If you want to learn to fly a balloon, become a balloonist and experience the incredible tranquility of balloon flight then we can help. Read through our ‘Learning to Fly FAQs’ page and then give us a call on (07) 3423 0400.
Do you need a licence to fly a balloon?
All balloon pilots in Australia must have a pilot’s certificate or licence to be able to fly a balloon.
Where can I learn to fly a balloon?
Fly Me To The Moon operates a flight training school and can train and examine students for the Australian Ballooning Federation and CASA qualifications from private pilot right through to instructor level.
How much does it cost to learn to fly a balloon?
The cost of learning to fly balloons varies considerably depending on what you can or can’t provide. Ballooning is a group activity, in so far as you need to have a crew of at least one person on the ground. The ground crew also needs a vehicle in which they can chase you during flight. If the training school needs to provide the ground crew and chase vehicle there is an associated cost.
A 16 hour Private Pilot Certificate course will cost around $15,000 if the school provides the balloon, instructor, ground crew and retrieve vehicle. The price would be around half that amount if the school was only providing the flight instructor and ground training.
How long does it take to learn to fly a balloon?
Most people complete the private pilots certificate course over a period of 2 – 3 months. During this time they will be involved in a variety of balloon related activities to build their exposure and familiarity with balloon technology. For those in a hurry it is possible to complete a private pilots course in a block of about 3 weeks. There are a minimum of 16 hours of flight training required for the private certificate course.
Can I hire a balloon?
Balloons are available for private hire at a number of locations around Australia. We periodically have a sport sized balloon available.
What does a balloon cost?
A new four person sport balloon including balloon, basket and burners costs about A$45,000. There are regularly second hand balloons available for sale at lower prices. We recommend having any second hand balloon independantly appraised before committing to purchase it.
Is there a ballooning club?
The Australian Ballooning Federation is the national association for sport balloonists. It has a number of affiliated clubs located around Australia.
Is there much theory involved in learning to fly a balloon?
The theory of ballooning is relatively simple and there are free training notes available for studying for the private pilot certificate examinations. For the private pilots certificate there are six exams; Air Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Aerostatics and Airmanship, Landowner Code of Conduct and Radio Operator. Training notes and assistance for the commercial pilot theory exams should be provided by the flight school providing the training.
What are your recommended study materials for the Commercial Pilot examinations?
Candidates for the commercial pilot theory examinations are advised to download and print a copy of the CPL Syllabus from the CASA website.
For the operational examination (COPB) we recommend purchasing and studying 4 books:
- Human Factors for Pilots; Roger Green et. al.; Avebury Press
- Aircraft Human Performance Limitations; Tony Wilson; Airservices Australia Publications Unit
- CPL Aeroplanes Meteorology; Bob Tait or Aviation Theory Centre;
- CPL Aeroplanes Navigation; Bob Tait or Aviation Theory Center;
For the aviation law examination (CLWB) you will need to purchase copies of:
- Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR1988);
- Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR1998);
- Civil Aviation Act;
- Enroute Supplement Australia (ERSA);
- Civil Aviation Orders (CAO);
- Canberra VTC;
- Planning Chart Australia (PCA).
Other reference materials can be downloaded from the CASA website:
- CAAP 92-3 Guidelines for Manned Balloon Launching and Landing Areas;
- CAAP 157-1 Balloon Flights over Populous Areas;
- CAAP 235-1 Standard Passenger Weights;
- CASA Instrument 566/03 Pilot Maintenance of Balloons.
You flying training school will be able to provide you with a copy of the following:
- CAR 259/ 260 Permit.
What courses can you run?
We are able to conduct training for all of the certificates and endorsements available from the Australian Balloon Federation including private pilot certificate, instructor, night, gas balloon and rosiere balloon ratings and the larger then 120,000 cubic feet endorsement. Our CASA Flying Scool is licenced to conduct courses for the Commercial Pilot Licence, Night VFR Rating and Instructor Rating.
Do I get any credit for my prior aviation experience?
In the future, there will be some credit given for experience in other aircraft types, this is part of CASR 131 which has been in the pipeline for a long time (10+ years) but is unlikely to be law prior to 2011. If you have prior aviation experience it will certainly give you an advantage and would most likely mean that you would be certified / licenced at minimum hours.
What first step should I take towards getting my balloon licence?
Ballooning is a very peaceful form of flight but can be VERY demanding from a piloting point of view and the early morning starts are not for everyone. As a first step towards gaining your licence we recommend that you go for a balloon flight if you have not already done so and try and get involved in some balloon retrieves as a super-nummary crew. These experiences will provide you with a wealth of information and will assist in making a decision about whether this is something that you would really like to pursue.