Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve prepared a list of our most frequently asked hot air balloon questions. Simply click on the question to reveal the answer. Please contact us if your question is not contained herein.

How much does a balloon flight cost?
Floating Images’ prices can be found at our website, under Prices. Children are welcome and must be accompanied by a paying and consenting adult. The child must be able to see over the edge of the basket (1.2m high) unaided by any person or objects for safety reasons. Infants are not permitted due to the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) regulations and guidelines. Adult prices will apply from age 13 upwards.
How far in advance do I need to book?
If you have a large group or would like to fly on a weekend you may need to book two weeks in advance. If you have a predetermined date it makes good sense to book early to avoid disappointment.
Are discounts available for groups?
Yes, we offer group discounts. Please refer to our website, under Prices for discount details. For groups greater than 10 people, please contact our office on (07) 3294 8770 or go to the Contact Us form for more information.
Are there any accommodation packages?
Yes, we offer accommodation packages. These are listed on our website, under “Specials & Accommodation Packages” (including prices).
Can I purchase an open dated gift certificate and how long is it valid for?
Yes, we have open dated gift certificates. They are valid for twelve months, and are transferable, but not refundable. For more information, please refer to our website under Prices >Gift Vouchers. You can purchase a gift voucher here.
Can extra people join me for breakfast?
Yes, you can book this through Floating Images. The cost is $25 per adult and $15 per child. Our usual restaurant breakfast includes a served hot cooked breakfast, continental breakfast buffet, champagne and the flight certificate presentation. If the flight is cancelled, due to unsuitable weather conditions, the breakfast will not take place.
Why do a balloon flight over Ipswich, the Scenic Rim & Somerset region?
Ipswich the Scenic Rim & Somerset region’s geography and climate are ideal for ballooning – as well as they provide a fantastic situation where passengers can enjoy superb and glorious views of this diverse region . This diverse and beautiful region is set against the spectacular natural backdrop of the Great Dividing Range.
What will we see?
Whilst floating majestically and effortlessly, your balloon flight combines the city and country in one flight. Your balloon flight is tranquil yet exhilarating. As the world slowly awakens, you float peacefully overhead, witnessing the serenity in slow motion from the balloon basket.Literally an amazing birds-eye view of the landscape you will be flying over. Breathtaking views of the Greater Brisbane region encompassing the city of Ipswich and its classic Queenslanders, heritage buildings and homes, Flinders Peak, Mt. Walker, the Great Dividing and McPherson Ranges, Mt. Tamborine, Moreton Bay, the skyline of Brisbane, Mount Coot-tha, D’Aguilar Range, Wivenhoe Dam, the Brisbane, Fassifern and Lockyer Valleys and the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers.

And don’t forget that each flight is unique in that a balloon cannot be steered. It is always the wind which decides how the true beauty of nature will be revealed to you.

What time do we meet?
We always meet around 40 minutes before sunrise. Our booking office will tell you the precise meeting time when you confirm your booking date and flight confirmation details and requirements are provided.
How do I know whether my flight is going ahead?
Hot air ballooning is weather dependent and all passengers are asked to check in with the pilot the night before the flight between 7.00 – 7.30 pm for a weather report.
What do I do if my flight is cancelled?
If we cancel the flight, you can either reschedule for another day or have a full refund. If you cancel the flight at short notice, a fee may apply. Cancellation conditions will be posted out to you upon booking and can be found on our website under Terms and Conditions.
How long does it all take?
You can expect to be with us for around 3 – 4 hours. The complete balloon program, including the passenger meet and greet, the inflation, flight, landing; deflation, retrieve, transportation and restaurant breakfast.
How long is the flight time?
Flight time is approximately one hour.
What should I wear and bring?
We recommend comfortable layers of outdoor clothing to match the season, sunglasses, a hat or cap and sturdy shoes for the morning dew or long grass. NB. No open foot wear or high heels are permitted. White clothing is not recommended. Please don’t forget to bring a camera / video to capture this wonderful experience. Bring plenty of film and charged batteries. (These items are your responsibility at all times)
What happens on the morning?
We meet at the confirmed time and you are taken in our vehicles to the launch site, which is determined according to the weather patterns on the day. You are then welcome to help us with the inflation of the balloon, which takes about 20 minutes. During the flight our ground crew follows the balloon and meets you at the landing site. After the balloon is packed back in to the bag, you will be taken to your breakfast location for a hearty breakfast.
Where do we take off?
The pilot chooses the take off site according to the direction and speed of the wind of the morning, safety is our priority. As a general rule, the closest take off site is 3 mins from our meeting point & the furthest is a 15- 20 minutes drive from the meeting point.
How many passengers are there in the basket?
Depending on the balloon and passenger numbers on the day, we have baskets for 4 to 6, or 10 passengers.
Can we sit in the basket during the flight?
No, all passengers are required to stand for the duration of the flight. As the flight is for approximately 1 hour, passengers must be able to stand unaided for the duration of the flight. i.e.: no additional aids such as seats, walkers, sticks or crutches are permitted in the basket. If in doubt, an able bodied person (friend or relative) must accompany the “slightly infirm” passenger.
Why do we have to get up so early in the morning?
Although we need some wind to fly the balloon, we can’t fly if there is too much wind. Balloons need cool, stable, calm winds to operate most effectively. We fly early morning because the winds are at their calmest. As the sun rises, the morning air is calm and tranquil. Also, a lower ambient temperature means that it is easier to get the balloon off the ground and keep it in the air and we don’t need to heat it to such a high temperature. This in turn means we don’t use so much gas and can fly longer. This provides perfect conditions for ballooning and also no passenger should miss the spectacular South East Queensland sunrise. Our flights are always controlled, with our pilot having an impeccable safety record.
Why is there only one flight per day?
The first 2 -3 hours of the morning after sunrise is generally when the atmosphere conditions are the most stable for ballooning. Hot air balloons float with the wind speed and direction. The pilot can only control the altitude of the balloon by heating the inside of the balloon envelope with the burners. Balloons do not fly in thermal conditions such as gliders or hang gliders. The only way to get all these conditions is to take off just after sunrise. Happily dawn is the most beautiful moment of the day!
How long does it take to set up a balloon?
It usually takes the pilot and crew about 20 – 30 minutes to get a standard tear shaped balloon ready for flight, passengers’ participation and assistance is always welcomed. This includes unloading the basket and envelope from the trailer, rigging and checking the system and the cold and hot inflations. Larger and special shaped balloons can take up to an hour to ready for flight.
How cold is it up there?
It is no colder flying in a balloon, than it is on the ground. In fact, it is usually warmer because you are standing under a very powerful burner, which radiates its heat. Also, as the balloon flies with the wind, you don’t feel any wind because you are moving at the same speed as the wind. You must be very high before the air becomes really cold.
Which season represents the best weather for flying?
Generally flights are operated all year round thanks to the beautiful South East Queensland weather.
Why are flights sometimes cancelled in good weather conditions?
This is due to the strength of the wind – which isn’t at the same strength on the ground as higher up. We are legally obliged to cancel flights when the wind is more than 20 km / hr on the ground for safety reasons.
How high do we fly?
How high we fly depends on the wind patterns on the day. Essentially, the flights depend upon the climatic conditions at the given time as well as the disposition of the passengers . At different heights there are different wind layers in which the wind has different speeds and directions. On an average flight we go from treetop level up to between one and three thousand feet. The advantage of flying a balloon as opposed to other types of aircraft is simply its diverse ability to literally skim over rivers, brush over the treetops and attain a height of more than 1000 feet whilst providing panoramic landscape views!
But I don’t like heights!
Flying in a high-sided balloon basket is not like standing on the balcony of a high rise. You don’t get that vertigo feeling, it is more as if the landscape is unfolding beneath you. And because you are moving with the wind, there is no wind blowing. The basket does not rock or sway.
Will I be airsick?
No, because there is no physical link between the balloon and the ground (like a ladder or a bridge) there is no feeling of dizziness or vertigo. During the flight the basket remains stable and there is a feeling of incredible ease whilst taking-off.
Passenger Limitations – Can I fly if I have / am …?
  • If you have a medical condition that you feel may cause some concern (such as a heart condition) and you’re planning to fly, it is better to check with your doctor for an opinion on whether you should go.When booking, please advise the booking office if any clients do have any medical issues.
  • Disabled passengers are able to balloon, although limitations do apply due to the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) regulations. CASA requires that all passengers are able to embark and disembark a balloon basket unassisted for safety reasons. No wheelchair facilities are available. Disabled persons participating in the balloon flight do so at their own risk.
  • As the flight is for approximately 1 hour, passengers must be able to stand unaided for the duration of the flight. (i.e.: no additional aids such as seats, walkers, sticks or crutches are permitted in the basket). If in doubt, an able bodied person (friend or relative) must accompany the “slightly infirm” passenger.
  • Over 90 kilograms. Weight notification: We will require, for flight manifest purposes all passengers’ names and estimated weights (in kilograms). We recognise some passengers may be 50 kgs, and some may be 100 kgs. Please advise the booking office if any client is over 90 kilograms. As weight is an important factor in a hot air balloon; passengers weighing 115 kg or over attracts a 50% surcharge. Due to safety factors passengers over 130kg cannot participate in hot air ballooning.
  • Pregnant. Regrettably under the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) regulations and Floating Images’ policy we do not fly women at any stage of their pregnancy.
  • Diving. Those persons diving the day or night before travel should check with a qualified dive master regarding their ballooning journey. We do not fly above 4,500 feet altitude and most flights are around 2,500 feet altitude. Passengers diving the day or night before travel who participate in ballooning do so at their own risk

Facts about hot air balloons

What are balloons made of?
Most hot air balloons are made from a lightweight rip-stop nylon or polyester fabric much like parachute fabric. Balloon fabric is coated on the inside with polyurethane or silicone to help prevent the air leaking through. The material is very lightweight and strong. The first three panels of the balloon are made of Nomex, which is extremely fire-retardant.
Why are most balloons shaped like a teardrop?
The shape of a typical hot air balloon is derived from a set of mathematical equations, which reduce the stress on the fabric. The resulting shape, some times referred to as the natural shape minimises the horizontal stress on the fabric. Vertical stresses are carried by webbing tapes, which run from the top to the bottom of the balloon. Computer design software can now engineer balloons in almost any shape.
Why do you still use wicker for the baskets?
Wicker is light in weight, flexible and very strong – and besides they look great.
What fuel does a balloon use?
Hot air balloons use Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) for fuel, the same fuel you might use in your gas BBQ. This is usually a mixture of propane, butane and some other gases.
How long does a balloon last?
A hot air balloon will usually last for 500 – 600 flying hours depending on how regularly it is flown and how well it is maintained. Balloons deteriorate rapidly if they are packed up wet or if they aren’t aired regularly.Commercial pilots fly 150 – 200 hours per year so their balloons tend to last about 3 years A typical sport balloon pilot flies about 50 hours per year so a new balloon should last 8 – 10 years.

How is a balloon inflated?
We begin by laying the basket on its side, then laying out the balloon envelope (the fabric) and attaching it by cables to the basket. We then inflate the balloon with cold air using a portable petrol-powered fan. When the envelope is almost completely inflated with cold air, we start to heat the balloon with the burners to heat the air inside the balloon. This will make the balloon begin to rise to an up-right position. With further heating, there is sufficient lift for the balloon to fly.
How does a balloon fly?
Hot air balloons fly as hot air rises. Hot air rises because it is less dense than the cooler air around it and so it tends to ‘float’ on the cooler air. We use a burner to heat the air in the balloon until it is hotter than the air outside the balloon. Once this is affected the balloon will rise, carrying us with it. If we were to allow the balloon to cool it would begin do descend as it becomes the same temperature as the external air. If we were to let some of the hot air out of the balloon the same thing would happen because there would no longer be enough hot air in the balloon to lift us. Gas balloons work on a similar principle except that they use helium gas, which is less dense, and therefore lighter than air to achieve the same effect.
How do you steer the balloon?
The direction a balloon flies depends entirely on which way the wind is blowing, so balloons can’t be steered to the left or right in the typical sense. But since winds blow in different directions at different altitudes, the pilot can steer the balloon by ascending or descending and finding a wind that will take the balloon in a good direction; or a direction that is consistent with our predetermined flight path. The pilot changes the balloons altitude by using the burner to control the internal temperature of the envelope.
How fast does a balloon go?
Since the balloon has no forward propulsion system, its speed is determined entirely by the speed of the wind.
How much does the balloon cost?
The cost of a balloon varies depending on the size; of course the exact price can vary considerably depending on the options that you want. They average from between $70,000 to $120,000 per balloon size. A special shape balloon costs much more, usually $150,000+
How big is a balloon?
There are many different balloon sizes from small one-person balloons to very large ones that can carry twenty people or more. Floating Images currently have in our fleet an 11-passenger carrier and a 6-passenger carrier.
Do you need a license to fly a balloon?
Yes, our pilots have Australian Commercial Balloon licenses, we are just like any other aviation charter business and the same rules and regulations apply.
Who controls balloons and balloonists safety?
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority controls ballooning in Australia and the rules are very strict these days. All pilots are licensed by CASA and have to have regular medicals and check flights just like 747 captains. The balloons are inspected every 100 hours or 12 months just like any aircraft to ensure they are airworthy.
Where are the sandbags?
We do not need sand bags. If we want to go higher we just heat the air in the balloon. If we want to go down we let the balloon cool or let the hot air out. Gas balloons are filled with either helium or hydrogen use sandbags.