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  • The UK’s longest running hot air balloon company, in conjunction with our flight provider, Virgin Balloon Flights.

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Balloon Flights with a personal touch

A family owned business, estbalished in 1987, operating throughout Southern England.

The Company

After many decades flying hot air balloons in the South East, British School of Ballooning is handing the torch to Virgin Balloon Flights to continue bringing you the joy of a balloon ride.

Just as we did, Virgin has only the finest pilots, many with more than 3,000 hours flying experience, to make each and every balloon flight as safe and special as possible.

Fully Licensed

Virgin Balloon Flights is fully licensed for passenger hot air balloon rides by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The biggest and one of the longest running commercial balloon flights company’s in the country, Virgin has the fairest terms in the industry and has the same level of insurance for passengers as a commercial aircraft operator.

All balloons are insured for public and third party liability in accordance with Regulation (Ec) No 785/2004 of the European Parliament – Insurance Requirements for Air Carriers and Aircraft Operators.

Professional Service

With more than 100 locations to fly across the UK and dozens in the South East alone, Virgin has more hot air balloons flying in the region than anyone else.

Their team of pilots boasts more than 500 years’ combined experience and tens of thousands of hours flying hot air balloons between them.

A dedicated customer service team is on hand Monday to Friday to help you check availability or advise on flight schedules before you purchase any voucher. Visit the Virgin Balloon Flights website for the various ways you can get in touch.

Meet The Team

Say hello to the Hotair family.


Graeme’s experience in ballooning helps to ensure your first experience of a balloon flight is and enjoyable one and is carried out in the most professional and organized manner. Graeme started ballooning in 1985 when he bought his first balloon to promote a photographic business he had and was part sponsored by Kodak. He then started the British School of Ballooning in 1997 along with Brian Smith a former BA Captain, before he took over the reins solely when Brian retired. They discovered many people wanted to fly in their balloon, since the sight of one in the sky was more of a rarity in those days. “There has to be a business here!” they thought. The business grew and grew and now Graeme operates fourteen balloons in the UK and ten in Australia.

Graeme is a CAA TR Examiner and Instructor in the UK and in Australia and is continually helping and encouraging young people to take up flying balloons. Both his sons are commercial balloon pilots, and theirs is probably the only family in the UK with three such qualified pilots.

He has accumulated over 3000 hrs of balloon flying, flown in over a dozen countries and his passion for ballooning is still with him after so many years.

Graeme’s experience in ballooning helps to ensure your first experience of a balloon flight is and enjoyable one and is carried out in the most professional and organized manner.


Matthew has been flying commercially for twelve years and has accumulated over a 1000 hrs and a wealth of experience, flying in the UK and Australia. His enthusiasm for ballooning is very obvious when you fly with him. He also competes in both the Australian and UK championships and has been extremely successful.

His charming manor and skills, we regularly receive praise for. You may have seen him recently on ITV with Stephen Tomkinson flying over Australia - he was the young competitive one!


Richard has been working for BSB since 1995 when the balloon company he was working for joined forces with BSB. At that time Richard was chief crew person and his enthusiasm for ballooning has only increased over the years.

He obtained his Private balloon license back in 1996 and enjoyed partaking in many balloon festivals throughout Europe. In 2005 he obtained his Commercial License and has flown for BSB ever since. He also has been involved in many special events like flying a balloon across Stonehenge at the Summer Solstice, dropping skydivers. He has flown in Syria , Abu Dubie, India, Australia and many countries in Europe. He is presently in Myamar ( Burma) flying tourists in Mandalay until March 2014. He will then be back flying for BSB in the Brighton area.


Probably the most experienced pilot of all of us, Ravinnder flies mostly in the difficult areas of North London and Kent. He started ballooning in 1984 and went on to run his own business. In 1996 he joined British School of Ballooning when his company was taken over by BSB. Ravinnder is one of our most popular pilots with our passengers and we receive many letters of praise each year.


Another pilot who just can’t get enough ballooning. John has over 1000 hrs and is one of our most knowledgeable and skillful pilots; he flies mainly in Hampshire and Sussex. His wife is a private pilot as well. John travels to many balloon festivals in the UK and overseas for his own enjoyment of the sport and has a great sense of humour, which he shares with the passengers.


As you can imagine Judy’s experience in running the operation behind the scenes is second to none. Judy handles many of the sales calls and the operational and marketing side of the business. Her experience in ballooning can answer most of your questions and of course from the many corporate enquiries we receive.

Happy customer 1
"The Pilot, Richard, was so reassuring, knowledgeable of the near and far areas, and kept us informed of speed, height, land marks, as well as excellent instruction when taking off and landing. Fantastic!"
Matt & Lynn, London
Happy customer 2
"we thoroughly enjoyed the sociable chats and celebratory champers afterwards. Robin and his crew were both very professional and friendly and as everyone says, it “ticked all the boxes”. Any complaints? Only like all good things, it had to end."
Ben, Sussex
Balloon icon
"I arranged my son & brother to ride in your balloon. When they landed and walked in to the reception area at the hotel, their eyes shone and their grins spread from ear to ear. Very satisfying result, well worth it. Especially when birthday boy presented me with their mounted photograph."
Grace, Kent
Small lake from the air
Balloon taking off
Balloon at dawn
VIP Passengers in the basket
Balloon in flight from below
Aerial photo of a farm
Balloon burner
Land Rover setting up balloon
School of ballooning balloon
Burner with VIP Passengers