The Meanings


Another term for a hot air balloon. A lighter than air craft.


The science of lighter than air flight.


Above ground level.


The portion of the balloon designed to carry the pilot, passenger, fuel tanks, and other equipment. Also referred to as the gondola. Usually constructed from wicker and light wood base.

British Thermal Unit - BTU

The quantity of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius). It is approximately 1.055 kilojoules.


Device used to ignite and project flammable fuel (usually propane gas) up into the envelope to heat the air in a hot-air balloon.


A "D", or "O" shaped locking metal clamp used to connect things together (in particular, load cables to baskets, or tie-off lines to retrieve vehicles).


Also referred to as the "recovery" or more frequently "retrieve"; the process by which the balloon is tracked during flight and retrieved afterwards by crew on the ground.

Chase Crew

The crew that chases the balloon. Often referred to as the retrieve crew.


The top of the balloon envelope.

Crown Line

A rope which, at one end, is fastened to the top (or crown) of the balloon envelope, and at the other end, is used by a member of the crew to help stabilize the balloon during inflation and deflation. It is usually a good 50-100 feet (15-30 meters) longer than the balloon is tall.

Crown Ring

The ring of metal at the top of the envelope to which all the load tapes are attached.

Drop Line

A rope, belt or other line attached to the aerostat (usually the gondola) on one end. Normally furled or stowed during flight, it can be released by the pilot and secured by ground crewmembers who use it to maneuver the craft into or through tight areas.


The portion of the balloon which holds the heated air (for hot-air balloons) or gas for gas balloons. Constructed of cloth such as ripstop nylon or nomex, or other light, relatively impermeable material.


See basket.


An aerostat where the pilot sits in a chair or harness underneath the envelope, as opposed to standing in a basket.

Inflator Fan

Hot air can't be directly put into the envelope it first has to be filled with cold air using the inflator fan. Only then can this air be heated using the burner. Before fans, the balloon had to be flap inflated.


The opening at the base of the balloon envelope through which the flames from the burner passes to heat the air inside the envelope. This is sometimes referred to as the 'throat'...


Above Mean Sea Level


Fire-resistant material that the scoop and bottom section of the envelope are made of.


A specialized-shape skirt which, on American balloons, narrows to an inch or two on one side and widens to extend all the way from the top of the poles to the base of the envelope proper, forming a tilted mouth. The idea of the scoop is to provide better control of the aerostat's orientation. Ideally, the front (or main part of the scoop) will always be kept in the direction of travel. It may also aid in keeping the envelope full.


The cloth segment of the envelope below the load cable connections, frequently detachable, often made of Nomex or similar fire-resistant material.

Know the Meanings

The most important term is YES. Call and book your hot air balloon ride now at 1-850-972-8808