Balloon Ride Weather Determination
This page is under construction!
We are assembling this weather determination page to help those clients interested in knowing more about how Air Display determines if we will be meeting for your scheduled balloon ride.
The decision to "meet" is not the same as the decision to "fly".
The decision to meet is made if Air Display determines the weather forecast looks promising (i.e. there is a reasonable expectation we'll be flying). This determination is made by the review and comparision of up to ten different weather sources including civilian sources and the official, Canadian aviation weather forecasting service provided by NavCan. Please note, official weather services provided by other countries (e.g. USA) are catagorized as civilian in Canada.
The decision to fly is made on the launch field after Air Display's pilot has confidence the actual weather conditions are as forecasted.
There is always the possibility of a "field" cancellation meaning, Air Display assembles its ride clients and crew, chooses and travels to the launch field and then waits for appropriate conditions. If this wait goes too far beyond sunrise or too close to sunset, Air Display's pilot will cancel the flight. Air Display tries real hard to avoid the inconvenience to its ride clients and crew but field cancellations can and do happen. Please accept our apology in advance but Early morning fog and late day surface wind speed failing to decrease are the usual culprits.
Also stable weather conditions (specifically wind) will not change or if it does change, it changes for the better during our flying period, most importantly for the landing.
"Launching a hot air balloon is optional. Landing is manditory!"
Air Display bases its decision to meet, hoping the weather people (meteorologists) are correct (i.e. not hoping a poor forecast is wrong). Unless there is a reasonable expectation of flight, Air Display will cancel the scheduled balloon ride before we assemble on the field.
Air Display is a liason between yourself and the meteorologist. Air Display does not control the weather (although we wish we could!). We have flown balloons for a long, long time and although riding the winds under an eight story tall, floating apartment building may seem thrilling, Air Display does not treat its ballooning as a thrill ride.
"We want you to want to go ballooning again. We want you to refer us to your friends."
Air Display strives for an accurate analysis of the forecasted weather for each and every flight. We make every attempt to minimize cancellations on the field. Air Display understands we are carrying first timer flyers who may be apprehensive so we are conservative in our decision making and not driven by the almighty dollar.
We do not use your balloon ride as a test of our piloting skills. In fact, the more relaxed a flight is, is the measure of our success. Sometimes
this goal can be frustrating but be patient. Weather is weather.
"Passenger ride balloon flying is very different from "sport" balloon flying which is very different from competition balloon flying."
Weathering Reporting Centres
In the old days, having a human meterologist talked you through what they saw on their montioring instruments and shared their experienced "gut" feel of what those instruments were saying and what the sky was telling them. Yes, they actually looked out the window!
After a while these "old time" weatherpersons (both genders have moments!) got to know you as a balloon pilot and knew exactly the information you were after. These weather briefers dealt with many types of aircraft and many types of pilot personalities. They were familiar with the wants and needs of each aviation discipline. Unfortunately that luxury is pretty much gone. Now what you get from the NavCan FIC (Flight Information Centre) is usually a read back of a computer screen without the second sight, experience provides. This is why Air Display uses many information sources (both government and civilian, local and foreign) to get an overall expert consensus of what the data is saying. When all the sources agree, you can be assured the forecast is reasonably accurate.
"The superior balloon pilot uses their experience, knowledge and skill to avoid situations that require their experience, knowledge and skill to get out of."
To Be Continued.........