Light Flight Hot Air Balloons, Inc. & Barnstormer Aero

      

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Hot Air Balloon Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for Answers to Biplane Questions

When and where do you fly, and for how long?

 

How high, how fast, and how far will we fly?Light Flight Balloon "Dawn's Early Rise"

 

What about motion, airsickness, and fear of heights?

 

How do I dress and what should I bring?

 

What about the weather?

 

When is the best time to fly?

 

Do I need a reservation?

 

What is the cost? How to Pay, Who may fly, and are there a minimum number of passengers required?

 

What is the refund and cancellation policy?

 

Do you have gift certificates?

 

Where do we meet? Balloon Ride Directions

 

Have a question that isn't answered here?

You may send us a question for inclusion on our Frequently Asked Questions page - submit your ? here.


When and where do you fly, and for how long?

            We fly 7 days a week all year around, weather permitting. We fly the first hour after sunrise and the last hour or so before sunset; meeting times for flights will vary with sunrise and sunset time based on the time of year that you fly. Balloons only fly these times of day due to the lack of thermal activity, for safety, and to take advantage of calm winds. Flights may be scheduled on a mutually agreeable date at any time of the year.

        We fly in the northern portions of Maryland’s Harford and Baltimore counties as well as southern Pennsylvania. The scenery is rural and picturesque. We meet passengers at a park and ride in Pylesville, MD, twelve miles north of Bel Air. We have nearly three-dozen launch sites located throughout the flying area. Which launch site we select is based upon wind speed and direction on the day of your flight.

        The entire adventure lasts 2.5 to 3.5 hours from start to finish with approximately an hour spent aloft on our standard ride. It entails picking you up at the meeting location and transporting you in our vehicle to a launch site. Once on the launch site it takes twenty to thirty minutes to inflate the balloon. We fly for an hour, land, pack everything up, have a champagne or sparkling cider toast, and return you to your vehicle.

 How high, how fast, and how far will we fly?

        We usually fly at tree top height to enjoy an “aerial nature walk.” Our altitude is dependent upon the wind and what is below us, but generally up to 1,000 feet and sometimes higher. The flights spend time both high and low so that you may experience each. We fly in light winds of six to eight miles per hour or less. Our speed is that of the wind and distance will vary with the speed. We generally fly from four to eight miles on a flight. Where we fly from and to, will be based solely on the wind.

 What about motion, airsickness, and fear of heights?

       There is no sensation of motion in a balloon. It is completely tranquil and stable with no rocking or swaying. It is inexplicable that there is also no sensation of height in a balloon. Even the most faint of heart and those fearful of heights find the basket very secure and relaxing moments after takeoff. In over thirty years we have flown hundreds of passengers who, before the flight, were absolutely certain that a balloon was the device specifically designed to torture them. They have been dragged, cajoled, brow beaten, and shamed into flying by Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Husbands, Wives, Friends and significant others. To date, we have never had anyone take us up on the offer to land early and deliver them back to Mother Earth. This includes a person who crosses the Bay Bridge while laying on the floor of the back seat of the car! We have never had anyone say they wouldn’t do it again! It takes five minutes for you to realize that your fears were unfounded and that this experience is just plain fun.

 How do I dress and what should I bring?

            Dress as you would for any outdoor activity. If you are comfortable on the ground you will be comfortable in the air. In fact, you may actually be warmer aloft due to the radiant heat produced by the burners and the lack of wind chill - the balloon is moving at the same speed as the wind so there is no wind. A cap or hat a good idea for those who are tall or sensitive to heat. We suggest long pants and footwear appropriate for walking in fields. Waterproof shoes are a good idea on morning flights when the dew is heavy. Skirts, shorts, sandals, and high heels are not recommended due to the fact that we may be walking in fields with less than good footing and the occasional bramble.

        For safety reasons, natural fiber clothing, such as cotton, is preferable to synthetics. Bring a camera to record your adventure and to take advantage of the unobstructed view. Decide how much film (ok we're showing our age) or memory card, you might use and then bring at least twice as much! Due to limited space in the basket, large camera bags, purses, backpacks, and coolers are best left in our vehicle. The consumption of alcohol is not permitted aboard the balloon or prior to the flight; passengers who arrive under the influence will not be permitted aboard.

 What about the weather?

            As with all aviation, weather is the most critical aspect affecting balloon flight. Rain, threat of rain, storms, breezy winds on the surface or aloft are all reasons for postponing a flight. If your pilot feels that flying conditions may be unsafe, we will reschedule your flight to the next mutually agreeable date and time. We hold days open each week to accommodate rescheduled passengers. You may go to our weather page for a complete discussion of the weather and what we take into consideration in determining if it is safe to fly.

 When is the best time to fly?

            We are often asked which is better, the morning or evening? Frankly we enjoy them all. Our morning flights capture the awakening of Mother Earth and the warmth of the early morning sun while our evening flights enjoy the splendor of spectacular sunsets. Every flight is unique. Morning flights are recommended over evening flights during the hot months; the cooler it is, the more enjoyable it is. As for the time of year, spring bloom and fall foliage are two of our busiest times of the year. While we will fly all year around and have had great flights in every month, May thru early November are the best times in the mid-Atlantic area.

Do I need a reservation?

            All flights are by reservation and with more notice there is a greater likelihood of getting the date that you wish. Generally, weekdays book one week in advance and weekends book two weeks in advance except during very busy times of the year such as during the fall foliage peak colors. All flights are first come, first served and based on unpredictable demand; do not hesitate to call on short notice as we are often able to accommodate passengers.

 What is the cost? How to pay, Who may fly, and are there a minimum number of passengers required?

            The champagne charter flight is our standard hour long ride and the fare is $235.00 per passenger plus 5% tax. A deposit of $100 per passenger is required to book a flight or to obtain a gift certificate. The balance of the payment is due at the time of flight. Rides may be paid for in full if you wish. We have reinstituted a 1/2 hour flight for $175.00 per passenger, with some restrictions. We also have a private charter for $800.00 per couple. We accept personal checks, all major credit cards, and cash. Gratuities while not required are appreciated for your hard working crew; consider an amount that would be appropriate for any service industry.

 Accept Credit Cards Visa MasterCard American Express Discover

        You must be a minimum of 8 years old, there is no maximum age, and no minimum number of passengers is required; nearly thirty percent of our passengers are singles. We operate ten aircraft with capacities ranging from two to ten passengers. The usual number of passengers aboard a flight is four passengers and a pilot. Private charters may be arranged for an additional fee of $199 per passenger; this guarantees that only you, your guest, and the pilot are aboard the balloon. Thirty minute flights may be upgraded to the full hour at the time of booking if passengers desire to do so.

 What is the refund and cancellation policy?

            Our refund policy is one of the most lenient in the business. Refunds will be made for any reason within six months after purchase, less fifteen percent. Changing passengers, or transferring a certificate to someone else is permitted and there is no cost to do so. Canceling a scheduled flight with insufficient notice for us to find replacement passengers, failing to show for a flight, a late arrival that causes you to miss the flight, and arriving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (you will not be permitted aboard under FAA regulations) will result in the forfeiture of funds paid including any balance due. 72 hour notice is required for cancellations. Read our Terms & Conditions page for complete details.

 Do you have gift certificates?

            Gift certificates are available and only require a deposit. They are ideal for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, and any other special occasion. It is truly a gift that the recipient will never forget. We offer a complete selection of embroidered hats, shirts, sweatshirts and outerwear to accompany your certificate, if you so desire. You may read more about them on our certificates page. Balances for balloon flights may be applied to flights in the airplane if passengers prefer a biplane ride. There is no on-line purchase available, you must call our office to obtain a certificate at 410-836-1116.

Where Do we meet? Balloon Ride Directions    You may click here for downloadable directions: Directions

            You will meet your balloon crew at the small park and ride at the intersection of MD Route 543 and MD Route 165 in Pylesville, Maryland. This is approximately 12 miles North of Bel Air. This location is one turn off Interstate 95.

  1. From Interstate 95 take Exit 80. This is MD Route 543.

  2. Follow signs for MD 543 North towards Churchville. This is a Left turn on 543 after you exit I-95 when coming from the South and a Right turn when coming from the North.

  3. Go approximately 18 miles. You will cross MD 22 and US Route 1. You are within 2 miles when you pass Taylor Road, then Heaps Road, and Heaps School Road. Just past the Pylesville Post Office which is on the right and the intersection of Old Pylesville Road is the Park & Ride on the left hand side. This is a very small Park and Ride with only twenty spaces. If you get to the stop sign at the "T" intersection dead end of 543 and 165, you have gone 100' too far!

GPS Directions - If you elect to use a GPS, please realize that by taking the shortest route it may not be the fastest. The short route is usually through town with congestion and on slow back roads; allow sufficient travel time for unexpected delays.

The park and ride has no physical address. You may use the intersection function by putting in Old Pylesville Road & Hwy. 543 or use this closest address - City Name: Pylesville, MD, Address: 4006 Ady Road. When you reach the destination, the Park & Ride will be another 150 feet on the left when coming from the South and immediately on the right when turning onto Rt. 543 when coming from the North. Some GPS Models show the "P" symbol for the actual Park and Ride.

        If you are lost or running late - call your balloon crew at 410-836-1116 - Our meeting and flying area does not enjoy good cellular service; you may have to keep trying to reach us. Timely arrival at the meeting location is imperative. We will leave this location to go to a launch site at the appointed meeting time. Our meeting times are based on sunrise and sunset times with little latitude for time - the Sun waits for no one and other passengers may be involved.

You May Download a Brochure Here: Balloon Ride Brochure

If you have additional questions or wish to schedule a flight, we are happy to help you

Call our Office 410-836-1116


Barnstormer Aero Airplane Ride Frequently Asked QuestionsBarnstormer Biplane Ride's '41 Stearman

Where do you fly from - Biplane Ride Directions?

 

When is the best time to fly?

 

Where will we fly and for how long?

 

How many passengers can go?Barnstormer Aero's Stearman

 

How do I dress and what should I bring?

 

What about refunds?

 

Do you have gift certificates?

 

What is the Cost?

 

Have a question that isn't answered here?                                                                                      

You may send us a question for inclusion on our Frequently Asked Questions page - submit your ? here.


Where do you fly? Biplane Ride Directions

            All of our biplane airplane flights depart from Harford County Airport (Aldino or 0W3) 3538 Aldino Road in Churchville, MD. The airfield is located approximately 2 miles off MD route 22 on Route 156, Aldino Road. Take I-95 north to exit 85, take Route 22 towards Churchville. Go 3.6 miles and turn right onto MD Route 156. Go approximately 2 miles and the airfield will be on your left. You may park in the lot and meet us at the picnic tables. If you do not see the airplane, it means that we have not returned from the previous flight. Have a seat and we will be with you shortly. If you become lost you may reach us at 410-459-3022 - the area does not enjoy good cellular coverage and you may have to keep trying to reach us.

 When is the best time to fly?

            Airplane flights may be scheduled any day of the week at a mutually agreeable date and time from May thru October. We only fly in the moderate temperature months for comfort reasons; remember it is an open cockpit! Passengers must call to schedule their flight. Morning flights are recommended over evening flights during the hot months as the cool, smooth air makes for a more enjoyable flight. We usually begin flying at 10-11 AM on weekdays and 11:30 AM on weekends. The last flights of the day are usually at 2:00 PM. The biplane rides are flown in between balloon flights; these times change with sunrise and sunset times during the flying season.

    All flights are by reservation and with greater notice there is a greater likelihood of getting the date that you wish. Generally, weekdays book several days in advance and weekends book one or two weeks in advance. All flights are first come, first served and based on unpredictable demand; do not hesitate to call on short notice, as we are often able to accommodate passengers. We do accept walk in customers without reservations if the flight schedule permits.

        All flights are conducted weather permitting. If your pilot feels that flying conditions may be unsafe, we will reschedule your flight to the next mutually agreeable date and time. We hold days open each week to accommodate rescheduled passengers. Rain, threat of rain or storms, and forecasts for breezy, windy, or gusty conditions will be cause for rescheduling a flight. Poor visibility, and turbulence aloft can also postpone a flight. You may read more about weather here.

Where will we fly and for how long? 

             Biplane flight distances and duration will be determined by the package that was purchased. You may upgrade your flight at the time you schedule your ride or at the time of flight, if the schedule permits. All flights of thirty minutes or more will permit the passenger to choose the direction of flight. Direction of flight is also dictated by airspace restrictions and prohibited areas. Your pilot will discuss your wishes and accommodate you within the confines of the Federal Air Regulations. Passengers are permitted to try their hand at flying the airplane as well. We don't do full aerobatics on rides. We do a series of steep turns, lazy "8's". chandelles, and negative "g" maneuvers that most passengers find more than enough to satisfy or dissatisfy the stomach! The ride may be made as smooth or as adventurous as the passenger desires.

How many passengers and who can go?

            One passenger may fly at a time and we cannot permit a child to be carried by an adult. The airplane was designed for a student and an instructor. If more than one person wishes to fly, they will be flown individually on consecutive flights. There is a passenger weight restriction maximum of 275 pounds and a minimum age of 9 years old (passengers are segregated from the pilot and must be capable of understanding the consequences of failing to follow the specific instructions that are provided). There is no maximum age. Our most senior passenger, to date, is 100 years young!

 How do I dress and what should I bring?

            Dress should be casual and comfortable for the wind and slightly decreased temperatures aloft. Fine clothing is not recommended as oil and lubricants are always present around old radial engine airplanes. A helmet and goggles will be provided – the silk scarf is optional. We recommend the wearing of sunglasses for eye and wind protection instead of the goggles; they provide a clearer and more comfortable view. If you bring a camera it must have a neck or wrist strap that is used during the entire flight. Changing of film is not permitted in flight. The reason for this rule is that anything dropped into the belly of the airplane, be it a camera, film, or a film canister, is not easily retrieved and could possibly lodge in the controls! It is for safety reasons that we ask passengers to remove anything that could be easily lost, prior to boarding. 

What about refunds?

            Our refund policy is one of the most lenient in the business. Refunds will be made for six months after purchase, less 15%. Changing passengers, or transferring a certificate to someone else is permitted with notification to us and there is no cost to do so. Canceling a scheduled flight with less than 72 hours notice, failing to show for a flight, or a late arrival that causes you to miss the flight, will result in the forfeiture of funds paid if we cannot find replacement passengers. Please read our Terms & Conditions page for complete details.

Do you have gift certificates?

            Gift certificates are available and ideal for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, and any other special occasion. Certificates are valid for one year, May thru October, and permit the passenger to schedule their flight at their leisure. A certificate will never expire as the result of weather cancellations. It is truly a gift that the recipient will never forget. We accept cash, personal checks and all major credit cards. We offer a complete selection of embroidered hats, shirts, sweatshirts and outerwear to accompany your certificate, if you so desire. Biplane ride balances may be applied to a balloon flight if passengers wish to take a balloon ride instead.

What is the cost?

            The 20 minute ride is $145.00, 30 minutes is $195.00, 45 minutes is $275.00, & 60 minutes is $350.00 plus tax of 5%. Our most popular ride is 30 minutes. We accept personal checks, all major credit cards, and cash. Gratuities while not required, are appreciated for your hard working crew; consider an amount that would be appropriate for any service industry.

 Accept Credit Cards Visa MasterCard American Express Discover

You May Download a Brochure Here: Biplane Ride Brochure

If you have additional questions or wish to schedule a flight, we are happy to help you

Call our Office 410-836-1116


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This page was last revised January 2015

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