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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!
It’s Obvious blog
Rick took us up in his balloon on a great spring morning just about 1 week ago. My wife had always talked about wanting to take a balloon ride and the fact that it was her sister’s birthday gave us a great excuse to finally take the plunge. Rick was courteous and professional and took special care of my sister-in-law, who is special needs. We were all very happy with the entire experience and would not hesitate to recommend Rick to others.
I recently knocked something off my bucket list and went on a hot air balloon ride with Rick, I am terrified of heights, but LOVED the entire experience. Rick is so knowledgeable about flying and so experienced that he immediately put me at ease. This was by far one of the greatest things I have ever done and can not wait to go back up. The balloon was gorgeous, and he took the time to try and get us over the river for fantastic photos of the reflection of our balloon over the water. Truly a breath-taking experience.