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Ballooning - 65th birthday present for mum?

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DanceLikeAMon...
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PostPosted: 12:10 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Ballooning - 65th birthday present for mum? Reply with quote

It's my mum's 65th Birthday at the end of next month and I haven't got a clue what to get her (I'd actually forgotten it was the 65th until she mentioned it casually the other day Embarassed )

She's yer typical "I don't want anything special" type mother which doesn't help, and the best I can think of so far is a hot air balloon ride.

It would cost a couple of hundred quid for an hours flying for her and my stepdad (thinks it's 3 hours overall including glass of champagne and training stuff). Has anyone actually been on one of these trips? Are they worth the money?

If that's a crappy idea, can anyone think of anything else?

Cheers chums Thumbs Up
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GhostRider
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PostPosted: 12:26 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's a great idea, the missus' mom has bought it for her husband, it's ideal as it doesn't require any real effort, is picturesque, and shows you've thought a bit about it in order to get something a little unorthodox.

However, I would not enjoy it myself, I have skydived from 13,000ft and bungee jumped from 150ft, but I think if I went in a hot air balloon I would genuinely curl up in the basket and weep for my mommys bosom. The missus has 'joked' that she'll get one for my birthday, I hope to dear god she is joking.

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fatpies
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PostPosted: 12:48 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bear in mind balloons need VERY good weather conditions to fly in.

This year there have been multiple hot airballoon skydives. All of them have been called off due to bad weather.
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DanceLikeAMon...
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PostPosted: 13:04 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. Yeah, looking at reviews is seems like a lot of people have multiple cancellations before they finally get the ride.

Both of them are retired so hopefully they would be flexible enough to just book one day and go the next (if they let you do that)

GhostRider - did your lasses dad use his voucher yet? Do you know if it was a hassle actually getting a slot sorted?
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GhostRider
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PostPosted: 14:13 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah is birthday aint till end of February so I expect will be some time before a slot is booked and whathaveyou.

But that's the nature of it really, when I did my skydive I travelled 60 miles to wait around 5 hours to be told weather wasn't going to get any better and was not suitable, drove 60 miles back, re-booked and came back a month later where the missus got sun burned badly cuz the weather was awesome so 240 mile round trip to get it done, but worth it in the end, can't moan about it though, it's britain and it's the weather, it's to be expected....

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delsol
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PostPosted: 14:42 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the ballooning idea is a great gift.

From what you said it seems that only your mum and step-dad get to go in the balloon, an alternative might be a 45 minute flying lesson in a 4 seater, so all three of you and the pilot, bit cheaper too from the first link I looked at and maybe not so weather dependant.

If the airport is relatively close bring a camera and get the pilot to fly over your house for an aerial photograph for a memento.

Here's a link http://www.intotheblue.co.uk/flying-experiences/fly/flying-lessons/

Whatever you do, hope you have great day.

delsol
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Snodvan
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PostPosted: 15:47 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a ballon flight for my 65th - brilliant

However, it took over 8 months to get the actual flight because weather conditions have to be JUST right. The 8 month delay involved at least 3 trips to the launch site only to be told conditions had changed and the flight was 'off'.

Be prepared for that

Normally they offer morning or afternoon flights. Depending how far you have to travel to the launch site a morning flight can involve a VERY early start because you have to allow for at least an hour of preparation (balloon unpack & inflate) before launch and you MUST be there for that. NOTE - they take off and land from fields and those will likely have long grass - in the morning that grass can be sodden with dew - and an hour in the air with wet trousers is not fun.

My advice would be an afternoon flight. If timed right (and the pilots are real professionals) then the evening sun across the landscape shows up all the topography really well

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DanceLikeAMon...
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PostPosted: 17:01 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

delsol wrote:
From what you said it seems that only your mum and step-dad get to go in the balloon, an alternative might be a 45 minute flying lesson in a 4 seater, so all three of you and the pilot, bit cheaper too from the first link I looked at and maybe not so weather dependant.

Nice idea, but they've done the small plane and helicopter ride thing before on previous gifts so thought this might be something new for them to try.
Snodvan wrote:
I had a ballon flight for my 65th - brilliant

Good to hear it. Nice tip about the morning booking as well. It's 20 cheaper so was going to go for that, but sounds like the afernoon one is worth the extra.

Think I'll go for it. Even if it does take a few months, still means I've done my son duties and got a decent present!

Thanks for the advice everyone.
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JFK
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PostPosted: 21:19 - 27 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

My gran had it for her birthday a few years ago, she really enjoyed it.
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Rogerborg
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PostPosted: 00:06 - 28 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://theweddingstationer.com/information/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/rampantrabbitthreeway.jpg

Then she can get you some therapy, it's win-win.
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621andy
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PostPosted: 12:20 - 30 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my day job Wink

I would personally suggest a morning flight; usually more certain weatherwise, unless its early or late in the season, when fog might be a problem.
Evenings are usually spent stood around waiting for the wind/temperature to drop to ensure stable conditions....On a morning flight, the weather has had all night to settle down.

Mornings are generally much nicer to fly anyway; cooler and mist hanging in valleys add to the view.
We don't like getting up early unneccesarily so the pilot is less likely to call the flight on if the weather looks dodgy Wink He's more likely to go and 'have a look' on an evening.

I don't fly in the UK any more (due to the aforementioned weather problems Rolling Eyes ) but may be able to recommend an operator local to you if you give me a location.

They will need to be patient/flexible if they really want to fly; the world and their wife want to fly on a sunday afternoon(actually evening) , but if they're available weekday mornings, then obviously there's 5x more chances to fly! Might even get a weekday discount... Wink
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Robby
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PostPosted: 16:25 - 30 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how you're booking it, but it goes without saying that a ballooning club would be a better place to make enquiries than red letter days or similar.

Weather will always be against you. I'm not sure on price differentials for ballooning, but for many forms of recreational aviation it can be cheaper to go over to the continent (Spain in particular) to do it.
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 18:40 - 30 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you sure you want to do this to your mother as a birthday present?

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ballooning

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Paivi
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PostPosted: 19:45 - 30 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't bother reading the thread, but if she's ballooning, how about a gastric band? Wink
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MissEd
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PostPosted: 20:26 - 30 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to go...

I'm into fast and furious things, but think the contrast, slow and peaceful sounds lovely, esp if it includes champagne at dawn.

Weather is a problem here, but with a bit of patience I think it will be worth it.
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DanceLikeAMon...
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PostPosted: 09:36 - 31 Dec 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

621andy wrote:
I don't fly in the UK any more (due to the aforementioned weather problems Rolling Eyes ) but may be able to recommend an operator local to you if you give me a location.

Thanks. They live in Newcastle and I believe that there are balloon flights from Hexham so if you know any reputable type places in the North East that would be great.

They are both retired so there's no problem when they go. Interesting what you say about mornings.
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