Our Amish Neighbors

Our Amish Neighbors

Are you wondering how the Amish react to a balloon landing in their field. They love it!

Amish children love nothing more than the sight of a glorious hot air balloon drifting over the fields. With no television to watch and living by humble means, their entertainment sometimes comes in the form of a hot air balloon. The children wave and run after the balloon. Their laughter can be heard from afar. New Horizon Balloon Team has a candy bucket to offer them candy. The pilot and crew also often offer the family a tether ride in the balloon at the completion of a flight as thanks for allowing a safe landing on their farm. Tethering is when the balloon is anchored and rises only so far up in the air and then back down. The children will typically shout and giggle at such an experience. Although tempting, passengers should not take pictures of the Amish without permission.

Amish people are positive about the ballooning experience, loving to fly in the balloon as much as anyone else. Friendly to New Horizon Balloon Team and the passengers, the Amish like to welcome visitors to Lancaster County. It does not violate their religious practices to enjoy movement in a vessel without an engine. The landowners don’t mind hot air balloons landing on their property as long as the team seeks permission, is respectful, does not scare the animals, and does not do any damage to crops ready for harvest.

Amish people are often the ones booking flights for a balloon ride. They usually help with packing up the balloon when the experience is over, whether or not they fly. They often spend time talking with the team and passengers too.

It’s a fantastic time for everyone. Nothing brings people together from all directions and from all walks of life like a hot air balloon, one of the oldest and safest forms of travel. So book a flight now and fly over beautiful Lancaster County. Smile with the Amish at this wondrous experience.


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Float Like a Feather

Float Like a Feather

A hot air balloon is actually one of the safest modes of travel known to man.

According to statistics, riding in a hot air balloon is actually safer than riding in a car. The pilot is specially trained according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, much like an airplane pilot, to assess danger and control the craft. People often express surprise to learn just how safe a hot air balloon is because many people are afraid of heights. But flying in a balloon does not deliver an unstable or strange sensation like standing on a tall building and looking down, or looking down over an overpass. It doesn’t even feel like the stomach-lurching movement of an elevator. It is as though everything else is slowly moving and you are standing still, taking in breath-taking views.

People wonder if they will experience fear or nausea. In our experience, no one ever has. The flight is completely calm, yet exhilarating. The training the pilot receives comes from another experienced pilot, plus the written exams required by FAA. A pilot also has to take an FAA examiner for a flight test. Licensing is a process that requires multiple hours of flight time without passengers to assess weather and landing conditions. Pilots learn everything from set-up to take-off, flying to landing, and chase activities. Pilots and their crew regularly attend safety seminars to keep current with FAA regulations.

Radio control or cell phone communication takes place with the chase crew below. Crew members are sure not to violate the rules of the road in keeping up with the balloon. The chase crew attempts to get permission to land in a specified location where crops or private property will not sustain damage. Good will with landowners is as important in the ballooning experience as anything else.

The crew takes special direction from the pilot in all of their actions. Essentially, there are no worries, although mistakes can happen and weather can change on the dime. Accidents are rare with reputable and safe pilots at hand. New Horizon Balloon Team never flies in rain, thunderstorms, or generally when winds are over eight miles an hour. Also, flights only take place during sunrise and just before sunset, due to thermals or uneven heating during the day. Hot air ballooning is an adventure no one wants to miss!

 


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The Balloon Experience

The Balloon Experience

Flying in a basket underneath a hot air balloon cannot be compared to anything in the world.

Hot air ballooning guarantees the adventure of a lifetime with postcard-perfect views, like poetry in motion. It's exhilarating for adults and children alike. You ascend into the bluest of skies and traverse beautiful Lancaster County Amish Country for about an hour. It is a peaceful experience, so serene, like angelically floating on a cloud. Fear is not a factor, as it is not like looking over an overpass, riding an elevator, or doing anything that causes instability or discomfort. Patches of idyllic farmland are visible for miles. Flights only take place during sunrise and just before sunset; there are no midday flights due to thermals, which is uneven heating that affects the balloon. Both the pilots and the crew, who work other jobs, love the adventure so much that they dedicate their free time to bringing this one-of-a-kind experience to all, an experience which is safer than driving in a car but vastly more exciting.

The experience starts with passengers watching set-up at any one of their three launch locations: Harvest Drive Family Inn in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the west; Red Run Camp Ground in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the north; and Gap Family Center in Gap, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the south or east. A fan blows air into the envelope or balloon. As air billows into the envelope, causing it to expand, it rises in a wondrous display of color. Then, a propane burner will lift the balloon upright. At this point, everyone hops into the basket and enjoys floating over the lovely terrain. As the flight ensues, your eyes open wide to behold what appears to be a gently moving canvas.

Because safety is paramount, flying only occurs in the calmest of winds and best of weather conditions for your optimal ballooning experience. Every passenger is like family, and safety is always top priority. Interestingly enough, the balloon does not steer in any direction except up or down, while the pilot thinks ahead, monitoring weather and landing conditions. The experience ends with Amish children running after the balloon, getting candy, and sometimes tethering in the balloon. The balloon often draws crowds from the traffic and houses below. People wave and then chase the balloon. It’s an unforgettable slice of fun that life offers to anyone willing to dream of it. It is a perfect way to experience and capture the beauty of Lancaster County and its peaceful Amish.


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