Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons


Hot Air Balloon Pilot Training

The Air Display Hot Air Balloon Team is available to provide hot air balloon Pilot training from the ground up.  Although we are not dealers of any particular balloon brand, we do support Canadian made whenever possible.  For this reason Fantasy Balloons of New Dundee, Ontario is our manufacturer of choice.


Air Display can provide assitance with the purchase of your first balloon, outfitting your ground support, flight insurance and act as a liason to the balloon festival circuit.  Let Ken Rolland's over 30 years of balloon flying experience prepare you for your own ballooning adventures.

First, you should schedule a balloon ride to see if this sport is for you.  Please check out the Air Display RESERVATION page to see how you do this.  There's also an opportunity to learn more about ballooning by volunteering as part of the Air Display Hot Air Balloon Team.


Second, you must be considering the purchase of your own aircraft.  Hot air balloons are not available to rent in Canada and you will need an entry level model to build hours.  Should you have commercial aspirations, most insurance companies will not provide commercial coverage for Pilots with less than 100 hours PIC (Pilot in Command).


The AX8, 90,000 cubic foot envelope (balloon part of the balloon) offers the most flexibility for the student, novice and experienced, noncommercial balloon Pilots.  This size of balloon is not too large to solo in and will enable you to carry a couple of friends when you fly.  The AX8-90 is the most popular size of sport balloon out there today.


Maintenance is an important part of the aircraft ownership equation because the balloon is a certified aircraft.  Maintenance will play a big part in your purchase decision because all certified aircraft have regulated inspection intervals and ongoing service requirements to maintain their certification.


You do not have to get all your training from one Instructor.  In fact, it may be better to have input from a variety of Pilot Instructors.  This will expose you to a variety of "best practises" for you to take away and apply what works for you.  There are different ways to do things correctly. 


Hot air ballooning is an inexact science.  The science fundementals of balloon flight and the mechanics of aircraft assembly (balloons are stowed after every flight) are the same for all brands (mostly).  However, making the decision to fly is a skill you will continue to learn as long as you fly.  Weather judgement comes from understanding the forces of nature,  awareness of your skill level and the limitations of your aircraft.


Ballooning is not a solo sport.  You will need ground crew (it takes three people plus Pilot to inflate a hot air balloon) so you will need to resourse accordingly.  Along the same line (sort of) is a unique feature to ballooning.  Balloons do not use airports so the balloonist relies on the use of private property.  Developing good landowner relations is crutial to the sport.  Being neighbourly and respectful are important for sure, but landing your aircraft in locations that does not frighten livestock or damage crop (landowner livelihood) is clearly a skill that needs to be honed.


There is a fair amount of ground support required.  Ground support consists of a pickup truck or small trailer to haul your aircraft around.  Other equipment you'll be needing is a cold inflator (gas powered prop), navigation and radio communications.

The Air Display Hot Air Balloon Team training syllabus includes ground school, practical flight training and written exam preparations.


Air Display maintains Authorized Person status with Transport Canada (TC) to provide you a SPP ((Student Pilot Permit) when you are ready to solo and then to issue you a temporary Pilot permit when you are ready.


To get a Canadian Balloon Pilot License you need:

  • to be 16 years of age,

  • a Category III aviation medical,

  • 16 hours of practical flight training (includes solo time) within 24 months before applying for your license,

  • 10 hours of ground school training (regulations, weather, navigation, aircraft airworthiness),

  • 2 written exams (PSTAR and PIBAL) completed within 12 months before applying for your license.

The licensing requirements may be viewed at Part IV, Personal Licensing and Training of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

Air Display gets alot of enquiries about the cost for balloon Pilot training.  If you provide the balloon, ground support and crew, we charge 175$ per hour (plus HST) for practical flight instruction.  We incorporate the required 10 hours of ground school within the detailed flight briefings the trainee receives for each flight.  Some minor administrative fees will also be incurred for license applications and log sign-off.  If travel is involved, then related travel expenses are in addition.


A new AX8-90 hot air balloon will be in the whereabouts of 35,000$.  You can check out various hot air balloon manufactures from our "LINKS (LTA Aviation)" page.


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