BUYING A USED HOT AIR BALLOON
Buying a used hot air balloon can be a tricky process for the new pilot. There are usually a number of used hot air balloon envelopes and systems on the market if you know where to look, the hard part is getting one that has some useful life left in it!
Most new pilots that have just received their private certification tend to buy a balloon that is the same make and model as the one they trained on. While on the surface this makes sense, it may pay the new prospective balloon owner to shop around a bit.
Most sport balloonists are quite willing to talk about the balloons they have owned in the past, and the things they liked and disliked about each one. Donít pass up this valuable resource! Of course, DO be prepared to hear from every pilot why their balloon they are flying NOW is without a doubt the very best on the market. Certainly all the logic they used in making their decision will be freely dispensed, so a bit of common sense will be required here to separate the emotional chaff from solid reasoning here..
In my opinion a new pilot should consider the following things:
- The first new balloon should be used, not new. A high probability is that as a new pilot you will most likely do some damage to the balloon in the first year or two of flying so, save the shiny new custom balloon until you get your commercial license. Two years of sport flying and you are probably ready to move up to a brand new balloon.
- Look at ALL the costs of owning the balloon you are considering, most importantly the availability and cost of repair fabric if you damage some panels. Some makers only allow replacement with their own certified fabric at a HUGE cost per yard.
- What can the local repair station readily get parts for?
- History of the prospective balloon system. Check all log books and service records.
- Check asking price against competitive ads
- What extra equipment is included, if any?
- When was the last annual , were any temp tabs put in?
- Was a porosity check done by the repair station at last annual (not required for most makes but important to see what measure of life is left and what fuel economy will be)
- When was the balloon last flown
- Can you take a ride/fly the balloon before purchasing?
These are just a few things to consider when purchasing a used hot air balloon, as always buyer beware!
We are proud to fly and be a dealer for HEAD balloons since 1997.
You can equal the quality and durability of a HEAD balloon, but it can
not be surpassed. The materials and construction are second to none but
the real bonus is the reasonable price. I personally use and recommend the silicone coated fabric option.
Check all the others and call us
when you are ready to get the best in quality and value in a hot air balloon
replacement envelope or full system.