After six balloon festivals and more than a few failed attempts at Balloon Flight during the festivals, the question in many minds’ is, “Why do they keep holding the Balloon Festival in Jan. if the weather doesn’t usually cooperate?”
There is a very good explanation for why they do. The average Hot Air Balloon costs about $40,000 at the lower end and up to about $200,000 on the higher end. Prices range due to size, decoration and difficulty of the creation of the canopy (the actual “Balloon” portion of the aircraft).
For the balloon to rise, the inside balloon temperature must be a minimum of 100 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature. For instance, if it is 50 degrees outside the inside temperature has to begin at 150 degrees to get any lift at all. Basket, burner and passenger weight are also taken into consideration and the increased weight also increases the temperature that must be maintained inside the balloon to make it fly. Temperatures cannot exceed 250 degrees without damaging the canopy and putting the pilot’s and passenger’s lives in danger, not to mention it would destroy a very expensive piece of equipment.