There are many different and unusual career paths out there, and a lot of them are for those thrill seekers and adventurers who don't want to spend their days stuck in an office. A popular choice for those wanting an exhilarating career is becoming a Hot Air Balloon pilot. Here's our how to guide on how to become one and what it entails!
To become a pilot you will need to be over 17 years old, and the only way to be able to fly a hot air balloon commercially is if you have a CPL Balloon Pilot's license. For this you will need a class 2 medical certificate, 75 hours of logged flight time as a pilot, as well as a minimum of 4 flights free flights and 2 tethered. You will also need to take and pass written exams and a flight test. All of this must be completed within 2 years.
Whenever you fly you must always have with you certain items of equipment. These include;
- A Compass
- An Altimeter
- A Watch
- A secondary source of ignition
You also have a choice when obtaining a pilot's license, of whether to train for the commercial license (CPL), or the private license (PPL). If you want a career in ballooning then you will need the commercial license. The private license is for those just wanting to pilot a balloon as a hobby rather than use it to take paying customers into the skies.
Another important item you will need is a red pilot log book, which is a legal requirement. You should also join the BBAC (British Balloon and Airship Club), as they give you lots of great advice and it's easier to meet other trainee pilots and professional pilots. Before starting your pilot license training take a few hot air balloon rides to decide if it's really something you would enjoy.
Once you have your license you can then choose to work for a hot air balloon company, or you could purchase your own equipment and set up your own business. The opportunities are endless, and it is a career you can go all around the world with - almost every country has a demand for balloon flights.
Becoming a hot air balloon pilot is a costly and time-consuming career move, but if you have a passion for ballooning, then it will be a career where you look forward to going to work, and your office will without a doubt have the best view!