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Nepal - Adventure Tours

Ballooning

Experience the world's Oldest but safest
Method of air travel to view the majestic Himalayas……

HISTORY OF BALLOONING

"Procure me some taffeta and rope and I will astonish the world". This statement was reportedly made by Joseph Montogolfier, a French papermaker, (and his brother Etienne), moore than 200 years ago. It was not as pompous as it might seem. Watching smooke rise up the chimmney, Joseph deduced that a paper bag filled with hot air would rise hevenwards, too. The brothers knew nothing of the relationship between pressure density, temperature and the buoyancy of gases and it was ten years before their experiments convinced them to attempt a public demonstration.

On June 5, 1783, they did indeed astonish the world with a linen balloon some 11 meters in diameter, infalted over a fire of damp straw, old shoes and brandy-soaked rags. The Paris Royal Academy of Science was impressed and on September 19 that year, the Montgolfiers inflated a balloon at Versailles before King Louise XVI and Maries Antoinette. The passengers were a sheep, a rooster and a duck and the flight lasted eight minutes. Indecorously, the sheep trampled the duck on landing, but the queen was so moved she installed the world's first surviving aerial passengers in her private zoo.

The historic first manned free flight followed on November 21 when Jean Francois Pitatre De Rozier and a nobleman, the Marquis D'Arlands, flew for 25 minutes at an average height of 300 ft. Their balloon was not the simple functional design preferred today. It was elaborately decorated with sighs of zodiac worked in gold bearing an embellished monogram of the King of France. The lower part was garnished with masks, garlands and spread-eagles and the circular basket festooned with draperies and other ornaments. No wonder Marie Antoinett dubbed ballooning the "Sport of the Gods", thoughskeptics dismissed the bizarre activity as a useless eccentricity of the aristocratic classes. Others, however, saw great potential. The American Benjamin Franklin was present at the first launch and, when asked what useful purpose the balloon might serve, replied: "Of what use is a newborn baby?". Fortunately, many shared his view.

ABOUT BALLOONING IN NEPAL

On Balloon Sunrise Nepal's one hour hot air balloon flight, this spectacular view become unforgettable. Rise gently over the red-tile roofed houses, temples and stupas and drift weightlessly over green terraced fields in the crip morning air. Within minutes of the ascent, the majestic Himalayan panorama will greet you, from the rugged Langtang Himal all the way to Mt. Everest.

Let moments freeze as you beyond the pristine valley and drift along on board the world's oldest but safest method of air travel. One hour on the balloon will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Flying 3000 m. above the Kathmandu valley safely perched on a wicker basket, opens up vast of enchanting sights accessible only to the initiated. Breathe easily in the fresh, crisp air of the quintessential Kathmandu dawn as you absorb the 360 view of awe-inspiring landscape - lush green hills, terraced fields enriched by nature's colours, terra-cotta structures huddled together like watchful sentinels, a gilded temple spire, lonely stupa. Each one bathed by the first golden rays of the rising sun.

Look right on and there before you rises in majestic splendor the fabled. Himalayan peaks. Illumined by stray strands of sunlight the snow capped Gosainthan, Phurbi-Gyanchu, Guari-Shanker, Chhoba-Bhamare, Melungste, Cho-Oyu, Chomolungma and Gyanchungkang all stand to greet you and lull you in to a dreamlike state, that will live on as memories forever.

Where but in this Himalayan kingdom of Nepal will you experience such breathtaking sights at minimal costs and maximum safety. Ride the winds with Balloon Sunrise Nepal and experience the most mesmerizing sky ride over Kathmandu-the moment that makes dreams a reality.

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SCHEDULES

Daily flight, weather permitting, from the first week of October through to the end of April.

RATE

US$ 195.00 per person (inclusive of Hotel Transfers and Souvenir pack, Flight Certificate)

PASSENGER INFORMATION:

AGE : There is no age barrier to enjoying our flights. However, a detree of fitness is required as we may have to walk through paddocks after landing. There are no seats in the basket - therefore, standing for the duration of the flight ( about on hour) is unavoidable.

We do not recommend bringing very small children. The reason are twofold-the first being the comfort and enjoyment oof the other passengers. The baskets are quite small and young children often get restless when in confined areas. The second reason is more practical. The walls of the baskets are four feet high, small children would have difficulty in seeing over, unless carried by an adult ( an arduous task for a one hour fight). We do stipulate that children under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult.

WHEN : We take off soon after sunrise. Winds are usually at their calmest then. Winter months provide the most reliable conditions. We fly in the summer, but very early in the morning.

DURATION : Normally we fly for about an hour, but this is at the pilot's discretion, taking into account the winds, temperature and weight carried on the day.

WHAT TO WEAR : Dress as for hiking, including sturdy shoes or boots plus sun glasses, gloves and a cap. It does not get any colder in the balloon than on the ground.

PHOTOGRAPHY : Our advice is to bring more film than you think you'll need. There is so much to see, from an entirely new perspective - you'll want to record it all to relive later.

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WHAT TO EXPECT ON A PASSENGER FLIGHT ?

Everyone meets at a predetermined spot, usually half an hour before daybreak. After a cup of tea and a short flight briefing the adventure begins. At this time the wind direction is determined and a launch site is chosen. Launch sites are dotted around the valley, so that no matter where the winds is coming from, the passengers are guaranteed a lovely flight. The actual launch of the hot air balloon usually takes place no more than half an hour after arrival at the launch site. The balloon and the basket are carried in a truck. The basket is laid on its side and the gaily colored fabric is pulled out of its bag. Flying wires from the "Envelope" are attached, and the whole system is given a "walk around" inspection by pilot and Passengers may assist with the inflation, or stand back and take photographs, whichever they desire to do.

Initially, a large fan is used to direct cold air into the envelope - later the burner is fired, thus heating the air already in the balloon. As the warm air expands, the envelope rises into position above the basket, ready for flight..............a sleeping beauty brought to life. As the balloon can only move in the same direction as the wind is blowing and cannot return to the launch site, it is necessary for the ground crew to follow in a retrieve vehicle. Communication beween the pilot and ground is maintained via two - way radio. Flights are usually 45 minutes to 1 hour in duration. At the final landing point, the retrieve erew assist in packing up the envelope and basket. A flight certificate and souvenir pack are distributed to all passengers, rounding off a fabulous adventure. From the start ti finish the ballon adventure takes about 5 hours, yet the experience will leave you with warm memories which will last a lifetime.

HOT - AIR BALLOONING IN KATHMANDU- THE FACTS

  • HOW BIG ARE THE BALLOONS ? The diameter of most envelopes is 45 ft. to 55ft.; heights from 40 ft. to 90 ft. volumes from 19,000 to 260.000 cubic feet.
  • WHAT IS IT MADE OF ? Rip-stop nylon, just like parachutes, or the spinnaker on a sailboat. The material is treated with polyurethane to stop porosity and contain the hot air. The basket is traditioal wicker, like the laundry baskets of days gone by.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST ? A basic balloon starts around $ 28,000 but can get more expensive depending on art-wort or special shapes.
  • HOW LONG CAN IT STAY IN THE AIR ? Normally about 2 to 4 hours.
    depending upon the ambient (outside) air temperature, and the weight that is carried. Oon a cold day with only one person flying, a 4 hours flight would not be uncommon.
  • HOW HIGH CAN IT GO ? Most balloon flights are around 1,000ft. Record-holders have reached beights of 50,000 feet and up.
  • HOW FAST CAN IT GO ? As fast as the wind blows. For student pilots it is safer flying in winds up too 8 knots; 15 knot winds are the limit. High wind landings require skill and experience.
  • HOW DO YOU HEAT THE AIR ? L P GAS, the same as most people use in their homes. The hot air causes the balloon to rise, then as it cools, it will descend.
  • HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE IFLATE A BALLOON ? A minimum of three, ubt preferable five, particulary if the - wind of over 8 knots.
  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INFLATE, DEFLATE AND PACK ? Each operation takes approximately 25 minutes, if all goes well.
  • WHICH INSTRUMENTS DOES A BALLOON USE ? An altimeter to indicate altitude, a variometer showing whether the balloon is climbing or descending, a compass to show direction a themister which records the temperature in the crown, or top, of the balloon and a Global Position System for navigation. each propane tank has a fuel gauge.
  • DO BALLOONISTS CARRY PARACHUTES ? Not, ususally. If the burner goes out and for some reason cannot be reignited, the balloon acts a parachute and descends at parachute speed.
  • WHEN DO YOU FLY ? Usually soon after sunrise or just before dusk. Winds are generally calm then. Winter months provide safe and pleasant condition for ballooning. Summer heat brings thermal activity which can be extremely dangerous.
  • HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN FIT IN A BASKET ? It depends on the size of the balloon, but usually it varies from 2 in sport balloons, up to 12 people in passenger balloons.
  • CAN YOU STEER A BALLOON ? Generally speaking, no you do not. It goes where the wind goes. It is possible to choose an altitude where the wind direction is the one which is needed.
  • HOW DO YOU RETURN TO THE LAUNCH SITE ? The balloon crew track the flight and are usually there when the balloon lands. After packing all away on the trailer or in the retrieve vehicle, everyone heads for refreshments

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