FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

At Cheers Over California, our belief is that the only "worthless" question is the one that doesn't get asked. If you have a question or concern, please feel free to as our pilots.

Is a balloon considered an aircraft?

  • Yes. All of our hot air balloons are registered with the FAA and carry the same type of registration number (tail number) as an airplane or helicopter.

  • Our thermal airships are registered with the UK CAA and carry a British aircraft registration number.

How is our pilot qualified?

  • All of our hot air balloon pilots are FAA licensed commercial pilots rated for hot air balloons. Additionally, our pilots must have a minimum ten years experience in hot air balloons and are individually named and registered with our insurance company.

  • Our thermal airship pilots have the same qualifications as our balloon pilots, they are FAA licensed commercial pilots rated for and having a minimum ten years experience in balloons; PLUS, they also carry a UK (British) CAA private or commercial hot air balloon pilot certificate and a UK thermal airship rating.

What material is the balloon made of?

Our Hot Air Balloons are manufactured with rip-stop nylon which is similar to the material used for parachutes. One difference is that our rip-stop is coated inside to contain the hot air. The top 1/3 of our balloons is manufactured with a special high strenth Hyperlife fabric.

Our thermal airships are made of Hyperlast nylon fabric.

What is the basket made of?

  • Hot air balloon baskets or gondolas are made from wicker with a weave similar to your household wicker furniture. Ours are reinforced with metal tubes and aircraft grade stainless steel cables with either a plywood or woven wicker floor. The wicker weave is what gives a balloon basket it's strength and flexibility at landing.

  • Our thermal airship gondolas are constructed of aircraft grade stainless steel tubing.

How is the aircraft maintained?

All of our aircraft are maintained by FAA and/or UK CAA certified balloon and airship maintenance personnel and are required to receive an annual or 100 hour inspection, whichever comes first. With our thermal airships, a certified inspector is flown in from the UK annually to inspect and recertify the aircraft.

What kind of fuel does a hot air balloon use?

Balloon and thermal airship burners use propane for fuel, just like your gas BBQ grill. The difference is that a balloon/airship burner uses the liquid propane rather than the gas vapors.

Where do we go on our "balloon tour"?

We don't actually do a tour. A Hot Air Balloon is literally a "bubble in the wind." We go where the wind takes us. The pilot has control over altitude and will fly up or down seeking winds that will take us where we want to go.

Where does the Hot Air Balloon land?

  • With a hot air balloon the pilot never really knows exactly where he or she will land until they are close to being there. This is really a part of the excitement and adventure of ballooning!

  • Thermal airships are powered aircraft and can maneuver, so they can fly point to point or in most cases return to their takeoff point.

If you don't know where the balloon will land, how do we get back?

For hot air balloon or "point to point" thermal airship flights our support crew will follow our flight in our chase vehicle and meet us where we land. We will then pack up the balloon and return to the launch site in the chase vehicle.

  • There is no age requirement on hot air balloon rides, however; all riders, regardless of age, must be able to manage themselves during the flight.

  • Children must be able to stand on their own and it is preferred they be at least 48 inches tall so that they can look over the side of the basket.

  • Parents are not allowed to lift and hold children during the flight.

  • Hot Air Balloon burners are loud and can frighten younger children. Please make them aware so they know what to expect.

What should we wear?

Wear natural fabrics like cotton. Nylon warm up suits are susceptible to heat damage and can be hazardous around fire. Dress like you'll be working in the yard or walking around in a field. Good shoes such as hiking boots or tennis shoes are a must. No sandals please. Most of our flights are done in the morning at sunrise. It can be very cool when we arrive but once the sun comes up, the air warms quickly. Dress in layers so you can peel off jackets, etc. and stay comfortable.

Can we take pictures?

ABSOLUTELY!! We actually encourage you to bring your camera and take as many pictures as you like to help you remember the details of your flight. Also, please feel free to share your pictures with friends and family.

How long is our flight?

Most flights last about an hour. This may vary slightly due to availability of landing sites or unexpected changes in the weather.