A Once-in-a-Lifetime Hot Air Balloon Ride on Lake Constance
Enjoy a View of Far Off Places with the ifolor Hot Air Balloon
A balloon trip is an unforgettable moment and a true novelty. Have you already booked tickets for your own? Fantastic! We can tell you precisely how hot air balloons operate and we’ll also give you tips for taking perfect photos en route.
It gets exciting again right at the end: naturally you want to descend as softly as you ascended. The balloon (800 kg!), steered by professional hand, ends the ride perfectly with a beautiful, soft landing. Beforehand, the pilot and his guests were up in the air for roughly two hours. The fresh air, open views as far as the eye can see, and the fascinating silence have dominated their impressions of the last few minutes. But what happened beforehand?
A hot air balloon is the perfect gift at any time of the year. Capture it in a photo book in order to keep the memories of your time aboard the balloon.
The propane comes next ready to fly in four canisters in the basket with us. Short blasts of the burner at about 1.600 °C heat the air inside the balloon to about 75 °C while the pilot oversees the thermometer. Again and again, these bursts of hot air come accompanied by a sharp hiss. This characteristic noise will later be the only thing disturbing the silence of the heavens.
In just a few minutes the balloon «stands» majestically in its starting position. Time to embark! A balloon doesn’t fly - it travels. Once all the passengers are on board, the air in the balloon will be raised to 95 °C. The balloon begins to slowly ascend to the heavens, at one meter per second.
An Incredible Panorama
At around 2.000 meters in the air you can see a spectacular view of the mountains, from Säntis to - given clear skies - Mont Blanc.
Beneath the balloon the region surrounding Lake Constance shows off her best side. On the Swiss side you can see the city of Kreuzlingen (the home of ifolor); beside it on the German side, Constance, the islands of Mainau and Reichenau; following the lake the centre of Lower Lake Constance, Steckborn and thereafter Stein am Rhein. If you look in the other direction, you’ll discover landmarks such as Friedrichshafen, Romanshorn, Rorschach, and at the other end of the lake the Vorarlberg city Bregenz with her very own local mountain, the Pfänder.
The Pilot of the ifolor Hot Air Balloon
The peace and quiet while gliding along is interrupted now and again by the hissing of the burner, accompanied by the relaxed murmuring of the passengers.
The pilot and owner of the ifolor hot-air balloon, a real legend of the winds, adds his own tips and comments on the marvels of the landscape and answers technological questions about the balloon. Hans-Jörg Keller is one of the most renowned balloon pilots in Switzerland, with more than 30 years of experience.
He knows a balloon ride is worthwhile even during the winter: «In the winter, it is much warmer than assumed. The burner emits heat and at the same time the balloon floats above the cold air. It is often warmer in the basket than on the ground.»
It All Depends on the Wind
Even the best balloon pilots can’t say exactly where the balloon will end up—that’s down to the wind alone. Because you’re traveling totally in the open, a superb analysis of the weather including windspeed and direction must be undertaken before starting. The balloon cannot be directed horizontally as it is dragged by the wind.
During the ride you are constantly in contact with air traffic control and the car following the balloon. Hans-Jörg Keller’s team trails the balloon on the ground to bring the balloon and air travel group back to where the journey started again, regardless of where they land.
Besides faraway views, targeted shots of the area immediately below make for great photos. Unique landscapes like the structure of fields, the criss-crossing of roads or colourful autumn treetops are particularly beautiful. Take a spectacular picture of the sunset from the pinnacle of the world.
Around the world with your photos
Ideas and tips for vacation photos and a tutorial on making photo books can be found here.
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