Hot Air Balloons

For the tenth anniversary of Community Day, the University brought in a hot air balloon.

By Rachel Cisto | 04/30/12 | Posted in News

Connecticut Ballooning LLC, a ballooning company out of Berlin, came in for Community Day with their balloons in tow. Unfortunately, it was too windy to release the balloons.

Jim Regan, a licensed hot air balloon pilot, said, "Imagine a helium balloon blowing around in the wind. The same thing would happen with the big balloon, and it would be a hazard to the passengers and myself."

This is important because pilots don't have much control of the balloon's flight path, only the altitude, which is controlled by propane tanks inside the basket, not unlike the tanks attached to your gas grill at home. The gas from the tank is heated and pumped into the balloon, and as the pressure increases, the balloon lifts off.

Regan explained the makeup of the balloon. "Traditional wicker basket, it's lightweight, it's flexible, and that helps with the landings. And the main burner puts out 18 million BTUs of heat, and it runs off of normal propane, just like your gas grill at home. These are the tanks, they hold about 20 gallons each. And your grill, those tanks hold maybe 4 or 5 gallons."

This is not Regan's first appearance at community day, but last year's launch didn't exactly go as planned either.

"Unfortunately, both times have been too windy, but hopefully our track record will change soon."

For those who still want to fly, CT Ballooning schedules flights every day at sunrise, year permitting. There really is no set flight path – it all depends on the winds. And no two flights are the same.

Flights are $275 per person, and to book a flight, visit . To learn more about how hot air balloons work, visit .

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