The Voice of Cactus Shadows High School

The CS Press

Up in the Air

Hot air balloon companies across the valley offer unique experiences and scenic desert views for anyone willing to fly over 2,000 feet in the sky

Zoie Lambesis, staff writer

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Whether the sun is rising or setting, this time of the year, a hot air balloon can always be spotted in the distance. From now until May, rides are being offered by multiple companies across the valley.

“I was very anxious about  going into a hot air balloon, but once we got in the basket, the experience of getting out there in the sky and looking down at the beautiful scenery is amazing,” said Teresa Hall, a physics teacher.

Hot air balloons are able to work because the air in the balloon is heated up by a burner made out of propane cylinders, making it ‘hot air.’ Because heat rises, this allows the balloon to fly in the sky over 2,000 feet up.

“If you want to go higher, they put more heat in the balloon, and if you want to go lower, they don’t use heat for awhile,” said Kayla McQueen, a senior, who has rode in a hot air balloon.

Rainbow Ryders is one company that offers hot air balloon rides. One adult ticket for a sunrise ride is $135, and a sunset ride is $209. They also have a private balloon ride option which is $375 per person.

Another company that does hot air balloon rides is APEX balloons. Prices range from $195 for a morning ride, to $225 dollars for an afternoon ride.

The entire experience last three to four hours. Either at the beginning or end of the ride, depending on the company, snacks and mimosas for the adults will be included.

“You never realize how high up they go and it’s fun because they take you through the mountains so you get to experience a lot of different views,” said McQueen.

How long the balloon can fly depends on the weather, but is typically an hour. Weather determines  whether  the balloon can take off or not. They cancel rides if it is raining, windy, and sometimes even when it is cloudy. If the weather is bad on the day the ride is scheduled, it will be rescheduled in hopes of better weather.

Phoenix is not the only area that offers hot air balloon rides. Sedona has their very own Red Rock Balloon Adventure company. A ride over the red rocks will cost $225 per person during sunrise only.

“In the afternoon, the winds come up in Sedona so it is harder to control the balloon,” said Hall.

Make sure to dress for the experience. The balloon is powered by fire that allows to balloon to rise which blows down on the passengers during the whole ride. Therefore, the temperature in the basket can get hot.

“I would totally recommend it for the memories, but dress appropriately because it gets hot,” said Sophie Evans, a junior who rode in a balloon earlier this year.

Also, when it is time to land the balloon they will try and land it in an open area. Sometimes, they will hit bushes and run into other plants when trying to land, which can make the landing rough.

“The nerve-wracking part for me was landing, because how the hot air balloon lands is that it’s on the side so you pretty much have your back on the ground,” said McQueen.

The baskets are quite large, meaning that they can hold up to sixteen people in them comfortably. Since most people have never been in a hot air balloon, tickets to this experience can be used as a gift.

“I went because it was a Valentine’s Day gift, and my husband surprised me with a hot air balloon ride,” said Hall.

Take a ride in a hot air balloon before it gets to be too hot. Hot air balloon season typically last October through May.

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Up in the Air