Guidelines for a Great Balloon Event
Safety must be the first consideration in all situations involving RE/MAX Hot Air Balloons. Federal Aviation Administration Rules and Regulations (FAR) are specific regarding the safe performance of any aircraft, and the judgment of a qualified pilot is vital to ensure the safe operation of the RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon.
The Pilot in Command is directly responsible for the safety of everyone involved, including the crew, passengers and bystanders. The Pilot in Command shall have full decision-making authority regarding any and all activities during any ballooning event.
Safe inflation requires an open area a minimum of 200 feet by 200 feet - clear of all power lines overhead. This amount of area not only allows the envelope to stretch out in any direction when it is being inflated or deflated, but also allows enough room for the tether lines. Tethered balloon rides usually ascend about 40 feet.
The ideal site is a level grassy field. If a vacant lot or dirt area is used, the area is to be cleared of any material that could snag or tear the balloon envelope, such as broken glass, nails or barbed wire.
Permission must be granted by the owner of the property selected as a suitable tether or launch site. Such permission should be in writing. Permits may also be required by local authorities for launching from public property.
A tethered balloon events lasts about two to three hours. The balloon is secured to the ground with mooring lines. These lines must be secured to the ground at four separate locations on the perimeter of the tether site using poles, trees or vehicles as the attach points. If trees or poles are not at the site selected for the tethered promotion, it will be necessary to bring extra vehicles onto the field. It is always necessary to bring the balloon van or trailer to the field, because of the equipment weight.
TIME OF DAY/WEATHER CONSIDERATIONS
To avoid heat, thermals, and thunderstorms, tethers are best completed in the early morning hours, before 10 a.m. or early evening after 6:00 p.m.
Late morning success drops to about 50 percent, and by afternoon, winds and thunderstorms prevent ballooning 85 percent of the time. Winds of only eight miles an hour or more can cause serious problems for tethered balloon operations. RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon tethered promotions that provide tethered rides should not be held when surface winds are in excess of six miles an hour.
The pilot will need the assistance of several crew members to accomplish a successful and safe balloon promotion. Arrangements should be made for four or five crew members to help inflate and deflate the balloon and for crowd control and public relations.
Crew members should be at the site at least one hour prior to the time you want the balloon up and going. They need to be available the entire time the balloon is inflated, and they should also help pack up.
When the balloon is tethered, crew members need to prevent spectators from inadvertently walking into the lines, or stepping over them while the balloon is rising.
PROMOTING THE EVENT
Important words in promoting a balloon event are "Weather Permitting." Use this phrase in all promotional material. Because weather is unpredictable, a back-up date or a plan B should be considered, especially when the balloon is the only attraction for your event.
PASSENGER LIABILITY RELEASE FORM
All passengers on board must have completed and signed a Passenger Release Form from each passenger prior to the flight. These will be provided by RE/MAX Valley Real Estate.
The RE/MAX Hot Air Balloons are covered on the RE/MAX Master Balloon Insurance Program, through its Broker of Record, AirSure, Ltd.