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What You're Saying
I was fortunate enough to receive a gift card to the Boar’s Head Inn for my retirement and decided to use the card for a balloon ride. My daughter and I couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for our flight. Although we had to reschedule a few times because of Virginia’s ever-changing weather we finally had lift off on October 21st. We were joined by a adventurous couple from Williamsburg, who were just as excited as my daughter and I about our first flight. The trees had begun to change colors and the sights were incredible. Rick, our pilot, has 40 years of flying experience and although he and the crew were all business in the inflation of the balloon once we were floating he relaxed and pointed out sights along the way. He told us of the years of experience he had and we are fortunate to have such a skilled pilot in the Charlottesville area. Rick explained everything to the four of us and was pleased that we had an extra long flight due to favorable winds. We felt safe and comfortable with Rick as our pilot, and although I have a tendency to have trouble with height flying in a balloon is nothing like looking down from a high place. The crew, who chased us are experienced and made our landing and return to the Boar’s Head Inn delightful. The crew took several pictures of us before during and after the flight. We received a CD of the pictures while we had refreshments back at the Inn. Thank you, Rick Behr and crew for such a wonderful experience. And thanks to my co-workers for such a perfect gift for my retirement.
Awesome flight, professional crew.
Rick is extremely experienced and competent. As a person terrified of heights and scared to death at the beginning I cannot wait to go back up!!!
My First: Balloon Ride
My daughter wanted only one thing for her 7th birthday. To take a ride in a hot air balloon. At first I was psyched. Then everyone I told including my very non-alarmist father said, “Really? Is that safe?” So I tried to convince her that what she really wanted to do was go to Massanutten Water Park. Needless to say, that didn’t work. Despite the tragic accident that occurred in Virginia earlier this year, hot air balloons are relatively safe. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 10 people have died in the United States in hot air balloon accidents in the last 10 years and accidents are extremely rare. I decided to go for it. I wanted to encourage her cool birthday request and loved that she didn’t ask for anything American Girl related. We contacted Rick Behr at Boar’s Head Ballooning at about 7pm on a Sunday night. He said he would meet us at 6am the next day. Well, at least I didn’t have time to think about it! Rick has been piloting balloons for 34 years in Charlottesville and all over the world. We felt very safe in his hands. It was stunning once we got up but slightly nerve wracking as we moved untethered around town. Rick explained that balloon pilots never really know where they will land. They communicate with the other balloons around town to feel out the winds at different altitudes and estimate where they will be able to come down after an hour or so. Then a truck on the ground comes to meet the balloon to help get it down and take everybody back to the launch site. My daughter loved the whole experience and reminded me that we just had to trust that we would be ok. She even stayed calm when got a double ride since the wind didn’t exactly cooperate with our landing. I stayed calm too because you really have no choice in this situation but to surrender to the experience. I was kissing the ground when we got down but in a good way. I’m really glad we did it. If this is on your bucket list, definitely go for it. If you like to wonder where you will land day after day, become a hot air balloon pilot!
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