The Kent Ballooning Experience
Before your flight
A flight in a hot air balloon is one of the most exhilarating and memorable experiences you can have. Kent Ballooning have been flying over the beautiful Garden of England since 1990 and as a local, family run business we still believe that quality of service is of the utmost importance.
Flights are scheduled 7 days a week during our flying season which usually runs from April to October. We fly early in the morning just after sunrise, or in the evening a few hours before sunset. These are the times when the air is generally stable and winds are light, making ideal conditions for ballooning. Once you have booked your flight date, you should call our Confirmation Line to find out if the flight is going ahead. Here you will be told which launch site the Pilot has chosen and what time to meet. Whether floating over the majestic spires of Canterbury Cathedral, looking down at the magnificent Leeds Castle or seeing the beautiful Kent coast line from the skies, all of our launch sites have their own unique and charming features.
What’s it like flying in a balloon?
Firstly it is quiet; you can hear dogs bark from 2,000ft. The occasional roar of the burners usually goes unnoticed during the flight as you marvel at the sites below. On the clearest of days it is possible to see Essex to the north, the Kent coastline to the east, France to the south and London to the west. The colours of the countryside change depending on the time of year that you choose to fly. For instance, in May you often see vivid patches of yellow rapeseed in flower, whilst in August the crops turn golden brown ready for harvesting. During your flight, you can reach heights of up to 6,500ft to enjoy the full panoramic view, or you may even dip down low to brush the treetops. The wind direction and speed will determine the course and distance that you will fly. Usually you can expect to cover anywhere between 5 and 25 miles.
Obviously, what goes up must come down! Once the pilot has chosen a suitable landing site he will talk you through his actions for the touch down and get you into the correct landing position. If conditions are calm it is possible to have a stand-up landing; this is where the basket remains upright. If the wind is a little faster you will experience an active landing; this is where the basket will drag along the ground for a short distance before coming to a standstill. Don’t worry – it is an exciting experience and most people want to do it again!
During your flight
Upon arrival at the launch site, our crew will be there to greet you. Whilst the balloon and basket is being prepared on its side, feel free to look around, take photo’s and ask any questions! After a briefing by your Pilot the inflation will begin. Fans blow cold air inside the balloon and you will see it come to life and take its familiar shape. The burners are then used to add heat, bringing the balloon and basket into an upright position ready for passengers to climb aboard. A few more blasts of the burners are all that is needed before you gently leave the ground.
There are few words that adequately describe the exhilaration as you first lift off in a hot air balloon. The ground gently slips away as you rise up into the sky. The roads and towns start to shrink and the colours and shapes of the beautiful Garden of England take over your senses. Once airborne, you will see the countryside from a totally new perspective! Viewing the world from the calm and peace of a hot air balloon as it drifts across the sky really is an experience of a lifetime. As we say – ‘The world looks different from a balloon’.
After your flight
Once back on the ground, you can help the crew pack away the balloon or just stand back and relax! After a traditional champagne toast, you will receive a commemorative flight certificate signed by your Pilot and have the opportunity to purchase any souvenirs such as in-flight photography and commemorative gifts. Finally, we will return you back to the launch site in our ‘Spitfire’ minibus.
Whether you are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary or just taking the trip of a lifetime, we are sure you will enjoy your flight with Kent Ballooning and cherish the memories forever. We look forward to flying with you soon.