Tag Archives: light winds

Balloon Race Weekend

Each year, over 50 hot air balloons and pilots travel to Natchez, MS to the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, along with thousands of spectators. We will be live tweeting from our @visitnatchez Twitter account to keep you up-to-date with all flight information and answering any questions you may have. This will give you an idea of where the balloons will be inflating, taking off from and where they are landing. Although, the best views are normally at the fairgrounds behind Rosalie on Broadway Street.

The schedule for the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race is slam packed with amazing entertainers, flight times, and gate openings. There will also be a carnival for the little and big kids and plenty of delicious food to keep you full all weekend.

Did you ever wonder why everyone says, “The balloons will fly, weather permitted?” Well, we are here to answer your question!

Here are things that will keep balloons on the ground.

Wind

  • Wind is a critical factor in ballooning. Balloons fly best and safest in light winds of 4-6 mph. Maximum safe winds are around 8-10 mph. You may see some balloons deciding to fly and others do not. This is all based on if the pilot feels comfortable with the wind conditions.
  • Balloons are also harder to inflate when the winds are gusty. The wind pushes against the balloon making it harder for the fan, which inflates the balloon, to fill the whole envelope (balloon).
  • If it is too gusty and the pilots take off in their balloons, the winds can take them further than they want. This could lead to the pilot having less of an opportunity to land in an open area.
  • Winds are at different speeds and go different directions in different layers of the atmosphere.

Poor Visibility

  • To fly legally through Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the visibility must be 1 to 3 miles, depending on where they are flying.

Rain & Storms

  • We won’t state the obvious. 🙂

Temperature

  • It takes heat to fly the balloon. The hotter the air outside, the more heat it takes to make the balloon fly. The colder the air is outside, the less heat it takes to make the balloon fly. The maximum continuous operating temperature for most hot air balloons is 250 degrees F.

    Outside Air Temperature  + Heat it Takes to Fly (140 F)  = Temperature Inside the Balloon
    Cold day of 30 degrees F + 140 F = 170 degrees inside the balloon
    Hot day of 95 degrees F + 140 F = 235 degrees inside the balloon (more heat if it’s hot out)

Our forecast for the weekend looks great so grab your mama and them and head on over to Natchez. Let the fun begin!!

Balloon Race Collage