Michigan’s glorious fall colors are a welcome sight but Flying OVER the fall colors in a hot air balloon is the best says Scott Lorenz, President and Chief Pilot of Westwind Balloon Company of Plymouth, Michigan.
“The palate of colors just takes your breath away,” says Mike Ball, crewman and sometimes passenger, “I love taking photos from the balloon especially when we fly over Kensington Park, it’s fabulous, it’s ten times better than driving. People just have no idea how pretty it is.”
Most balloon rides last about one hour and Lorenz flies over the woods and streams of Kensington Park and Island Lake State Park. He and several other pilot friends meet at Park ‘n Ride area off Milford Road and I-96 (exit # 155) about 2 1/2 hours before sunset. From there he’ll launch helium balloons, determine the wind direction, then take a short drive to one of nine launch sites in the area that give the best views and best landing sites downwind.
“Sometimes the landing can be like taking an elevator ride and others can be a little more exciting that’s why great care is taken in making the ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ decision on each flight based upon the weather.”
What to wear? Lorenz suggests passengers wear tennis shoes and jeans. He says the air temp “upstairs” is within a couple degrees of ground temp so it’s not a factor. Cameras and video cameras are highly recommended to preserve the once in a lifetime moments while flying over the countryside.
Flights cost $695 for a private ride which is two passengers and the pilot. All flights are pre-paid. Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover and PayPal are accepted. Gift certificates are available.
For large parties and families Lorenz recommends the Wicker Basket Balloon Center of Wixom, Their balloon basket is able to accommodate up to 6 passengers with special group rates. Balloonist and owner Gordon Boring is one of the most experienced commercial pilots in Michigan and has trained dozens of pilots, including Lorenz.
To really appreciate all of the fall color that Michigan has to offer, call a balloonist and schedule a flight today, the view is really better from above!
Westwind Balloon Company– Plymouth, MI, Flying over Kensington Park, Brighton, South Lyon and Milford. 734-667-2098 http://www.westwindcos.com/balloon Scott Lorenz, Pilot and Owner.
Wicker Basket Balloon Center – Wixom, MI Also flies over Flying over Kensington Park, Brighton, South Lyon and Milford. 248-624-5137. Gordon Boring, Pilot and Owner.
About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Balloon Company, has been a commercial balloon pilot since 1982, and has logged 1,450 + hours as pilot in command in a hot air balloon. Scott’s memorable ballooning experiences include: Flying over Niagara Falls, The Great Wall of China, Disney World, the Olympics in Calgary, St. Wolfgang, Austria, Saga, Japan, the Grand Prix in Spain, co-piloting one of two balloons for Mike Howard’s Guinness World Record ”balloon walk” flight at 19,000 feet, a 20 hour-361 mile Gas Balloon flight with Gordon Boring and handling media relations for Kevin Uliassi’s Round the World balloon flights. Lorenz and his balloon exploits have been featured by FOX-2 News, Hour Detroit and The Detroit Free Press. A balloon flight on Westwind Co. was named “most creative date” by It’s Just Lunch. Westwind Balloon Company is a member of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and the Southeast Michigan Balloon Federation (SEMBA). http://www.westwindcos.com/balloon Michigan Fall Color Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3Pi8EgTbjY