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My First: Balloon Ride
My daughter wanted only one thing for her 7th birthday. To take a ride in a hot air balloon. At first I was psyched. Then everyone I told including my very non-alarmist father said, “Really? Is that safe?” So I tried to convince her that what she really wanted to do was go to Massanutten Water Park. Needless to say, that didn’t work. Despite the tragic accident that occurred in Virginia earlier this year, hot air balloons are relatively safe. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 10 people have died in the United States in hot air balloon accidents in the last 10 years and accidents are extremely rare. I decided to go for it. I wanted to encourage her cool birthday request and loved that she didn’t ask for anything American Girl related. We contacted Rick Behr at Boar’s Head Ballooning at about 7pm on a Sunday night. He said he would meet us at 6am the next day. Well, at least I didn’t have time to think about it! Rick has been piloting balloons for 34 years in Charlottesville and all over the world. We felt very safe in his hands. It was stunning once we got up but slightly nerve wracking as we moved untethered around town. Rick explained that balloon pilots never really know where they will land. They communicate with the other balloons around town to feel out the winds at different altitudes and estimate where they will be able to come down after an hour or so. Then a truck on the ground comes to meet the balloon to help get it down and take everybody back to the launch site. My daughter loved the whole experience and reminded me that we just had to trust that we would be ok. She even stayed calm when got a double ride since the wind didn’t exactly cooperate with our landing. I stayed calm too because you really have no choice in this situation but to surrender to the experience. I was kissing the ground when we got down but in a good way. I’m really glad we did it. If this is on your bucket list, definitely go for it. If you like to wonder where you will land day after day, become a hot air balloon pilot!
It’s Obvious blog
Hot Air Balloon ! Try it – it’s great!!!
My sister and I are working on our bucket lists. This is a must !! Absolutely beautiful, wonderful experience. I’m not wonderful with heights but had absolutely no problem. Rick took us up and he has years of experience. We had a beautiful autumn day for our ride. It was so smooth and tranquil it didn’t even feel like we were moving. It should be noted – hot air ballooning is subject to Mother Nature . If the conditions are not right – your trip can be cancelled (ie rain, winds, …). We met Rick at the Boars Head Inn. Out front he released a small balloon and watched it rise and how the wind took it. We then got into his van and headed off to a take off site – evidently which way the wind is going determines where they can take off from. On the way, Rick pulled over again and let another small balloon go. When we arrived at the site – we got to see the whole process of setting up and inflating the balloon (and even helping). Truly awesome experience.
My husband surprised me with a hot air balloon ride for our tenth wedding anniversary. We had a great time! The pilot, Rick, was very experienced and knowledgeable. He made us feel comfortable and at ease. I was never worried or nervous about the flight. We had a beautiful morning and the flight went perfectly. His assistant was also very nice and helpful. He took great photos, which we purchased at the end of the flight. It was a great experience and I would definitely go ballooning again!