I look forward to you flying as a passenger in my balloon. Please read this form so you will be better informed about this sport. Since man first conquered gravity and left the ground, any form of aviation has contained certain risks. I believe it is important for each passenger to understand the critical aspects of a flight, and that they assume the risks inherent in that flight, including the chance of personal injury and loss of life or property. The three elements of safety in each flight can be summarized as follows:
1. WEATHER: Ballooning is strictly a fair weather sport. Assuming reasonably good visibility, the key consideration is wind speed. Generally, a launch is not feasible when the winds exceed 10 miles per hour. We only schedule flights in the early morning or late afternoon when the winds are calm and predictable. I reserve final judgment based on the weather conditions at the launch site. If weather conditions cause a cancellation, the flight will be rescheduled.
2. EQUIPMENT: The balloon equipment is maintained to the most exacting standards as required by the FAA.The important considerations are the structural integrity of the balloon and the generation of heat which gives the balloon lift. Heat is generated by a burner which utilizes propane to create an intense flame. Propane, a highly combustible fuel, is carried on board the balloon in metal/aluminum fuel tanks. The burner, which is used to vaporize and ignite the liquid propane, is very powerful and very hot.
There is a risk of serious heat burns should you come in contact with the burners or cold burns should you come in contact with the propane fuel.
3. PILOT JUDGMENT AND CONTROL: I am licensed by the FAA as a commercial pilot, qualified to carry passengers in lighter than aircraft (hot air balloons). I have undergone specific training in the flying of hot air balloons, and have demonstrated knowledge of weather conditions and local flying hazards.
As with any aircraft, the most critical times in a balloon flight are the take-off and landing. Because of the absence of any directional control in a hot air balloon, other than up and down, landing sites are limited to those in the direct path of the balloon as determined by the air currents near the earthís surface.
As a result, the approach to a landing site, as well as the landing itself, involves potential contact with hazardous objects such as trees, power lines, fences, etc. Actual contact with the ground may also be hazardous if a rapid descent is required due to a small landing area. Upon contact with the ground at moderate to high wind speeds, the windís natural effect on the balloon may cause the basket to tip over horizontally and drag to a stop. During such a landing, the risk of injury including sprains, broken bones and cuts or contusions is greater, and you must follow the pilotís instructions to avoid bumping into objects in the basket or into other passengers.
Normally, however, we can gently glide into a landing site at a moderate rate of descent and come to an upright stop with only a few minor bumps along the ground. You are welcome to bring a camera along on the flight, but the pilot cannot be responsible for damage to your personal property, or for damage/injury that may be caused by your personal property.
IN SUMMARY: I hope this information is helpful to you and that it provides both an understanding of the potential risks involved with hot air ballooning, and reassurance that our flights are conducted in a safe and responsible manner. A guarantee against adverse weather conditions, mechanical failure, or landing conditions is impossible, therefore, I must ask that you accept such risks which are inherent in this form of aviation. In order to be sure that you understand and assume these risks, I ask that you and all other persons in your flight party so indicate by signing and dating this form below. If you have children under the age of 18 in your party, please sign below on their behalf.
Please also be aware that you will traveling roundtrip from our meeting site to the launch site and back to the meeting site in our chase vehicle. All persons who drive our vehicles are safe drivers who have your best interests in mind and who are licensed and insured in the state of Tennessee. Our vehicles are also regularily maintained to be in good mechanical condition. We do not, however, accept any liability for the actions of other drivers on the road or for the mechanical condition of their vehicle.
NO FLIGHT WILL TAKE PLACE WITHOUT THIS FORM SIGNED BY ALL PASSENGERS ON BOARD THAT FLIGHT. ANY PASSENGER MAY ELECT NOT TO SIGN THIS FORM, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO BOARD THE BALLOON.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY:
I have read this form and understand the risks involved in a hot air balloon flight, including possible injury and death. I expressly accept such risks and hereby release Jeff Lansdown, dba Smoky Mountain Balloon Adventures, and his ground crew from any liability arising out of such flight or any activities directly or indirectly related thereto.
SIGNED:__________________________________DATE:________________________ SIGNED:__________________________________DATE:________________________ SIGNED:__________________________________DATE:________________________ SIGNED:__________________________________DATE:________________________
Welcome Aboard, and Bon Voyage !!
Developed in 1998 for Smoky Mountain Balloon Adventures by my very good friend and technology guru, Rodney Williams.