“Would it be ok if we landed our hot air balloon in your front yard?” 95% of people asked by a hot air balloon pilot 30ft above their properties say “go ahead.”
As a hot air balloon pilot, I often get asked the question, “where do you land?”. Landing a hot air balloon is as much an art as a science, and picking the perfect landing spot takes skill and experience. We often land in parks, cut fields, and my all time favorite, private properties that have great access, well-manicured lawns, and friendly landowners.
On Saturday, after an amazing 2-hour hot air balloon flight, we found a wonderful spot to land. The wind at three thousand feet was moving South at 9kts, and the wind on the surface was moving North at 6kts. When the wind on the surface is moving quickly, hot air balloonists either look for a large field or a tall row of trees to block the wind. On Saturday, we saw the perfect property down below us. The property had a large front yard surrounded by trees, freshly mowed grass, and two cars in the driveway.
We lowered the altitude of the hot air balloon to treetop level, and slowly brought down the balloon on the downwind side of the trees. The basket softly touched down on the freshly mowed lawn. It was time to introduce ourselves to the homeowners. They excitedly opened the front door and greeted us with open arms. After helping us pack up the balloon, they joined us for a champagne toast.
Any hot air balloon pilot can find an open field to land a balloon. At Seattle Ballooning, when we land our hot air balloon we make new friends.