Hot Air Ballooning
Floating along above the treetops of the Maine countryside in a hot air balloon is a quiet and peaceful experience, a slow and gentle form of flight that affords you a full 360-degree view of the earth below from a unique perspective. You’ll fly over forests and fields, towns and cities; see wildlife and trees, mountains and lakes; hear the rustle of leaves and rushing streams; and often get to talk with people in their backyards!
From your stable position in the basket up in the open air you’ll enjoy the calm sensation of moving along with the air at about 10 MPH, interrupted occasionally by a sudden blast from the propane burner as your pilot maneuvers the balloon through the early morning or late afternoon skies. The experience is described by many as a true natural high and is why so many people return again and again to take flight.
Hot air balloon adventures need to be scheduled ahead of time. And because ballooning is weather dependent, you’ll want to have an alternate plan for your day should your flight be postponed and rescheduled. You’ll be contacted with 12 hours before the scheduled flight; if the weather looks favorable then it’s a go! The “wait and see” spontaneity is part of this memorable experience.
The hot air ballooning experience begins when you meet the pilot and ground crew at the launch sites (there are flights from Portland, Auburn, Bangor and many other Maine cities), where you’ll see the big and colorful balloon unpacked and inflated. Then it’s time to climb in and launch. The typical flight lasts from 45 minutes to one hour, plenty of time to look out, take photos, talk with others aboard – it’s a wonderful activity for the family and people of all ages – and be entertained by the pilot. After a gentle landing the “chase vehicle” and crew will meet your group and drive you back to the starting point.
The Great Falls Balloon Festival and the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival are big events held each summer to celebrate the fun sport of hot air ballooning. Enjoy a weekend of balloon rides, entertainment, food, crafts, and a carnival and parade.