A unique balloon ride at Lake Constance
A ride with the ifolor hot-air balloon is unforgettable – you can find out here what happens!
It gets really exciting again at the end: after all you want to land as gently as you took off. However, the balloon (weighing 800 kg!) steered by a professional hand ends the ride perfectly by landing beautifully softly. Beforehand the pilot and his “balloon ride guests” are up in the air for roughly two hours. The fresh air, open views as far as the eye can see and totally fascinating silence were the most dominant expressions of the last few minutes. But what happened beforehand?
You rise with 1,600 degrees Celsius
The massive balloon envelope is still lying floppily on the ground. To prepare the balloon for the hot air, a large ventilator blows air into the envelope first of all.
Then the propane gas is used, which also flies with you in the basket in four bottles. Short bursts of the burner with approximately 1,600 degrees Celsius heat up the air in the now plumped up balloon to roughly 75 degrees Celsius, while the pilot checks the process using a temperature measuring device. An evil hissing over your heads that will also cut through the silence time and time again up in the sky later on and is a reminder of how it is even at all possible to experience airspace so directly.
After a short time the balloon is “standing” majestically at the take-off site. It’s now time for the passengers and pilot to get in. Once the right temperature has been reached, the air in the balloon envelope is heated up from 75 to 95 degrees Celsius, the ride begins with the balloon gently climbing up into the sky at a rate of one metre per second.
The silence of the sky
At roughly 2,000 metres altitude a unique mountain panorama then opens up above Lake Constance, from the Säntis to Mont Blanc, providing the air is crystal clear.
Underneath you the Lake Constance region presents its very best side. On the Swiss side the city of Kreuzlingen (ifolor’s head office), next to this on the German side Constance and the islands Mainau and Reichenau, following the lake the centre of the Lower Lake, Steckborn and then Stein am Rhein. In the other direction you discover landmarks such as Friedrichshafen, Romanshorn, Rorschach and, at the other end of the lake, the city of Bregenz in the Vorarlberg region with its local mountain, the Pfänder.
The ifolor hot-air balloon’s pilot
The peace and quiet while gliding along is interrupted now and again by the hissing of the burner. And of course by the laid-back chats among the passengers.
The pilot and owner of the ifolor hot-air balloon, who is a real legend of the air, also contributes to this: Hans-Jörg Keller is one of the most renowned balloon pilots in Switzerland with more than 30 years’ experience.
He knows only too well from experience why a balloon ride is even worthwhile 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
The best balloon pilot in the world cannot determine where the balloon travels though: it’s all down to the wind. As with a hot-air balloon you are travelling in the most exposed nature, it is obligatory to analyse the weather data in depth before taking off.
During the ride you are constantly in contact with air traffic control and the car following the balloon. Hans-Jörg Keller’s team follows 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.
Don’t forget your camera
What you definitely should not forget of course on this kind of adventure is your camera or smartphone. Full batteries and spare batteries are highly recommended as you will definitely want to capture the unique view and fantastic mood on board (or in the basket) from all angles, that’s a promise.
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