Hot air balloon

Includes: Hot air balloon Outdoors, Adventurous activities, In the air

Age:
5+
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Up, up and away

Soar into the sky in a hot air balloon and see the earth from way up high. Even Rainbows can take part in this adventure!

Overview

In this activity, a passenger-carrying basket, usually with an open flame at the centre, is suspended beneath a large balloon inflated with hot air. 

To take girls in a hot air balloon, you will need to find a local provider with a qualified pilot.

Hot air ballooning is an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures.

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0

Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

All operators must be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and should be able to produce a Declared Balloon Operator number. This number, which will start with GBR.DTO. means they are fully qualified to carry out your flight and their balloons and procedures are maintained to a high standard and are fully insured.

The pilot must:

If the pilot is the only adult travelling in the hot air balloon, they must have completed a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check and be able to provide the certificate number and date of issue.

The pilot should brief participants on:

  • The use of safety and other equipment the purpose of the flight.
  • Sensations likely to be experienced when flying.

All aircraft used by members of Girlguiding must be insured. The Leader must ensure the pilot’s insurance complies with the guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Before entering the airfield, you must ensure that you have permission from the controlling authority, and that all girls and adults are instructed on the airfield layout and safety requirements.

Activity ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, physical ability or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: 1:5, at least 2 adults
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: 1 Girlguiding leader

At least 1 Girlguiding leader must be in the hot air balloon with the girls.

Qualified adult/participant ratio

The qualified adult should determine what size of group is safe. There must be enough qualified adults to ensure the safety of all participants.

This will be determined by any limitations placed on their qualification or permit, or by the rules of their operating organisation as well as the risk assessment. It should taken into consideration the location, weather and experience of both the qualified adult and other participants. This risk assessment should be assessed by the leader and any concerns raised to the qualified adult.

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities