Don't think hot air balloon rides aren't meticulously checked, cleaned, repaired and inspected on a regular basis? Well this will give you some more information on why these air-crafts need to be inspected, but why it's so important for passengers taking hot air balloon rides that they are in safe hands.
The Big Balloon
The balloon is a huge contraption with hundreds of different elements to it, that when working together, harmoniously creates one efficient and brilliant working hot air balloon. And like all machines, when one piece isn't working properly the safety of the balloon is jeopardised as are the passengers enjoying the hot air balloon ride.
This is why it's so important that a balloons health is sustained. But sustaining it isn't easy or cheap, but it highly regulated to ensure there aren't any unsafe balloons offering hot air balloons ride to passengers.
Hot Air Balloon Regulations
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has a duty to regulate all hot air balloons that fly both commercially and privately. This includes ensuring all pilots wanting to fly are qualified and able to do so after passing a number of exams and a practical flying test with a CAA member on board.
They also ensure these air-crafts undergo inspections when they are required to do. This is either once a year, or after the balloon has flown 100 hours and the inspection must be undertaken by an independent company. This is because they are specialised in the areas of balloon engineering and use machines that are able to detect wear and tear in the fabric that must be replaced, which would be missed by the untrained eye.
Of course generally all balloon air-craft pilots are able to make minor repairs to any damage on the balloon to keep passengers safe until they are able to get it properly fixed. Not all of these air-crafts need to be grounded on account of a faulty gas burner or a chipped wooden basket. These can easily be temporarily repaired safely so that passengers are able to board the next hot air balloon ride.
Safety On Board
But it's not just the strong winds and low flying animals pilots have to be wary of whilst navigating a hot air balloon ride, they also have to be careful of on board safety. This includes keeping a fire extinguisher to hand, as the fuel tanks and burners can get extremely hot and at times catch fire. Although this is in only very small number of cases, it is still possible so keeping a fire extinguisher on every hot air balloon ride ensures everyone is safe throughout.
So now you know why these air-crafts need to be maintained regularly throughout the year, and why it's so important for passenger's sake that there are high regulations!