Up In The Air

One of our office’s primary focuses is to share information about our destination. We talk about our many visitor offerings—places to relax and explore while on vacation. So when we met Richard Parr of Mystic Venture, we were excited to give you the details about his visitor-related business. Imagine chasing clouds at a thousand feet up in the air, looking at incredible landscapes from above and then enjoying a celebratory finish with champagne. It’s an experience everyone should try at least once, whether for special occasions or the sheer adventure of seeing what’s around the bend.

The Venture
A venture can be described as daring and a hot air balloon ride certainly appeals to adventurous souls but also to the romantic, curious, or spontaneous type of individual. Surprise loved ones(if they like surprises, this is a nifty one), take your child for a family outing, or grab some friends and enjoy the ride. Children who are slightly taller than the basket will enjoy their bird’s eye view and Mystic Venture can accommodate three guests along with pilot Richard Parr (there is a weight limit of 350 pounds and at times, less during the warmer months). The smaller balloons give a personal feel as compared with the larger balloons. Even those who are afraid of heights will forget their fears, especially once they’re up in the air and in awe of the chance to float among the clouds and see patches of green below.

Flexibility is key, as this is a weather-determined experience, so when you plan, keep in mind that the wind and weather might impact the scheduling and possible rescheduling. The hot air balloon ride is approximately one hour. You will meet pilot Richard Parr at a launch site and a chase crew will follow your journey from the road once you’re in the air. You might see multiple cities while in the sky, and on a clear day, you can see Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro, all on the same flight. After the ride, indulge with cheese and crackers and your choice of champagne or a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage. Hot air balloon rides are available year-round and are optimal in spring, fall, and winter, in the morning or early evening. In the summertime, early mornings are best. It’s also a great experience to add to your overnight getaway; just check availability through Mystic Venture and keep the weather, and alternative activities, in mind.

Mystic Venture occasionally attends festivals and offers tethered hot air balloon experiences, which are ideal for children. Ten minutes of a thrilling and joyful time in the air, waving to mom and dad as they take photos, and then back down–these factors make it the right amount of time for kids. Hot air balloons are inspected annually by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and must be flown by a commercial pilot licensed to offer flight services for hire. Additionally, pilots are required to maintain current status and must have flown a certain number of hours, all of which Mystic Venture is certified and licensed to do.

The Pilot
Richard Parr is an experienced pilot, and not just in the realm of hot air ballooning. He’s a certified commercial pilot with a clear passion for aviation. Parr has been flying airplanes since he was 15 and has now banked more than 50 years of aviation experience. He was in the Air Force, he has served as an instructor, and in addition to hot air balloons, he can fly gliders, sea planes, and his own aircraft, which includes a Mooney. His engineering background and flight experience opened up the skies for him to travel throughout the world, including periods of time in which he worked in the Netherlands, Brazil, and Venezuela. Retired now, Parr enjoys flying to locations with his family and spending time on the islands and in the U.S., including his home state of Indiana. While you can’t accompany him on a long jump, you might be intrigued to learn of his travels aboard the hot air balloon in which he has traveled a longer time and greater distance than the balloon ride.

Before you go, plan to wear jeans/pants even in the summer since you’ll be getting in and out of the basket and will want to be comfortable. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes. And, of course, make sure that camera or mobile phone is ready to capture the experience, this one up in the air!

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  1. Pingback: Hot Air Ballooning, Part II: The Chase Crew « Discover Chatham

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