Soaring in the sky, hot air balloons inspire awe and exude beauty. That awe and beauty comes at a price, though. The owner and operator of a balloon easily can pump thousands upon thousands of dollars into this hobby.
“Hot air balloons are not inexpensive toys; they are vehicles that require maintenance, storage, and comprehensive insurance policies,” according to WiseGeek.com.
Aside from paying for the balloon, and the related equipment and services, you’ve got to figure out where to put the darn thing when it’s not airborne. Hobbyists typically store their balloons in trailers, trucks, garages or self-storage units, according to Katie Griggs, launch commander for the annual Great Reno Balloon Race.
Despite the costs, balloonists say the experience is priceless.
“It is the only form of aviation that allows you to float silently—when the burners are not on—and motionless through the sky,” hot air balloonist Tony Sica said. “It’s like God lifted you up into the sky and said, ‘Stay awhile and look around.’ It’s awesome.”
Nowhere is that more evident than at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which attracts balloonists from more than 20 countries each October.
“The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest hot air ballooning event. With over 550 balloons soaring through the clear blue Albuquerque skies, it is an event like no other,” said Tom Garrity, director of media relations for the Albuquerque event.
Our infographic will teach you a little more about a hobby like no other.
Top photo courtesy of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta