Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Through the 80s and early 90s Graham Rawlinson accumulated more than a decade of experience piloting jets, hot air balloons, and ultra lights. Knowing how moving soaring through the sky can be, he opened Skyward Balloons in 1993 to share the experience with others. Today, Graham leads a team of Transport Canada–approved commercial pilots that ferry guests into the sky in kaleidoscopically coloured balloons. Leisurely sky-floats take guests 500–3,500 feet in the air, cruising over cities and the countryside for scenic champagne tours. Sightseers revel in aerial views of yawning pastures as they soar along, waving to earthbound onlookers and comparing lakes and ponds to unassuming puddles as lush treetops appear small enough to use for cleaning one's ears. The crew can accommodate corporate and group outings and are also certified to train student pilots. Their fleet of 10-storey-tall balloons can even help companies and public communication programs get the word out through airborne advertising.
For a quarter of a century, Fun Makers' licensed, FAA-certified pilots have guided thousands of passengers skyward during hot-air-balloon tours of Ohio's lakes, valleys, forests, and rolling plains. Pilots update their training annually to stay informed on ballooning guidelines, and each sendoff begins with a passenger orientation that briefs guests on flight basics, personal safety, and how to deflect dive-bombing ostriches. After touching back down, passengers commemorate their voyage with a champagne toast and a first-flight certificate. In addition to hot-air-balloon rides, Fun Makers' staff travels to large and small events at colleges, festivals, and churches bearing a variety of portable entertainment including rock-climbing walls, bungee trampolines, and mechanical rodeo bulls.