Hot weather and ballooning
Love the heat or not? The Hunter Valley is a hot place to be when the sun is out. We know this and that's why we meet our passengers early in the morning before the sun is at full strength. To fly a hot air balloon we need calm, still mornings with just a slight breeze at best. The temperature of the morning will also effect how the hot air balloon flies. As pilots we like it cold. Not freezing but cold. A balloon needs to be hotter that the air to rise. If the air is really cold then the balloon only has to be warm to go up. If the air is hot then the balloon needs to be really hot and this is not good for the balloon. We are restricted to heating the fabric to about 120 degrees. After this temperature the fabric will degrade and not last as long as it should. One way we can counter this is to carry less load on a hot day. Less load means we require less lift and so less heat.
Our biggest balloon can lift about 2000kg at 10 degrees, on a cool morning. This is the balloon itself and 1100kg of cargo (we like to call them guests). On a hot morning the balloon can lift as little as 1465kg. This is still nearly 800kgs for the balloon leaving only 500kg for passengers. There does come a time when it is not worth taking a balloon out as the heat required to lift 4 or 5 passenger makes it non-financial.
Love the heat or not! Yes we do, but only during the day.....