Safety at the fan is a key element to ballooning safely.
The pilot may set in place, start, and run the fan at about half throttle while setting the parachute top in place. Then they may signal to increase the fan to full power.
Since it is pretty loud at this portion of the inflation, many pilots use the following hand signals to direct the fan operator:
Fan Hand Signals
- Full Speed - Thumbs Up
- Slower - Thumb Down
- Half Speed - Football "Time-out T" signal (usually as pilot enters basket)
- Stop - Hand across throat (or when pilot is in basket, a hand wave in your direction)
Most pilots will operate the fan at full speed during hot inflation until the fabric leaves the ground. When signaled by pilot, hit the "Kill" switch, wait for blades to stop, then go to opposite side of the fan. Tilt the fan towards you with a foot on the base for balance. Move the fan out of the way and place up by the front tire (rear if vehicle pointed at balloon) of the vehicle.
Don't forget to load and secure the fan before leaving the launch site.