Why Do Hot Air Balloons Fly In The Early Morning And Late Evening?

Why do hot air balloons fly in the early morning and late evening?

Hot air balloons are a fun way to enjoy the beauty of nature, offering an opportunity for people to experience what it's like to fly. But if you've ever looked into booking a hot air balloon ride you might find that there's limited time slots available.

Most ballooners only offer sunrise and sunset cruises. But why are mornings and evenings preferred?

Let's see why.

Simple Science

One basic science concept is that hot air rises. Pilots use this principle by heating the air inside a hot air balloon envelope which makes the air molecules inside the envelope lighter than those surrounding it. The hotter the air, the more lift it can provide which is why ballooners typically heat their balloons to around 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot air rises because hot molecules are less dense and therefore take up a greater amount of space per molecule.

This is why hot air balloons are typically flown in the early morning or late evening hours when temperatures are cooler than during midday.

Other Factors to Consider

The time of day is also dependent on how you plan to travel during your balloon ride and what the goal for that particular trip may be. For instance, if there are many points of interest and scenic views on the agenda, then it's best to fly in the early morning or evening hours when there's less traffic.

During summer months, many pilots prefer to fly early in the morning because it can provide a relief from the heat and allow them to achieve higher altitudes without hitting dangerously high temperatures.

In the winter months, pilots typically fly in the early morning hours when there's a high pressure system present and little to no wind because they provide ideal conditions for flying. Other factors that determine the ideal flight time can be location as well as potential weather patterns along the desired flight path.

Wind patterns are typically the most difficult factor to determine what time is best because they change rapidly. Though wind forecasts are usually available a few days prior, which helps pilots make their flight plans, things happen. Historically, hot air balloon rides have a very high cancellation rate because of the unpredictability of wind, which makes flight dangerous.

Unfortunately, there's not an easy way to determine if it will be windy or calm on any given day, but pilots typically prefer early morning flights because they provide them with more options in case conditions don't work out.


As long as you have an experienced pilot and good weather conditions, most times will be a great time for flying.

If you're looking to find a hot air balloon ride and have specific time constraints, it's best to contact your local provider directly for further information. Most companies offer morning flights from around the hours of 5AM to 12PM and later flights between 3PM to 7PM.

It's important to remember that the time of day will be reliant on what works best for the pilot and their schedule.