Riding hundreds of feet in the sky from a hot air balloon can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience. But also, you have to know that there are risks involved when you ride in a hot air balloon similar to other adventure sport. There are actually so many instances wherein hot air balloons crashed and have lead to untimely death of riders. Unless you have studied the precautionary measures and guaranteed full protection, you must not go up and take a ride in the sky.
Here are few of the vital safety precautions and checks to be done before hitching a ride.
Number 1. Safety equipment – it is a basic necessity for every balloon to provide safety equipment to its passengers. You have to ensure that you have obtained enough information especially from respected sources. As minimum, you must check if the balloon has onboard flint spark lighter, fire extinguisher and parachutes.
The purpose of a flint spark lighter is to reignite the flame if it goes out in midair. The pilot will be able to relight the flame and avoid crash. Fire extinguisher on the other hand is essential for some obvious reasons.
You must check for drop line as well. In some other countries, this is a mandatory requirement for it is very useful when the pilot can’t steer the balloon effective due to mild wind. Since the balloon has a risk of getting damage from the ground obstruction, ground crew is using the drop line dropped by pilot throughout landing to be able to guide the hot air balloon from any obstruction in ground.
Number 2. Maintenance – balloons that have not undergone proper maintenance is sure to be unsafe. Similar to aircraft, regular maintenance in balloons are critical. One vulnerable part of a balloon is its fabric. Any damage in the balloon has to be repaired as soon as possible since even a small tear or rip can spell disaster.
Number 3. Alertness – it is necessary that you’re always attentive and alert at the same time when you ride a hot air balloon. Being sensitive to the objects around you is essential when flying. Watch out for electrical lines, masts and poles that the hot air balloon may collide. At times, the pilot may be too focused on one thing and may not be able to notice other obstacles. In this case, make it your personal responsibility to be alert.
Number 4. Listen to what you’re told – before take off, you’ll be brief of the terms and conditions during the flight, make sure that you follow these rules.