How To Become A Hot Air Balloon Pilot


Curious about soaring through the sky in a balloon? Many people find themselves captivated by the wonder of being a pilot, whether it's taking control of the burners or simply gazing at the magnificent sight up above.

If you're itching to experience the magic of a hot air balloon without the responsibility of piloting, then buckle up and hop on board with us at WonderDays! We'll take you on an exhilarating journey from over 110+ locations across the UK mainland, bringing you the adventure of a lifetime wherever you are.

But if you're genuinely interested in the secrets of becoming one of our esteemed pilots, then keep reading!

Becoming a pilot isn't a walk in the park; it requires a blend of essential training, unwavering commitment and a fiery passion for ballooning.

There are two types of licenses you should know about. The first is the private pilot's license (PPL), which allows you to fly passengers without charge. But hold on, that's not all! The one our awe-inspiring pilots possess is the commercial license (CPL) enabling them to operate balloons for hire.

Once you decide to master the art of hot air ballooning, you'll be designated as a PUT (Pilot Under Training). But before you embark on this thrilling path, you must first experience a flight as a passenger. This little test ensures that you'll absolutely adore your time soaring through the skies before committing more of your precious time and energy to becoming a pilot.

If you're still raring to go, then it's time to join the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) and get yourself affiliated with your local BBAC region. Trust us, you'll want to make some lifelong buddies among the pilots in your area. They're the real pros who can teach you the ins and outs of this magnificent craft!

Medical documentation for pilots

Oh, and don't forget, a medical declaration of fitness signed by your GP is a must. We want to ensure you're in tip-top shape for your high-flying adventures!

Once you've checked off all the requirements, it's time to kick off your training. Get ready to keep a log of your hours, which should include at least 16 hours of flying experience and a minimum of 6 flights (with at least 4 guided by a BBAC-approved instructor). And remember, it's not just about physical activity; you've got to stay on top of the theory too!

Knowledge Is Power

Balloon pilot study books

Grab some ballooning books and aviation charts to dive into the fascinating knowledge of flight. The BBAC highly recommends gems like 'The Air Pilots Manual – Volume 2 – Air Law and Meteorology' and 'The BBAC Pilot Training Manual – for Balloon Systems and Navigation' (BBAC, updated March 2010).

At WonderDays, we consider one more requirement to be absolutely crucial: attending a Landowner Relations course. It's all about fostering respect for the countryside and maintaining excellent communication between farmers and balloonists.

Now, let's talk about the final steps. To earn your wings, you'll need to perform a solo flight under the watchful eye of an examiner and conquer a written examination covering Aviation Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Balloon Systems and Human Performance.

And if you have your sights set on a commercial pilot's license, brace yourself for an additional 35 hours in the air, including a total of 10 flights (with 2 of them being solo) and a controlled ascent up to 3000 feet above the take-off point.

The grand finale involves two final tests: a written knowledge test and a practical assessment.

Here Are Some Regional Balloon Clubs To Get Your Adventure Started

Fly off into the sunset

Interested? Contact us at for your adventure to the clouds on becoming a hot air balloon pilot!

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