Spring has sprung at last, which means it’s time to get ready for a brand new ballooning season here at Virgin Balloon Flights.
And there’s more that goes into preparing to fly our beautiful big red balloons again than you might think.
For example, did you know that before they go up, up and away once more, each of our balloons – basket, burners, frame and envelope - is given a detailed inspection from top to bottom by a trained hot air balloon inspector.
(Yes, Hot Air Balloon Inspector is an actual job!)
Lindsay Muir is a commercial balloon pilot who flew our own Virgin balloons for several years.
She is now also one of the UK’s official inspectors and our balloons are only signed off with their ‘Certificate Of Airworthiness’ if they pass all of her rigorous checks.
Check out what a Lindsay is looking for during her inspections in this video.
You’re In Safe Hands With Us
Every year before the new ballooning season begins, every one of our full balloon ‘rigs’ is brought out of their winter hibernation to be inspected.
On a calm day, they’ll rolled out and set up for what we call a ‘cold inflation’ from our powerful fans – the same as first half of the process to fill the balloon on an actual flight.
Once there is enough air inside, instead of firing up the burners (as that would make things rather too toasty for the inspectors!) a full and careful check of the inside and outside of the envelope takes place.
That’s followed by a full inspection of the wicker basket (the bit you will be in for your flight), the burners and the frame that holds them in place.
If anything needs a tweak or even a repair, however small, it’s noted down and the balloon won’t pass its inspection until that’s been carried out.
And this happens up and down the country for each of our balloons, from Scotland to Cornwall.
It’s certainly one of the busiest times of the year for our Operations team but that’s all part of the fun of being the UK’s only national passenger balloon company.
Get Ready To Fly
Once each balloon has passed its inspection, it gets its own personal Certificate of Airworthiness for the year - or the next 100 hours it flies, whichever comes first.
And there’s plenty more than just the balloon inspections needed to get ready for a new hot air balloon rides season here in the UK.
But that’s a blog for another day.
Keep an eye out for Preparing To Fly Part 2 – How Does Virgin Balloon Flights Get Ready For The Flying Season?.
Or if you’re ready to hop on board for an airborne adventure unlike any other, check out our 100+ locations and flight voucher options here on the website.