Once the balloon is upright and stable, the pilot will board the passengers. Passengers enter the basket from the vehicle side, following the pilot's directions. Crew need to put all their weight on the basket to keep it anchored to the ground.

The pilot will use three crew commands to manage the launch portion of the flight.

Launch Commands

  • "Weight On": Put all your weight on the top of the basket, keeping at least one foot on the ground AT ALL TIMES
  • "Light Hands": Remove your weight, but keep your hands lightly on the top of the basket. Be prepared to go back to "Weight On" when commanded
  • "Hands Off": Fully release and back away from the basket

The "Weight on, Light Hands" process make take several cycles. Using these commands the pilot will bring the balloon to equilibrium. When ready, only the pilot will release the tie-off. Be sure to be cautious as the rope may spring back toward the chase vehicle. The pilot will ask you to walk the balloon out as he ascends. "Light hands on" is all that is required at this time. Once released, be sure to wave at the pilot and passengers.