We will fly teenage passengers in winds that we would not consider for 80 year olds or persons with disabilities!


      These briefings are designed to prepare you for the worse case scenario - it is our belief that to ensure your safety we need to make certain that you are educated and prepared. All passengers and any spectators on the launch or airfield must participate in the briefing. Please review the briefing prior to your flight and feel free to ask questions. A briefing will be presented by a crew member to everyone on the field prior to flying.

Hot Air Balloon Passenger & Spectator Briefing

- The pilot or other crew member will ask for assistance if needed. We have all the crew necessary to operate the aircraft however; we let passengers take as active a role as they care to. If you wish to take an active role, just let us know and we will show you what to do. Never wrap any lines around any part of your body or allow your feet to leave the ground while holding onto a balloon. Please keep clear of the vehicle and trailer during the loading and unloading of equipment.

- Keep Clear of Inflator Fans and Tie Off Lines. The balloon will be fully inflated with cold air first and then raised to the vertical with hot air from the burners. Stay away from the fans as they can suck in loose clothing and camera straps. The balloon is tied off to a trailer or our vehicle by a tie off line - keep clear of this line as it could be under extreme tension. If the balloon experiences a gust of wind, it could roll violently and pull the trailer around and trip you with the line.

- No Smoking zon the launch field, landing field, in the balloon, or in any chase vehicle. The balloon is fueled with very flammable liquid propane and we may vent raw propane.

- During Inflation: The crew will bring you up to the mouth of the balloon for photo opportunities - please do not step on or handle the balloon fabric. An adult must be with any young children who are on the launch site as spectators - passengers are responsible for ensuring the behavior of spectators that accompany them.

- Boarding: Once the balloon is heated and vertical you will be given instructions to board. Watch for the tie off line and use the small stepladder to climb over the side of the basket. Step into the basket and onto the fuel tank. Use the rigid suede covered uprights to hold onto. DO NOT grab onto ropes, fuel lines or other parts of the balloon as they may be damaged or it could endanger the flight if accidentally mishandled. Wind may cause the basket to rock and sway during boarding - this is normal and it will be like boarding a boat at a pier - wait for the basket to come to the vertical and smartly come aboard. Do not allow your feet to be under the basket while waiting and do not place yourself between the tie off rope & basket or trailer. The crew will assist you - listen to their instructions.

- Use of Helmets: We carry helmets aboard and will use them in the event of a high wind landing.

- During the Flight: Passengers should not lean over the side rail nor sit on the side rail. Please stay in the position that you were assigned unless you ask the pilot to be moved. The balloon will be rotated during the flight to afford views in all directions. Your voice travels very well to the ground - don't say anything you don't want heard! Refrain from shouting to people on the ground as your enthusiasm may be mistaken for distress and result in a 911 call. Be respectful of other passengers aboard and enjoy the serenity of the balloon ride by speaking softly and turning cell phones off. When you move about the basket, shift your weight from one foot to the other, jumping or hopping around will jostle the basket. DO NOT throw or drop anything from the balloon. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited aboard the balloon and on the launch site. Intoxicated passengers, based on the opinion of the pilot, will not be permitted aboard.

- Power Lines & Obstacles: While in flight, it is the pilot's duty to see and avoid obstacles however; we request all passengers be observant for power lines, towers, and other hazards and point them out to the pilot. Chances are we have already seen them, but we like to have as many people looking as possible. This is especially true for wires on landing - in certain light conditions they are all but invisible, look for poles!

- On Landing: You may or may not be asked to assume a landing position. Wind conditions may be such that the basket will touch down firmly, skip, bounce, drag, and then tip over while dragging along the ground. Place all personal belongings in your pockets or camera bag - do not try to film the landing as you need to hold on with both hands. Don't leave heavy camera equipment around your neck or laying about - stow it properly to prevent damage to the equipment or injury to yourself and other passengers.

    1. Place your back to the direction of travel.

    2. Hold firmly onto a rigid upright or rope handle in the basket (not onto a control line rope or fuel line).

    3. Keep your knees together, legs slightly bent and tensed as if jumping from a height to absorb the landing shock.  

    4. Keep all parts of your body in the basket especially hands and arms. Keep in mind that even though you are standing still, you are a body in motion - when the basket touches the ground it will slow and you will keep moving in the direction of the flight - this is what you are bracing for!

- Stay in the Basket: After landing do not get out of the basket until told to do so by the pilot. The loss of your weight could cause the balloon to take off again or you could be run over by the basket as it continues to drag in a high wind landing.

- Landowner Relations: In many of the places we land, we have prior permission. We may land somewhere we have not been before. Your spectators will be asked to stay off of private property until permission has been obtained by the crew. Follow the lead of your crew when it comes to landowners. We exercise deference and show nothing but respect to landowners and their property. We sometimes land on Amish or Mennonite farms - we will not do a champagne toast when this happens out of respect for their religious beliefs. Please put cameras away and take no pictures of these kind folks as "graven images" or photographs are not appreciated by some.

- Spectator Vehicles: If you wish to follow the chase vehicle during the flight, please observe the following:

  1. Do not follow too closely. The chase vehicle will make frequent stops and possibly u-turns. Give them room.

  2. Don't stop on blind hills or curves. The next vehicle behind you may be watching the balloon and not see you in time.

  3. Stay on public access roads when the balloon lands on private property.

  4. Do not drive on grass or pull over into yards to watch the balloon.

  5. Please keep dust down on gravel roads by driving slowly and considerately.

- The signing of an assumption of risk agreement is an insurance requirement for all passengers - you may review a copy here.

Thank you for reviewing and adhering to these points for the safety and enjoyment of all.

Biplane Passenger & Spectator Briefing

- The Airfield: The asphalt areas adjacent to the picnic tables are active taxiways. Airplanes may start engines and taxi along here at any time. Do not walk close to propellers, be observant for people in airplanes, and do not allow children to run or play on the taxiway or the grass runway. The grass runway parallels the taxiway to the right of the hangars and aircraft parking area - it is marked with blue and orange barrel halves.

- Personal Belongings: Passengers must remove all loose items from their person - ball caps, pagers, cell phones, etc. Only cameras with neck or wrist straps are permitted aboard. Camera bags must be left on the ground. Changing film is not permitted in flight. The reason for this is that any loose item, especially those just described can be dropped into the belly of the plane and lodge in the control mechanism. The silk scarf is great for your photos but please tuck it in prior to takeoff as it will whip back into the pilots face. Also, button or zip up windbreakers or other lightweight jackets that tend to balloon full of air and obstruct the pilot's view.

- Propeller Safety: Our wooden propeller is a thing of beauty and practically begs to be touched - please don't. Movement of the prop could cause the engine to actually start! We will often keep the airplane engine running between flights. Passengers and spectators may not approach the airplane while the engine is running without a Barnstormer Aero crew member escort. When you are brought to the airplane with the engine running, you must not go forward of the back of the lower wing.

- Boarding: Use the step ladder to climb up to the wing and onto the black wing walk area. Do Not step off the black area - the yellow portions of the wing are fabric and will be damaged if stepped upon. WATCH WHERE YOU ARE STEPPING AT ALL TIMES!

There are two black handles in the top wing. Grab hold of these and step into the back of the seat and then down to the flat green running boards where your feet may rest. Do not step into the belly or onto any tubing. Keep your feet clear of the rudder pedals at the end of the running boards. During takeoff and landing, keep your arms inside the cockpit. Resting them on the cockpit coaming will block the pilot's view.

- Helmet: You will wear a cloth helmet and headset. It is not for communication; it is for hearing protection. Sunglasses are usually sufficient for wind protection but there are goggles on the helmet if you decide to use them.

- Communication: The aircraft is just as it was in 1941 - there is no intercom. You may communicate with the pilot sitting behind you by using the mirror mounted on the underside of the top wing. You can see him and he can see you. The following hand signals will be useful:

Thumbs Up - means everything is OK      Thumbs Down - means don't do that again     Slash across the Throat - means you want to stop

Pilot rocks the wings - look in the mirror    Pilot points to eyes and then away - look in the direction he is pointing    

If conditions permit, the pilot will allow you to fly the plane. If the wings rock and you look at the pilot and he shows you both hands you may take the control stick. If you don't want to fly just shake your head no. Once you take control, tap yourself on top of your head to indicate that the airplane is  "yours." If you feel pressure on the stick don't fight it. It is either the pilot helping you or the trim system.  Don't make sudden radical movements of the stick - it doesn't take much to move the plane. If you feel a tap on the stick look at the pilot. FOLLOW any directions that you may receive. If the stick "shakes" back and forth - LET GO! Show both your hands to the pilot to indicate that you no longer have the plane. The pilot will tap himself on the head to show you that he has the plane.

Positive change of control over who is flying the aircraft is critical - DO NOT STOP flying the aircraft without telling the pilot that you are doing so. Wiggle the stick or take the plane to straight and level and show your hands.

- Deplaning: When climbing out, stand up, grasp the black handles in the top wing and step up into the back of the seat. Step onto the black wing walk and down the ladder. If the engine is running, a crew member will escort you away from the aircraft - do not go forward of the wing.

- The signing of an assumption of risk agreement is an insurance requirement for all passengers - you may review a copy here.

Thank you for reviewing and adhering to these points for the safety and enjoyment of all.

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