Inflate out-of-the-bag is a technique in which the
envelope suspension is connected to the basket. The
envelope is pulled progressively out of the bag as
the fan is running and inflating the envelope as the
crew slowly, with pauses, carries the balloon bag
away from the basket while the envelope fills.
Another variation of the progressive fill has the crew
holding the envelope in their arms, gradually
releasing more and more of the envelope, from mouth
to top, until the very top of the envelope is released
Role of the Inflator Fan
The type of fan needed for different layout techniques
depends primarily on the amount of work required
by the fan. The strip layout method requires a large,
strong fan to force the envelope into shape, while
the spread-it-out method requires less fan energy.
The value of using a checklist is well known to the
airlines and the military. Regulations require air
carrier pilots and military pilots to use checklists.
Also, FAA practical tests require pilot certificate
applicants to use checklists. Checklists are effective
and contribute to safe flying because routine and
familiarity breed complacency. Like military and
airline pilots, balloonists who fly everyday need a
checklist to assure nothing is omitted. For example,
professional balloon ride operators are subject to
distractions and interruptions during their preflight,
layout, assembly, and inspection.
Appendix B contains sample checklists that can be
used as is, or adapted to your particular balloon and
Infrequent balloon flyers, which include most
balloonists, need checklists because long periods of
inactivity creates memory lapses. A typical balloonist
may make only 30 to 40 flights per year. A checklist
will not replace proficiency, but it will help.
Students and new pilots need checklists because they
are forming habit patterns, and need prompting to
reinforce training and confirm good habits.
A checklist can save time. By arranging the layout,
assembly, and inspection in a logical order, and by
accomplishing more than one task at a time, duplication
and wasted time can be minimized. For instance, a
properly arranged preflight checklist can include many
tasks that are performed while the fan is running, so
people are not just standing around waiting for the
envelope to inflate. Also, a checklist eliminates needless
walking. Sometimes pilots circle the envelope three or
four times when one lap around should suffice.