Balloon Pilot Training, Flying Lessons


Balloon Excelsior, Inc.
Balloon Flight School
Phone
209 825 5372
info@balloonexcelsior.com


Balloon Excelsior is the oldest Balloon Flight School in the country. We have taught hundreds of students and have been in business longer than any other FAA-approved school. Our instructors meet the high standards required by Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 61. You can start from scratch with us, add-on a balloon rating, or complete a course of instruction started elsewhere.

We offer two courses in our school:

PRIVATE PILOT-LIGHTER-THAN-AIR-FREE BALLOON
and
COMMERCIAL PILOT-LIGHTER-THAN-AIR-FREE BALLOON

The Private course is based on 10 hours of flight training and 10 hours of ground training; the Commercial course is 20 or 35 hours of flight training and 20 hours of ground training.

To enroll in the Commercial course, an applicant must hold an FAA Private certificate, which can be in any category of aircraft. If a Student certificate is required, it will be issued prior to the start of instruction for those enrolling in the Private course.

Our courses, which exceed minimum FAA requirements, include at least the following subjects: aircraft familiarization, preflight preparation, inflation and launch procedures, level flight, ascents and descents, crew briefing, Federal Aviation
Regulations, emergency and abnormal situations, high altitude and long distance planning and flying, cold weather and mountain flying, balloon maintenance and preservation, landowner and agricultural considerations, and, for the Commercial course, fundamentals of instruction and learning.

All flight instruction is individual; it can be completed in only a few days, depending on your requirements and the weather. We do not offer paid rides or operate commercial or logo balloons, so we won't bump you for passengers or commercial flights. When you schedule your training, we reserve dates just for you.


PRIVATE PILOT CERTIFICATE COURSE

To be eligible to enroll, an applicant must be at least 16 years old, able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language, and hold at least a Student pilot certificate, which must be issued before enrollment The course includes a minimum of 10 hours of flight time, which includes a flight to 5000 feet, 2 solo flights, and 10 hours of ground training. A passing score on 3 written tests is required for certification: the FAA Private Pilot Free Balloon Knowledge Test, the Balloon Excelsior Pre-solo written test, and the Balloon Excelsior Final written test.

COMMERCIAL PILOT CERTIFICATE COURSE

To be eligible to enroll, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language, and hold at least a Private pilot certificate in any category. The course includes a minimum of 20 or 35 hours of flight time, which include a flight to 5000 feet and 2 solo flights, and 20 hours of ground training. A passing score on 3 written tests is required for certification: the FAA Commercial Pilot Free Balloon Knowledge Test, the Balloon Excelsior Pre-solo written test, and the Balloon Excelsior Final written test.

The final stage of both courses is a flight and oral review by an instructor, to determine that the student has the required knowledge, judgment, and proficiency to pass the FAA Practical Test (certification flight). At the conclusion of this review, the student will either be graduated from the course and recommended for a Certification Flight, or be advised in which areas more instruction or practice is required.

At the completion of training, the student will be prepared for certification in accordance with all pertinent FAA regulations. The fee for the FAA Practical Test, charged by an FAA Examiner, is usually around $350.

Our courses are very demanding. Students must be prepared for intensive training and must be in good health. Home study is required.


EQUIPMENT

We are not tied to any manufacturer, and work with many brands of balloons. We offer a discount to students who train in their own balloon once the balloon has been inspected for airworthiness by our FAA-Approved Balloon Repair Station (Air Agency WD3R941L). We often have used balloons in stock at excellent prices for the student who wishes to buy a balloon.

INSTRUCTORS

Our instructors have trained hundreds of students and have many years of experience. They are also repairmen in our Repair Station and as part of flight instruction teach students balloon preservation and preventive maintenance for longer balloon life.

Brent Stockwell, our Chief Flight Instructor, started ballooning in 1966, taught his first student in 1971, and has logged over 5,000 hours in balloons.

COURSE MATERIALS

Our Balloon Ground School Home Study Manual was written in response to the need for one book to provide all the information necessary to prepare for the FAA Knowledge Tests for the Balloon Private and Commercial Certificate, the pre solo written test, and the Practical Test. How To Fly A Balloon incorporates many of the ideas taught in the school, and was the basis for the FAA's official Balloon Flying Handbook.

At enrollment, each student receives the following:

    Certificate of Enrollment.
    Preflight, Inflation, and Landing Checklists.
    Curriculum Outline.
    Safety Procedures and Practices.
    Balloon Ground School Home Study Manual
    How To Fly A Balloon


RATES AND TERMS

                            Rates:                                                               Private      Commercial

                            Student provides balloon, all equipment,
                            propane, insurance, chase vehicle and crew         $2,200      $2,800 for 20 Hours / $3,200 for 35 Hours

                             We provide all equipment and crew                    $3,000      $4,000 for 20 Hours / $5,000 for 35 Hours

All hours beyond the course minimums will be billed at $350. Rates are based on students having passing grades on appropriate FAA Knowledge Tests, and/or an FAA powered-aircraft certificate which eliminates the need to take the FAA written tests. Discounts are available if student buys a balloon from us. Students with properly documented balloon flight training may be offered a reduction in fees after a flight test to determine if any portions of the Balloon Excelsior curriculum have been met.

A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required to schedule training; a positive balance must be maintained. Prices are subject to change without notice.


FAA KNOWLEDGE TESTS

To allow us to complete your training course and issue your certificate as soon as you have finished your flight training, you should, if possible, complete the required FAA Knowledge Test before you begin flying.

Students taking the Private Pilot course must have a passing grade on the FAA Knowledge Test entitled Private Pilot Balloon (PBH). Students taking the Commercial Pilot course must have a passing grade on Commercial Pilot Balloon (CBH).

Two national computer testing companies offer the FAA knowledge tests:

CATS 1-800-947-4228
SYLVAN PROMETRIC 1-800-369-3278

You can call the companies to find the location nearest you.

All companies require advance payment, and prefer credit card. Payment may be made by money order mailed in advance.

When you call the testing company to make an appointment, be prepared to provide the following information: Name, mailing address. Birthdate. Birthplace. Height, Weight, Hair, and Eye color. Social Security Number. Credit Card Info: Name, number, expiration date.

You must have a Written Test Recommendation, which we will provide. Please remember to ask for it.

You must show 2 forms of identification, one with a photo (passport, drivers license); both must have your signature.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION/BALLOON FLIGHT TRAINING

Airport Pickup. Students can be met at Oakland, San Francisco, or Sacramento Airport for no charge.

Google Map of our location in Manteca."
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Lodging. Many motels and hotels are nearby. Often, there is a room and auto available for use. Please ask about availability.

Clothing. Please wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts of natural fabric (cotton, linen, silk, leather), sturdy shoes or boots, and leather gloves.

FAA Test Preparation. If the student is unable to take the FAA Knowledge Test before beginning flight training, we ask that it be completed by lesson 4. Study materials are sent as soon as we receive a deposit. We will spend several hours helping the student prepare for the test at no charge. If significant time is required, the charge is $50/hour.

Study Materials. Students are provided How To Fly A Balloon and the Balloon Ground School Home Study Manual as part of the course fee. If a student has already bought the books, we will refund the cost of the books.

Hourly Rates. The course fee includes 10 hours for the Private course and 20 or 35 hours for the Commercial course. Additional hours required to complete the course will be billed at $350 in our balloon or $230 in the student's balloon.

If a student has previous, documented training which fulfills some of the requirements of our curriculum, and consequently does not require the full course flight time, we will credit the student with previous experience and charge at the hourly rates stated above.

Payment Terms. The course fee is based on advance payment. We require a $1000 non-refundable deposit to reserve dates with the balance to be paid when training begins. Payment is to be made in US dollars.

Balloon Excelsior, Inc.
P. O. Box 4055
711 Industrial Park Drive

Manteca CA 95337
209 825 4290
info@balloonexcelsior.com

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