Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hey I'm A Balloonist!

Here is my balloon bulletin. Please be sure to make double click on my photos for a better imaginable understanding:

a minibus took us to the balloon launch site. it was a fairly cool greeting by the balloon staff! we were offered by hot drinks and snacks. the flights always take place at dawn. because best fly is at sunrise. because what we need is gentle and stable wind conditions. at 7am was the coolest time of our day with the lightest winds, splendid colors, shadows and contrasts for photographing as well.

discovered the 3-main parts of our balloon.
(1) the envelope: the colorful fabric bag that holds the hot air. ours was about of three; gray, magic beautiful orange and blue at top. made from lightweight rip-stop nylon fabric.

(2) the burner: positioned above our heads and produces a huge flame that turns the liquid propane into gas, so burns to heat the air inside the envelope.

(3) the basket: where we ride. lightweight and flexible. made from wicker. carries us, our pilot Joao and liquid propane fuel tanks. hot air balloons carry 60 to 110 gallons (=120 to 200 kg) of propane in stainless steel fuel tanks. generally 75% of the fuel is used during a single ride.

the basic principles to operate a balloon are gravity and heat transfer.

when the air inside envelope is heated, the balloon rises. the staff used an inflator fan on the ground to fill it with air, which is then heated. takes in 15 to 20 minutes to inflate it. takes ~ the same time to deflate and pack-up after flight.

the magic happens in the air with our stunning pilot's efforts! Joao used the propane gas burner to heat the air inside the envelope. oh my, we are ready to fly? Yessss... over the clouds!

he has the complete control of the up-and-down movements by controlling the heat so often in the envelope.

gerçekten uçmaya başlıyoruz, bu super bir his...! this is our balloon. and, definitely different feeling from taking a flight with Delta Airlines. amazing feeling surrounds us. i can describe that it's a tranquil and romantic sensation I felt! the actual flight time averages more than an hour. ours took a time of 1 hour and half.

meet Joao, our Pilot. portuegese. 17-yrs experienced in his career life. to descend, Joao kept the ballon up by adding heat, so allowed it cool down when he wished to descend. so the balloon becomes heavier than air. we were weaving along between the fairy chimneys on bumpy backroads, thanks to Joao with his great skill judged the best possible fly route over such a complex pattern of deeply scored landscape in Cappadocia.

one of the most enjoyable aspects of ballooning is that you never know where you will go. because it's technically impossible to direct the balloon. you travel with the wind. so every flight is different. unique. an absolute adventure. how high we were going up, you may wonder. we flied upto 2000 feet. sometimes it's necesarry to go higher to find wind conditions, Joao said.

asked to Joao, what happens if the burner goes out? failing down sharply on the ground? no of course, he said. balloons have at least four independent fuel systems. if there were no burner, the balloon would descend at about the same rate as a parachute:)

meet my basket-mates: (L to R) annalina, monia, gianno and roberto. in fact, they are my sweet friends from rome:) balloons are constructed with greater or lesser volume to carry more or less weight. ours was about upto 16 passengers. the smallest carry just the pilot. the largest ones have a capacity of 24 passengers plus pilot.

the single fare for a balloon ride in Cappadocia starts from 160€. it is what I paid. of course it depends on the hour you wish. it may up to 250€ for a two hrs flight. quite unnecesarry to add write more comment to the 360-degree panaroma unfolding around us! this my second journey to the region including a balloon ride was even more vivid, most memorable and extraordinary experience than my first trip that I took this summer in August on my birthday.

After landing, we climbed out of the basket, and enjoyed our celebratory glasses of champagne as it's the balloonists' most favorite drink! post-ballooning champagne is the way traditional after every successfully ending flight! Oh my, what a nice surprise that we really never knew what to expect in the end of our ride. Then we received a personalised Flight Certificate signed by our pilot Joao. Should I have to say that there could be no other best final than this! I got one more new title:
I am a proud balloonist.

minibus came to take us to our hotel, Dedeman Cappadocia Hotel and Convention Center, for a well earned breakfast:)


  1. Congratulations on becoming a Balloonist! We see balloons in the air over the Napa Valley all the time but I've yet to go up in one. I definately like to have my feet On The Ground, LOL!


  2. Nihal, what a beautiful post, this is a thrilling experience I've never done. I think the trip on a balloon would make me a bit dizzy ;-)
    However it's good that if there were no burner, the balloon would descend as a parachute! You took very nice photographs, I really enjoy them.
    Happy Sunday :-)

  3. @ Pietro: Definitely, thrilling is the right word! Wish everyone to find their way to experience it, really does it worths. Thanks, thanks so much for your kind words about my photographs. In fact I managed two 'hard' tasks at the same time while riding: viewing the superb panorama + taking photos:)

  4. Thanks so much for sharing Nihal, a balloon ride is on my must do list :)

    Thanks for calling by News From Italy and commenting on this weeks Sunday Song, I appreciate the comments and have now replied to them all there.

  5. Nihal, about your question: I should say I don't belong either to the left wing or to the right wing because I find them both unreliable. I should be for a good center, but in Italy an effective center coalition doesn't exist at the time being. So the choice is very hard.
    May I know about you?

    I wish you a happy Monday evening :-)

  6. @ Pietro: I'm a Democrat. Thanks for sharing your political id:) Hope all is fine, happy day~

  7. Oh, Nihal. This must have been such a thrill. I have always wanted to take a balloon ride. My husband and I were just discussing this a few weeks ago.

    Thank you for sharing.

  8. I think this is a great experience!
    I would like to take photos from the above.
    Have a nice week Nihal.