Light Flight Hot Air Balloons, Inc. & Barnstormer Aero
Romance and Adventure in the Air
The Fun & Excitement of a Balloon Ride
"Sherwin" A view of "Carousel" from above "Mellow Yellow" from below
Flight Packages and Pricing (click to go directly to pricing)
Why Choose Us? (click to learn why we should be your choice for a balloon company)
What to Expect on a Balloon Ride (click to learn the details of our balloon rides)
Who enjoys a hot air balloon ride and why go for a flight?
We have never met anyone who, after trying it, didn't enjoy their balloon ride! Our passengers come from all walks of life and all age groups. Our oldest passenger, to date, was 99 years young! The reasons people take a hot air balloon ride are as varied as there are people. We have flown passengers celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. Balloon rides have been given as gifts for Christmas, Hanukah, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Valentine's Day. Many companies use balloon rides to say thank you to clients or as employee incentives. It's hard to say "no" to a marriage proposal when it is done in as romantic and as spectacular a way as a balloon flight. Lately, there are those who are checking an item off their "bucket list" as just something they have always wanted to do.
In our 30 plus years in business we have seen practically everything. We especially like those passengers that were certain they would not enjoy a balloon ride. There is the challenge to convince them to try it and the satisfaction of having won them over when they tell us they're sad the ride is coming to an end. First time passengers are unable to contain their sheer exhilaration and can't wait to go again. We have never had anyone who didn't like it, including a person who only crosses the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by laying down in the back seat of the car!
The best answer to the question "are we are doing things well" is the level of repeat business that we enjoy. People who have experienced the fun of our balloon rides are coming back to take our biplane ride and vice versa. Many of our morning passengers return to book an evening flight and our "sleepers in" decide to see what all the hoopla is, about a sunrise. Our passengers recommend us to their friends and give additional rides as gifts to the rest of the family. Our record for a repeat passenger is a person who has flown with us 9 times - and that's just in a balloon; 10 times if you count the biplane! Thanks Hank and Patrice! We had to come up with a frequent floater miles program as a result!
If you would like to see what a ride is like, learn a little more about our Chief Pilot Mike, and hear what actual passengers have to say, you may watch this video produced in 2011 when the AARP program My Generation filmed a flight with us and four of our passengers.
Hot Air Balloon Rides are Ideal For:
A "Staycation or Daycation" experience - not taking that big vacation? Stay closer to home and enjoy a ride!
The Person Who has Everything
The Gift they will Never Guess - try one of our gift certificates
The Child in All of Us
Download a Brochure or Read More Below and on Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page
The Champagne Charter Flight ...……........................$235 per passenger
The champagne charter flight is our standard ride and includes: transportation from our meeting location to a launch site, approximately 1 hour in the air while the entire adventure is 2.5 - 3.5 hours from start to finish, a champagne or sparkling cider toast after landing, and transportation from the landing site back to your vehicle. Available for up to four passengers.
The Half Hour Flight ........................................................$175 per passengerWe have brought the 1/2 hour flight back during these tough economic times. We tried it many years ago as a way to make a balloon flight affordable for more people. We stopped offering it because even an hour is over before you know it - "time really does fly when you are having fun" (pun intended). We saw people disappointed that the flight was over so quickly - but the savings may help us both. The 1/2 hour flight includes everything that our champagne charter offers except the amount of time aloft. There are some restrictions as to availability and the times that these flights are offered.
The Private Charter Flight .............................................$800 per couple
Our champagne charter flight with a romantic twist. A private charter for just two passengers. This ride ensures that it is only you and the pilot aboard. Great for proposals or that very special occasion where you want privacy.
Tethered Balloon Promotions ............................Cost is Based on Time
For parties, grand openings,
and company picnics. A balloon that is anchored to the ground by ropes and
carries passengers up and down on short rides or for the static display of a
banner. Go to our "Tether"
page for pricing, details, and specific
Prices do not include applicable taxes. Read our Terms and Conditions page for complete details. Last Revised January 2015.
We accept checks, cash, money orders, and all major credit cards.
The reasons we should be your choice for a flight:
Beware when booking a balloon ride
ON LINE - Don't be taken in by unscrupulous
brokers or middle men schemes.
Become an informed consumer and
READ HOW to CHOOSE a ride company before making any balloon purchase.
Regardless of who you elect to fly with, take the time to learn the difference between a broker and a ride operator.
We do not sell nor do we accept any national ride certificates!
Beware: The latest attempt to look like a Maryland based business is a company calling themselves Maryland Hot Air Balloon Rides. If you change the name to Virginia Hot Air Balloon Rides or PA, or any other state, you will find an identical web site with only the state name and particulars being different. This is a broker in Georgia called Adventure Sports, and numerous other names, attempting to look local. They are selling national ride certificates at attractive prices that you will undoubtedly have difficulty redeeming or being refunded. This same company is also currently advertising as Baltimore Hot Air Balloons and Baltimore Balloon Rides. The small print on the Baltimore Balloon Rides page says that they "are a part of a network of professional affiliates who are part of the American Ballooning Network" Translated: we are not in Baltimore and are actually a broker selling rides nationally. They further state that "Local balloon ride affiliates are conveniently located near Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore Balloon Rides is a popular search term for hot air balloon rides in the greater Baltimore area and is not intended as a guarantee of location." That means they call themselves a popular search term in order to sell rides that will not be available in the location where they are being advertised and sold; their words, not ours!
What to Expect when Taking a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Balloons only fly the first several hours after sunrise and the last hour or
so before the
Flights may be scheduled on a mutually agreeable date, at any time of the year, seven days a week, weather permitting. While we have enjoyed wonderful flights in all months of the year; the mid-Atlantic area is somewhat seasonal for balloon flying. The best months are May thru early November.
What about the weather?
Balloons are very weather dependent aircraft and we are conservative about the weather that we choose to fly in. That means that if it is questionable, we will reschedule the flight. Statistically, about 60% of our flights are accomplished on their first try, 30% on the 2nd or 3rd try, and only about 10% have to be scheduled more than three times - but it does happen. We hold days open every week to accommodate rescheduled passengers as we know that it is unusual to get all of our flights completed in any given week.
Rescheduled passengers get priority on the flight schedule. We understand the
A view of Jarrettsville, MD Harford County with our shadow on the ground. Photo D. Gilman
We fly over the northern portions of Maryland’s Harford and Baltimore counties as well as southern Pennsylvania’s York and Lancaster counties. We are located 1 hour & 30 minutes from Washington D.C. and Philadelphia and 45 minutes to an hour from Baltimore and Annapolis. The scenery is both rural and picturesque.
The entire adventure lasts 2.5 to 3.5 hours from start to finish. It entails picking you up at our meeting location in Pylesville, Harford County, MD, eighteen miles North of Interstate 95. We transport you in one of our chase vans to a launch site. We have nearly three dozen launch sites and which one we use is based on the wind speed and direction that day. Because a balloon is a creature of the wind, we cannot guarantee that your flight will be over any specific area.
Once on the launch site it takes twenty to thirty minutes to inflate the balloon and provide you with a passenger briefing. The basket and balloon fabric are unloaded and hooked together. Gasoline powered fans are used to inflate the balloon with cold air and the propane burners are then used to heat the air, causing the balloon to rise up.
Boarding the basket is very easy; we use a three step ladder to assist passengers in and out. We have had numerous passengers with disabilities have no problem getting aboard. The crew is there to help you. We have both 1/2 hour and 1 hour flights but the whole adventure lasts 2.5 to 3.5 hours from start to finish.
The balloon is inflated on its side. Our balloon crew page will take you through an entire flight from start to finish - showing you each step of a typical flight!
How does it feel?
Lift off in a balloon is very gentle and passengers looking up into the balloon are often surprised to see that it has left the ground without them realizing it. There is no sensation of height or motion in a balloon. We have flown thousands of passengers who have said that they have a fear of heights. Not a single one of them, after five minutes aloft, have taken us up on the offer to land early.
We will fly for either 1/2 hour or about an hour based on the package purchased, fuel, and available landing opportunities. Some of our passengers have had 1.5 hour or longer flights; just luck of the draw! While flying, the pilot will rotate the balloon periodically to afford you views in all directions. Our altitude will vary from treetops to a thousand feet or more, depending upon what we are flying over and the conditions that day. The balloon basket does not sway, rock, or swing at all, so those concerned about motion sickness need not worry.
How is the landing?
Most landings are as gentle as a feather. It can be an "E" ticket ride depending upon wind conditions. In a landing with wind, the basket can "layover" on its side. Of course we endeavor to only fly in winds that will afford a smooth upright landing. After we land, we deflate the balloon and pack everything up. This takes the same amount of time as inflating the balloon, 20-30 minutes.
A basket full of children enjoying a short ride after we landed in their neighborhood.
A champagne or non-alcoholic sparkling cider toast
is served at the conclusion of the flight. The toast is a two-hundred year old
tradition dating back to the earliest French balloonists. Your pilot or balloon
crew will toast you and the landowner of the landing site and explain the
tradition to you at that time (some things are better done in person and we
don't want to spoil your enjoyment by giving it all away here). We will return
you to your vehicle at the conclusion of your adventure so there is no need for
you to have a driver or to make arrangements; we take care of that for you.
While ballooning is a sport that can be enjoyed by almost everyone, there are limitations. Women who are pregnant and in their late second or third trimester should not fly due to the possibility of a layover landing.
Children under the age of eight do not enjoy the length of a balloon flight. They are either bored or frightened by the burner flame. A balloon ride is very calm and serene, it is not a roller coaster. It has been our experience that young children will look at scenery for about 5 minutes and spend the next 55 minutes fidgeting and asking "are we there yet?" We recommend waiting until children reach an age that they can appreciate the experience; it will ensure that you both enjoy the ride and you won't regret spending money for nothing! If a company tells you otherwise, they are more interested in your money than your enjoyment.
Many people attempt to take a balloon ride when they are facing a grave illness. We recognize the desire to do this and endeavor to help these passengers fulfill their wish. Non ambulatory passengers are not prohibited from flying. We cannot however take aboard wheel chairs, oxygen equipment, or medicated passengers whose medication impairs them. If you have had recent surgery or are still wearing a cast, you should not fly. If you have a medical condition that may be affected by a balloon flight, you should check with your doctor prior to booking. Lastly, drugged, drunken, or inebriated passengers will be not be permitted aboard a flight at any time.
Come see why everyone has so much fun...
The adventure of a lifetime awaits you. Enjoy drifting silently over the countryside, laughing at the folly of an unknown destination. The world is an almost perfect place when viewed from the basket of a hot air balloon.
Call to schedule your balloon ride or to get a balloon ride gift certificate today!
P.O. Box 837, Bel Air, Maryland 21014
One of our larger than a house, 240 thousand cubic foot, balloons. Photo: B. Pierce
You may also read about us in the news and see what others have written here.
This page last revised January 2015