Have you ever seen or ridden the Sugar Bear hot air balloon? Well, I have recently ridden in it at the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee, and I want to tell you about it!
With this article, I hope to encourage you to ride a hot air balloon even if you have a fear of heights. And, definitely to go to a hot air balloon festival. It’s a must-see summer activity!
Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Michigan
I rode in the famous Sugar Bear hot air balloon at the Hot Air Jubilee in Jackson Michigan. The Hot Air Jubilee is a chance for the residents of Jackson, the surrounding areas, and people who just love hot air balloon festivals to witness the take-off and flight of hot air balloons.
There are also all sorts of fun festival activities, like games, food trucks, and more! You can even get a chance to ride in a hot air balloon! (There is usually cost associated with a hot air balloon ride.)
There are many hot air balloon festivals in Michigan. I went to the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee because it was closest to where I live. You could go to any one of the hot air balloon festivals. I’m sure you’ll have a great time watching (or even riding in) hot air balloons.
My Experience at the Jackson MI Hot Air Jubilee
I felt like the most exciting part of my flight was when my pilot took me low over a small pond. This is called a Splash and Dash. The basket touched down in the pond and my feet were covered with about a foot of water! We went right back up after that. It was fun!
The second most exciting part of my flight was take-off. First, they blew up the balloon with a large fan and added some heat to it. The balloon lifted into the air, and we got into the basket.
Then, the chase crew walked us out to a better take-off position — meaning they moved the balloon along just above ground level. And then they let us go! We just lifted off the ground and rose higher and higher! It was so much fun!
Another fun part of my flight was when we skimmed the top of a tall tree so that I could pick some leaves. I was able to just reach out and grab them!
When it was time to land, we had to hop — or rise just above — a tree to reach a narrow field behind a barn. The tree was almost so tall we could not land there. But when we got over the tree and my pilot let out just enough air through the vents, we were able to make a safe landing!
What I Learned from my Hot Air Balloon Ride
These are some things I learned during my balloon ride that you may find interesting:
- Pilot: Tyler Jacques
- Balloon Name: Sugar Bear II
- Balloons only hold about 35 to 50 gallons of propane. In the winter, a flight can last for around two hours. In the summer, a flight lasts for about 45 minutes. This is because balloons cannot fly at over 250 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes. That means on a hotter day, say 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes more propane to fly and make the balloon hotter than it does on a 50-degree day. It has to be a 100-degree Fahrenheit difference for the balloon to fly.
- A 7-mph ground wind speed is the maximum ground wind speed allowable for take-offs. This helps make sure the balloon is able to land safely.
- The field that I was in was a Delta airspace, so the pilots have to communicate with air control so that there are no mid-air collisions.
- The maximum number of balloons allowed at the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee is 30 to 40.
- The chase crew has to follow the balloon to stop it from floating away because the pilot has no control over which way the balloon goes, except for up and down.
- Hot air balloons come in various sizes.
- A lot of pilots return year after year to fly in the Jackson Hot Air Jubilee.
Enjoying a Michigan Hot Air Balloon Festival
If you’ve never ridden in a hot air balloon, I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience. I hope I encouraged you to try it even if you have a fear of heights. Never pass up on a chance to experience a hot air balloon ride.
And, be sure to check out the great Michigan hot air balloon festivals and enjoy your own great summer experience!