Freedom Flight Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, educational corporation seeking to honor the sacrifices of military personal and to increase the awareness of the POW-MIA issue through the use of our Hot Air Balloons.
The organization is composed entirely of volunteers who give their time, talent and money to keep the balloons flying at different events across the country and throughout the world. With this request for information we hope to be of assistance in your possibly utilizing the Freedom Flight Hot Air Balloon Team at your next event and we certainly appreciate the opportunity to participate at your celebration.
FLYING CRITERIA . . . FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW
• The balloon cannot fly in rain, fog, or during snowfall.
• A hot air balloon should fly only in wind speeds of less than 10 miles per hour. Balloons usually fly just after dawn or before dusk, because there is less wind speed and
it is more stable at these times.
• When the sun is more than 40 degrees above the horizon, especially during the summer, the balloon cannot fly free or tether due to heat thermals, wind, and other conditions that pose a safety threat.
Generally we can fly for 2 hours after sunrise to the last 2 hours before
• If any question arises regarding whether the balloon can safely fly or be tethered, the decision is made by the pilot on site. The pilot's decision is final.
Tether operations must be done when winds are calm, generally less then 5 - 7 miles per hour.
The tether site should be a minimum area of approximately 250 feet square, free of power lines, light poles, fences and other potential hazards. Ground cover must be grassy (short) with no gravel. No parking lot tethers will be done due to potential damage to balloon envelope and basket.
Each tether will require a minimum of three cars or trucks (with keys) and with a ball hitch to tie off the tether lines for the balloon.
Our pilots attend annual certified balloon safety seminars. The most important word for flying hot air balloons is safety. Freedom Flight Balloons will not fly should there be any possibility of jeopardizing the safety in any way of the pilot, passengers, crew and or equipment. The decision to fly is made by the pilot in command for the event. The pilot will rely on aviation weather reports as well as pilot and crew's observation of weather conditions on site at the time of projected launch. Again, to fly or tether is the pilot's decision.
HOW MANY PEOPLE FIT IN A BALLOON BASKET?
This depends on the amount of passengers, their weights and the temperature of the day. We currently have three balloons which each can carry up to three or four passengers, plus the pilot.
PROMOTING YOUR EVENT
The terms most often used in promoting any balloon event is "WEATHER PERMITTING." Please use this phrase in all of your promotional material, as it significantly reduces observer and rider disappointment should weather conditions be inappropriate.
Upon Freedom Flight's acceptance of your event and receipt of your deposit, you are given permission to utilize the Freedom Flight Hot Air Balloon Logo and event information on all advertising prior to the event, preferably two weeks prior. Television footage of the Freedom Flight Hot Air Balloon is available from Freedom Flight for use in local television commercials to promote the event.
Hot Air Balloons are especially attractive within camera lenses and if your event is covered by the media, please target the balloon for promotion. Both print photographers and television camera crews are usually drawn to the balloon and crews and pilots are experienced in dealing with media representatives. Coverage of the Freedom Flight Balloon in your local press or television is very valuable for increasing the awareness of the message brought by the balloon as well as spreading a message that our POW-MIA's will never be forgotten.
We request from you 4-8 volunteers for each scheduled ride or tether to assist Freedom Flight in launching the balloon which is essentially a 6-8-person task. A similar number is needed for helping to deflate the balloon and repack it at the end of the event. If free flights are a part of your program we then require the assistance of a knowledgeable area resident to help us negotiate unfamiliar roads. Assistance with sales and crowd control is also an important part of the event.
The base expense for a one-day flight event is $600, a weekend event is $850. A weekend event for example, covers a schedule such as a flight or tether Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning.
Unless your event site is within St. Cloud, MN area, the expenditure for transporting the balloon is $0.55 cents per mile, although subject to change, (this condition is required due to uncertainty of fuel prices) These expenses need to be paid when the balloon team arrives.
A per diem cost of $25 per person per/day is also required (for pilot and crew chief).
LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL EXPENDITURES
Events further than 500 land miles from St. Cloud, Minnesota will require the pilot and crew chief to fly via commercial airlines to your event. This will require additional expense costs for two round trip tickets (Northwest Airlines) from St. Cloud to the airport nearest to your event.
Note that additional crew members will be needed to transport the balloon and trailer via ground.
The cost per diem of $25 per person per/day is required along with hotel/motel room expenditures for each. Please, no private homes.
Additional time must be allocated to assure crew and equipment arrival in ample time prior to the start of your scheduled event. (There may be certain circumstances where the balloon and equipment may be shipped via commercial carrier).
BALLOON FUEL COSTS
When the balloon is transferred by trailer we will arrive with full propane tanks. Your event is responsible for replenishing our propane tanks immediately after each use of the balloon.
Availability and costs of propane fuel varies and should be negotiated by sponsor within the local community as we may require access to propane late in the evenings and again early in the mornings. When we arrive with full tanks we depart with full tanks. If the balloon is transported by a freight company the propane tanks will arrive in your community empty and will leave empty.
TETHER FLIGHT COSTS
Tethers are generally more stressful on equipment and crew than free flying flights. Sponsorship costs are computed on the basis of one propane tank fill plus the balloon depreciation per hour. Tethers involve flying until propane tanks are empty. We cannot remove empty tanks for refilling to prolong the tether event. An attempt to prolong the tether promotes excess wear on the balloon.
Please remember the depreciation approximates $200/per hour of balloon inflation. Most commercial operators charge $1,500 per tether.
- Scheduled dates for events are set on a first come first served basis and depend on when your deposit arrives.
- A request to participate 90 days or sooner in advance of the event date must be accompanied by a $600 or $850 expenditure deposit (depending on the length of your event).
- Requested dates of 120 days ahead or more requires the same expenditure deposit of $850 or $600 at 120 days prior to the event.
- The dates of your request must be available according to Freedom Flight's Event Coordinator and must accompany the deposit along with this signed document.
- We will maintain a freewill donation bucket on site the day of any tethers to help defray the additional costs for this type of an event.
ABOUT THE DONATION
Your donation is tax deductible under IRS guidelines regarding our nonprofit status as a 501-(c)-3 organization. As Freedom Flight, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, sales of balloon rides on site are not allowed by most events. Please talk to the individual pilot for further details.
Again, participation of the balloon is weather permitting. Sometimes there are circumstances which weather will not permit a flight during an entire weekend. However, the balloon and crew will be available to you during your event to talk to media, meet community members, or possibly participate in parades or similar exhibitions. Fees agreed upon must be paid regardless of the balloons ability to fly when present at your event. If a weekend should be completely non-flyable, Freedom Flight is willing to negotiate fees for participation at your following event. All fees must be paid prior to our arrival at your event.
FUND RAISING ACTIVITIES
We encourage organizations to hold pre-event fundraising activities should those be needed. This may include raffling a ride on Freedom Flight or involve raffles to sell Freedom Flight merchandise, an appropriate tie-in to the appearance of the balloon at your event. We would be quite willing to discuss, our participation in any fundraising activity which you may have planned. Fund raising should be done well in advance so that donation deadlines will not become problematic for you.
We also would anticipate having the opportunity for sales of our balloon related merchandise such as jackets, T-shirts, sweat shirts, hats, pins and other Freedom Flight memorabilia. If possible please ask for two volunteers to help with this.
PRE-EVENT CHECK LIST
1. Inform local newspapers and media about your up coming event.
2. Schedule activities. Depending on the nature of your event, you will need to schedule 4-8 volunteers.
3. Collect donation money.
4. Face paint/distribute POW-MIA stickers.
5. Consider a contest for the day of the event. Arrange to bring a fishbowl or box to collect names. Prizes to consider: T-shirts, hats, patches, flags, etc.
6. Keep Freedom Flight informed of what you are doing. Send us copies of any press or media contact you make.
7. Include announcements about your upcoming event in your ads prior to the event: for example "The Freedom Flight Hot Air Balloon will be flying at __________. See you there!
8. Contact your Pilot to confirm all details.
9. Hint: Make it an ice-cream social or hot dog roast. (Tie-in with sponsors such as TCBY or Dairy Queen).
ON SITE DAY OF EVENT CHECKLIST
1. Arrive at least one hour prior to event to setup.
2. Take candid photos of crowd and event. Freedom Flight regularly utilizes these photos on it's website which offers your organization an additional means of promoting your event.
3. Assist in crowd control, especially those waiting in line for tethers.
4. Assist passengers in and out of balloon basket. Essentially, there are virtually no physical restrictions on who may enter a basket for a tether.
5. Setup signs and directional posters.
6. Setup table for merchandise sales. We will need two people to help with sale of freedom flight merchandise.
7. We will need four or five people to help with the balloon and several more for tether and possibly even more if tethered rides are given.
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(This signed document must accompany your deposit)
Please be advised that the conditions stated herein are firmly established after a number of years of scheduling similar events. We find these expectations will help insure the most enjoyable and beneficial involvement for all persons involved, sponsors, riders and Freedom Flight.
The conditions herein cannot be altered except as by written addendum signed by event sponsor and only with approval of the majority of the Freedom Flight board of directors.
Contact person: (your name) ____________________________________________
Event: (describe) ______________________________________________________
Dates requested: _______________________________________________________
With pilot and crew chief coordinate your balloon volunteers. I have read the above material and understand the conditions under which one of the Freedom Flight Balloons will appear at the proposed event.
Signed: _______________________________ Date:_________________________