BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Crowds gathered outside of the Mastropietro Winery in Berlin Township, waiting for the hot air balloons to take off.
Although they are always a lovely sight to see from the ground, a lot of work goes into flying the hot air balloons.
“It’s an FAA regulation. We are certified pilots with the U.S. Department of Transportation,” said pilot Rick Cohut. “It requires two solo flights, a written exam, an oral exam and then an exam with a designated FAA flight instructor and examiner.”
Cohut said weather plays more of a factor for hot air balloons than planes.
“Our general flight area is from ground level up to about 3,000 feet, so we need to know what’s going on in that particular layer of atmosphere,” Cohut said.
The balloon uses more heat to rise than it takes to heat up the average household.
“One of these burners put out about 15 million BTU’s of heat. A general house, heats up your house probably around 175,000 to 200,000,” he said.
The balloon can rip, but Cohut said it is unlikely just to fall straight to the ground.
“Things can happen, a bird can fly through it, but we also learn how to [handle it] in the mist of situations, emergencies,” Cohut said.
In general, Cohut said hot air balloons are a very safe form of travel.
“Actually, ballooning is the safest form of aviation by virtue of what the FAA has determined.”
If you’re interested in taking a hot air balloon ride, there are a few spots in northeast Ohio, including in Canton, Akron and Kent.