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Gila and Salt River Base and Meridian Hot Air Balloon and Airship Ascension Social Society, Inc.

Established 1975 as the

Arizona Balloon Club

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Hummingbird hot air balloon
The Hummingbird

Cost of Getting Into Ballooning:

Initial Cost of a Balloon - Click Here;

The cost of a new balloon is about the same as a medium priced car: $35,000 to $50,000.

What Affects the Price - Click Here;

Single of double burner;
Size of the envelope (the nylon part);
Number of colors and design of the envelope;
Size and type of basket;
Number and size of fuel tanks;
Instrument package.

Special Shapes - Click Here;

Special shapes, like the balloon picctured, are much more expensive often costing well over $100,000.

Used Equipment - Click Here;

Fortunately there is plenty of good used equipment out there in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. And just like a used car the initial cost will be lower but the ongoing maintenance expenses will be higher.

Desert Drifter hot air balloon
Desert Drifter in Monument Valley

A good chase vehicle is the next big expense:

Truck or Trailer - Click Here;

About half of the ballooninst in Phoenix use pickup trucks and the other half use trailers.

Type of Truck - Click Here;

The pickup trucks tend to be 3/4 ton or 1 ton with crew cabs and big engines. Lighter weight trucks just don't hold up well because of the heavy loads and the long drives to balloon events, such as to Monument Valley in extreme north eastern Arizona. Also most of the chasing is off road so the vehicle takes a pounding.

Vehical to Tow Trailer - Click Here;

Balloonists with trailers tend to drive large SUVs for the same reason. Minivans don't hold up well.

Maintenance & Repair - Click Here;

Vehicle maintenance and repairs are one of the hidden expenses of ballooning. Shocks and tires and air filters need to be replaced much more often.

Blue Maxine hot air balloon in Monument Valley
Blue Maxine in Monument Valley

Other One-Time Expenses - Click Here:

Inflator fan - $500 to $1,000;

VHF radios - $200 to $500. Federal Communication Commission licenses are available to all Arizona Ballon Club members free of charge;

Leather gloves for crew - $100;

Good GPS Unit - $250. Smart phones now have so many cool aps these days that a separate GPS unit may not be necessary;

Check ride - $250 to $300.

Jelly Bean hot air balloon
Jelly Bean

Ongoing Expenses - Click Here:

Insurance - $1,500 to $2,000 per year;

Annual inspection - $400 to $500 plus any repairs;

Propane - 15 to 20 gallons per flight. At today's prices of about $3.00 per gallon: $45 yo $60;

Gas for vehicle - $50 for local flights. A couple of hundred for travel to events in California, Utah, Colorado, or New Mexico;

Soda, water, munchies, and a tailgate for crew after each flight.

Hot air balloon shadow
Balloon Shadow

Three well-worn balloon jokes.

What makes a balloon fly? - Click Here;


What does it take to get into ballooning? - Click Here;

Every weekend for the rest of your life.

Teach your children the love of aviation... - Click Here;

...and they'll never have any money for drugs.