Hot air balloons are really magnificent man-made floating aircraft that amazes every one of us and we can’t keep envying people who ride these. But did you know that these need to be registered and licensed under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to make them meet safety standards and be able to carry people with utmost safety?
And aside from the licensing, you also need a license to fly one and must undergo certain amount of training hours to fly it. With these going on, we may now realize that owning a hot air balloon is no joke because it is considered an aircraft and not just some sort of a flying toy.
So if owning a hot balloon is a serious endeavor, how much would it cost?
Well, that depends on its size, number of passengers it can carry and the accessories it brings with it. To give you the most basic ideas, we now give you simple concepts that’s all about the hot air balloons’ size and costs.
Costing Based on Size and Capacity
Let’s say if you will be looking for a balloon with an envelope size of 77,000 cubic feet which is the standard size capable of carrying 3 to 4 passengers, this could run up from US$30,000 to $40,000. Its accessories would include a 3 to 4 persons capacity seat basket (gondola), 77 thousand cubic feet envelope, dual burners and 3 propane tanks. But added to that, you’ll also need to buy an inflation fan, trailer to bring it where you fly and fetch it, radios to connect to people on land and long ropes for use in landing and keeping the balloon secured. Already given is your vehicle that will tow the trailer.
Going back to the smaller type, a single-seater balloon as of late with 21,000 cubic feet volume could cost from $18,000 to $24,000 and this could already has its significant accessories loaded. A 2- 4 passenger basket also already pre-installed with accessories could cost from $24,000 to $30,000. For largest passenger balloons that are mostly used by commercial companies and can carry 20 to 24 people, these can run up to $200,000 especially if everything with it is new. The price you’ll pay may be reduced, however, if sponsors would pay you for the ads they would put on your balloon.
So basically, the price of the balloon depends on its accessories and size. If you will be assembling your own balloon and customize it with high-end accessories because you want to make it stand above the rest, then you may prepare for a larger budget. Some hot air ballooners prefer to use envelopes with advanced fabric technology or install lightweight basket capable of carrying more people or put on chairs made of stainless steel and these are all absolutely expensive.
Other Things That Can Affect the Cost
The cost of a hot air balloon also depends on the country where it is manufactured so a price tag for single passenger balloon in the US may be cheaper a few hundred bucks in the UK. But let’s discuss only the standard price in the US market.
Now, you may have watched hot air balloon festivals and seen these amazing balloons with different shapes like cartoon characters, mythical animals, insects or anything that have very interesting shapes. These are actually much expensive than the basic 3 to 4 passenger balloons and can cost from $120,000 to $400,000 depending on the complexities of its design. The more complex the shape, the more costly it gets.
Furthermore, hot air balloons are not actually designed to last. So just like cars, the older they get, the lesser their values can become. Once a hot balloon reaches 500 hours of flight, its parts tend to weaken particularly the envelope. This is why their flights are logged on so that owners would know when to change envelop.
In most cases, 400 hours of flight is enough for an envelope to be changed depending on its maintenance. However, if a safety personnel requires you to change an accessory or an envelope, you have no option but to oblige. Otherwise, you get no permit and no flight for you. This is why a lot of owners sell their hot air balloons after long hours of use because accessories are literally expensive.
So how much a second hand balloon could cost then? Well, that also depends on the hours it was flown. Some owners sell their 3-seater passenger balloons for about $10,000 or more once it reaches less than 300 hours of flight. But still, this must carry a safety certificate to ensure that the new owner can use it without the risks.
Now that we’re done discussing the costs of buying a hot air balloon, don’t forget also that you have to spend around $500 to $1,200 for a comprehensive insurance for your balloon because like we’ve said, this is an aircraft. And once you fly it, you must also hire ground chase crews to assist you from inflating it up to when landing it to the ground.