August 11th, 2008

Passengers on our balloon flights are welcome to bring as many spectators to the launch site as they wish. There’s no charge for spectating, but we do require all spectators, friends and family to carefully follow any instructions issued by the balloon crew or other Wickers World staff. The inflation of the balloon is a spectacular sight, not to be missed, and everyone is welcome to join in with preparing the balloon by helping to spread the fabric on the ground.

Safety is our paramount concern, and we need to ensure that everybody has an enjoyable day out.

Once airborne, the balloons are followed by our ground crew driving Land Rovers. Friends and family then have the choice of either staying at the launch site to await our return, or jumping into their cars to follow the ground crew vehicles. Following can be great fun! Kids especially love following the balloon as it meanders across the countryside, leading the cars on a merry chase through country lanes!

Often, the ground crew are close to the balloon as it comes down, allowing the followers an opportunity to see the landing as well as the launch of the balloon! Passengers who have been followed by friends or relatives then have the choice of either returning to the launch site with our crew, or leaving from the landing spot with their followers – no doubt for a trip to the nearest hostelry to celebrate!


Flight Safety

July 21st, 2008

When compared to any other form of recreational aviation, hot air ballooning has an enviable safety record. This is no doubt due, in some large part, to the relatively slow speeds at which we travel, but is also a reflection upon the high safety standards across our industry. Every commercial balloon operating company in the UK must be granted an Air Operator’s Certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority before carrying fare-paying passengers. In addition, pilots of such companies need to hold an unrestricted commercial pilot’s licence (rated on balloons), and the balloons themselves are designed and maintained as public transport category aircraft – just like a commercial airliner!

The pilots are required to take an annual flight exam, and regular medicals by a CAA appointed medical examiner. In addition, company chief pilots regularly observe company aircrew performance, and help to maintain high standards of safety and competence.

So, as you can begin to appreciate, there is a wealth of training and preparation before we even consider launching ourselves into the sky! Take a look at our flights page to see our chief pilot, Andy Rawson, in action!