Balloon Flights in the Disney World area of Orlando Florida.  Rides Flown Daily at sunrise in Central Florida. Over35 Years Experience!

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Using a fan to fill the balloon with air!


Heating the air in the balloon to get the balloon to stand up for flight.


As the air is heated the balloon begins to stand up!


Ready to go!

Yes at one time Capt Thompson had the entire cast of the Television show Coach in his basket!



Pictured Below are Capt. Jeff Thompson's Mother and Father (Jim and Connie) as well as Nephew Tyler and Niece Hailey.


So you think your ready to go?


About the Aircraft.


So,  How do we get one in the air?

First thing we will need is a place to launch our balloon.  We are going to need a large field to lay out the balloon.  Field??  Wait... What field where??? 


Where we begin, determines greatly where we will land.   Balloons only go with the wind so it would be a good idea to start upwind of someplace to land because we will have to land sometime!  We will explain more about this when you come and fly with us.  But for now lets just say we have a launch field.


Now we must assemble the aircraft.  We have to connect the envelope to the bottom end. 

Now that we have the envelope hooked to the bottom end it is time to inflate the balloon.  No we just cant turn on the burners and go.  We would melt large holes in our balloon and then we would be leaking hot air all over the sky and that would not be pretty.  We need a really big fan.  We use the fan to fill the balloon with air.  Once the envelope is filled with air we can use the burners to heat the air.  This will make the balloon stand up.


Once the balloon is upright we have a few final flight checks and we are on our way.


Commercial passenger carrying balloons are more commonly referred to as Ride Balloons. The Thompson Aire ride balloons are equipped with Twin Burners.  These burners are amazingly powerful and efficient.  Each burner is rated at 15,000,000 BTU.  Yes that is fifteen MILLION.  One burner has the same power as 120 home furnaces going full blast.  No you wont be cold in a HOT air balloon...  Each burner has its own fuel supply and a pilot can fly the balloon with either  or both burners quite easily.  This is just one of the redundant safety features of a modern hot air balloon.



Lets talk about the instruments onboard.  The FAA requires each balloon to have three basic instruments onboard each flight. 


  • One, is a VSI  Or a Variometer.  VSI stands for Vertical Speed Indicator.  This tells the pilot if he is going up or down and how fast.  This instrument comes in quite handy.

  • Two, is an altimeter.  This is provided by the manufacture of the balloon and can also be set to indicate barometric pressure.

  • Three, is a temperature gauge.  This indicates the internal temperature of the top of the balloon.  Remember you can only heat the air so much before you begin to damage the fabric.


So you think you're ready to fly???


Not YET!!!  There are other items the pilots may need and carry onboard.

  • A Radio to talk to the ground crew.

  • A GPS to track flight path and speed

  • Igniters to re-light the burners

  • Drop line

  • Maps

  • Gloves

  • Wrenches

  • Spare Batteries

Ok  Now we are ready for liftoff. But how do you fly these things after all?


*Note, As a passenger you don't want to forget your camera and extra film!



On to the next page




Confused with all the info?   A great place to start is FAQ or the SITE MAP page

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Jeff Thompson has been awarded a Directors Award from the Balloon Federation of America for his work with the BFA Hall of Fame committee.  Inside the website Jeff created a storage and work area for all the files used in choosing Hall-of-Famers.  Please help support the site become a member.

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Hot Air Ballooning

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