OMRO, Wis. (WFRV) – A hot air balloon ride is a bucket list item for many. However, what most people don’t often get to see is what goes into the entire process.
Mike and Brenda Beck, owners of Calm Sky Adventures in Omro, were kind enough to take Local 5 for a ride to give viewers an in depth look at ballooning.
Before anything, new riders will start at a meeting point to to go over how the hot air balloon ride works, go over the rules, sign any waivers, and determine the wind speed/direction and flying route.
To find out the speed and direction of the winds, the pilot fills up an every day balloon with helium and lets it fly off. This gives the pilot a better understanding of the route to take. Then it’s off to the launching spot.
When the ballooners arrive at the spot the set up begins. The basket gets taken out, the burners get checked, the crew lays out the envelope, the envelope gets filled with cold air from a big fan, heat is added, and the hot air balloon gets stood up.
After all of that, pre-flight checks begin. If everything checks out, then it’s time to load up the balloon and get ready for take off!
The flight will usually last anywhere from a half hour to an hour. Once the balloon is in the sky, the sights are breathtaking. Local 5’s flight with Calm Sky Adventures lasted around 30 minutes and reached 2,000 feet above ground.
While the balloon is in the sky, the crew follows the balloon and talks to the pilot through a walkie-talkie to work out a landing spot. Once that’s determined, the pilot begins the landing.
The crew helps with the landing and begins the tear down. “Without my crew, this couldn’t be possible,” says Beck.
A certificate of the flight is then given out to acknowledge that the passenger has become an Aeronaut.
The whole process, from start to finish, is much more than just a balloon in the sky.