Imagine yourself in the wicker basket of a hot air balloon, gently lifting off from the Saratoga Fairgrounds. Slowly, the crowds, the buildings, and the fields quietly fade beneath you, with fellow balloons rising and gliding with you through the blue skies of New York, giving you a view of the countryside and memories for the rest of your life.
The whole experience last roughly 3 hours, with the flight lasting approximately 1 hour depending on the conditions.
You’ll meet your pilot and ground crew and hour before flight time. Then, you’ll join the crew in deploying the balloon, while learning the basics of balloon flight. It’s hands on, but only as much as you want it to be (it’s a lot of fun!) The pilot will inflate the balloon, and when ready, you’ll step aboard. In moments, the balloon will lift off, and gently sail through the sky with over 20 other balloons. Any balloon flight is amazing!
Launching with the Saratoga Balloon & Craft Festival is a treat. As you float above the mountains and lakes, you’ll notice how quiet and peaceful the flight is. You’re flying with the wind, so there’s little motion felt aboard but you’ll see the landscape slowly passing beneath you.
As you fly, the chase crew will communicate with your pilot, and follow you to your landing point. Balloon landings are generally soft, but they can vary. Some landings are like jumping from the bottom step of your stairs to the floor, and some are like jumping from 2-3 stairs up to the floor. Sometimes the balloon basket will touch down several times when coming to a stop. The landings are generally soft but do require holding on. The pilot will let you know in advance of the landing.
Once on the ground, the balloon will be quickly packed into the waiting chase crew vehicle, and the long tradition will be celebrated of the pilot giving the landowner a bottle of champagne for allowing him to land on his property.
You’ll ride back to the launch area, full of memories of the flight, taking them with you forever.