Rules to play Hot Air Ballooning
The decision not to fly in rain or storms seems a simple one of course we dont! What isnt so simple is why your flight may be cancelled when no storm or rain actually happens in the area. We must often make our decision based on a forecast. Despite the many advances in weather prediction, forecasting remains an imprecise science. We often refer to forecasts as horoscopes with numbers. Our idea of long range forecasting is 4 hours and we dont place a great deal of faith in them! Forecasts for our flying area are limited to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and Harrisburg International (MDT). We are practically equal distance between the two and what happens in our flying area may be very different from the forecast both good and bad.
Storms can be significant events to any type of aircraft, but a balloon is perhaps the most weather sensitive aircraft there is. An airplane can turn and run from a storm whereas a balloon is drawn into a storm. The winds will accelerate and head toward a building storm and flow out of a decaying storm. These gust fronts can occur 75 to 100 miles away from the actual storm and create winds that are dangerous to a balloon. Once again, its the wind! If storms are forecast or there are storms within 100 miles we will reschedule flights.