Hot Air Ballooning Weather & Winds

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Minimum weather requirements for hot air balloon rides in the UK

This is our interpretation of the regulations applicable to the UK.


In the UK hot air balloon rides are carried out under Visual Flight rules (VFR). This requires the predicted visibility for any planned flight to be as follows:

at height below 3000 ft

  • Clear of Cloud
  • In sight of Ground
  • 1nm horizontal flight visibility (Private Flight)
  • 3nm horizontal flight visibility (Commercial Flight)

at height above 3000 ft

  • 1.5 nm horizontal clearance to cloud
  • 1000ft vertical clearance to cloud
  • 5nm horizontal flight visibility (Commercial Flight)

Additionally it must be possible to maintain a 500 ft clearance to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.

Wind Speed

The hot air balloon flight manual will usually impose some limitations on the allowable maximum wind speeds for hot air balloon rides.

For our Cameron V-77 and V-66 balloon the flight manual states:

  • operation at wind speeds not exceeding 15 knots (this is reduced to 10 knots for larger Cameron Balloons
  • no strong thermals

G-BNAU on a cold spring morning. (c) 2006 Phil Waller