Jumping from a hot air balloon is quite a treat for skydivers. Balloon jumps are unusual because there is no “relative” wind as you exit the aircraft. In a normal aircraft jump, when a skydiver exits, the airspeed of the aircraft is quite high, so a skydiver can immediately maneouver through the sky as soon as he exits. In a balloon jump, there is no relative wind, and therefore no real “control” for the first few seconds of freefall. Just a weightless drop. It is essentially the same feeling as a BASE jump, but without the danger of hitting a fixed object you just exited. It is also eerily silent for the first 5-10 seconds, and you feel and hear the wind speeding up as you pick up speed.
I did a balloon jump a few years ago for my 500th skydive. This year, I was a hot air balloon pilot of one of 3 balloons that we used to drop skydivers. After unsuccessfully trying to organize this last year (due to weather), this year’s plans worked out perfectly. I had a group of 10 skydivers come out early on Saturday morning eager to jump. For every single one of them, it was to be their first jump out of a hot air balloon. Note that all these skydivers are experienced with many hundreds of jumps (some of them thousands of jumps).
What follows is a few select pictures from the day, as well as a video compilation from the skydivers’ perspective. Lots of cameras!
And here’s the video of the day’s shenanigans!