Hot air balloons provide a more leisurely way for riders to achieve aerial views than filling their clothes with helium or commandeering a passing condor. Enjoy expansive views while travelling at the breeze's pace with today's Groupon to Skyward Balloons, with launch sites in Kitchener/Waterloo, London, Woodstock, Cambridge, Brantford, Stratford, and Orangeville. Choose from the following options:
- For $135, you get a weekday-morning flight (a $225 value). Groups meet at the launch site about a half hour before sunrise.
- For $150, you get a weekday-evening flight (a $250 value). Groups meet at the launch site about 2.5 hours before sunset.
- For $165, you get a regular fly anytime flight, including weekends and holidays (a $275 value).
Skyward Balloon's Transport Canada–certified pilots escort passengers in one-hour hot air balloon flights. Participants arrive at their pre-determined launch site to meet the pilot and flight crew, who brief sky explorers on balloon safety and the flying experience before igniting burners. Before each flight, crews inflate the colourful vessels to their 10-storey height, after which passengers board their hanging gondolas, and pilots adhere their wind-catching moustaches. Balloons soar at heights ranging from 500 to 3,500 feet above the surrounding cities and gently drift over the countryside's forests, ponds, and lakes, though captains may dip down to tickle treetops, skim meadows, and high-five nested eagles. When it comes time for landing, pilots re-educate their charges on the proper landing procedure.
Once on the ground, pilots, staff, and adventurers join together for a champagne toast and gifting of personalized, signed flight certificates, each of which is dated to commemorate the cloud-harvesting excursion. Balloons may only fly in precipitation-free weather with good visibility and no more than light gusts of wind. Guests should allow three hours total for their adventure, including preflight preparations and postflight festivities.
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.