Stellar crew, stunning views and star treatment. What more could you ask for? Enjoy the zen moments of airborne silence, punctuated by the rush of the burner that offers you rise over the lush landscape. A must-do, simply to be able to look back fondly on a perfect day.
We were a group of four. Scheduled twice in a 7 month period. Disappointed when we could not fly but we trusted the pilots judgment. Enjoyed Asheville each time anyway. We would go to Asheville with the intent of enjoying ourselves whether we got to fly or not. I can tell you that RO Franks Balloon Company was very professional. Brand new balloons that carry 10 or 12 pp each, a new shuttle buss so we didn't have to wait for the crew to pack up. Mr Brown and his Mother, Rowena were very pleasant, very professional and courteous the entire time. I suspect that when a company runs a coupon special as they had done they end up with a lot of buyers that cannot easily afford a trip to Asheville, hotels, etc. If it is a one shot trip it may be a problem for you. Mr Brown cannot control the weather. I expect and appreciate that my pilot can make a difficult decision knowing that there will be angry people leaving unreasonable malicious reviews online. It is unfortunate that people act that way.
I would recommend R.O. Franks balloon to anyone interested in an enjoyable lifetime experience! from the driver of the shuttle bus, the crew members and addison the pilot, every one was so professional, friendly and helpful that i would definitely go back again. yes, it was our 3rd time trying and i had to drive 6 hrs each way to get to asheville, but even tho the first 2 times we were rained out, i had a fabulous time exploring all the great shops and restaurants there! it was not a hardship as i am thrilled that the balloon co. only has our safety in mind. and it was well worth the wait.
GO and have fun!!!!
We purchased our tickets with a Groupon coupon and flew on July 5. The fact we had a Groupon did not impede the reservation process but it is best to book VERY early to get a date that best fits your schedule. The company is extremely professional and easy to communicate with. I am terrified of heights but Addison did such a wonderful job that I had absolutely no issues in the air. It was a beautiful flight, we stayed in the air over an our and had no problems landing. Highly recommended company, would fly with again. Truly a pleasure.
On June 27, my mother, sister and I went on a ride with Franks Hot Air Balloon Company in celebration of my Mom's 60th birthday. It was absolutely amazing. The man that we met at the rendezvous point was incredibly friendly and entertained everyone while we were waiting to hear from the ground crew as to where our take off location would be.
Upon arrival, Addison greeted all of us and was very nice. The other reviews on here claiming he's mean I feel are misinterpretations for him being short and to the point with his crew. Everything is time sensitive when you have a giant balloon catching drafts of air that could go whichever way the breeze feels like at that particular point in time and there is simply no time to be anything other than short and to the point when giving instructions, especially when people's safety is at risk. He had made it very clear at several points during our journey that safety is his (and his crews) main priority.
The entire experience was AMAZING. It's incredible how peaceful and at ease you can feel while suspended by nothing more than a bag full of air. The views throughout the trip were breathtaking, and overall it was an experience that I don't think anyone will / would forget, ever. On the bus ride back to the original rendezvous point all passengers were served champagne, and we were also given the option to stop off at a locally owned breakfast place (Ello's, I believe?) to enjoy what was probably the best breakfast I've had in years.
I would DEFINITELY do this again, and lastly I would like to thank Addison and his entire crew for giving me and my family a memory that will stay with us for all time.
I just got back to the ground from our Awesome experience. Our pilot Addison was amazingly knowledgable and communicative during and after the flight. This adventure was a blast!!! I would highly recommend R O franks hot air balloon company!!! They ensure safety as a priority. There was adequate ( and very handsome) ground crew and take off and landing was smooth and well orchestrated. Then Champagne afterwards!
I am sorry for the other reviewers bad experience but it was just not true in this flight on June 22 2012. Very happy with this adventure and crew!!! They are FAA certified and the balloons were beautiful and well made.
A great experience!!!!!!
Loved it. Definitely recommend it. Very safe.Staff were extremely talented and knowledgeable. Pilot demonstrated leadership and precise communications. Weather was gorgeous with a crisp chill. Take off and Landing was safe and fun.
We groupons for $125 a person and have taken a flight on June 18. The flight was beautiful and the operation smooth. We were lucky to have a beautiful morning with haze covered mountains and cities, clouds spilling over the mountains, and sunshine breaking through the clouds.
This was our first hot air balloon flight. My husband becomes motion sick very easily but had no problem on the hot air balloon ride. The only time he became dizzy was when he looked down to the ground when we were closer to the tree top.
A hat is definitely helpful. Although we had several passenger without hats and they didn't complain. Because of the heat of the blower, it was actually a bit warmer in the air than on the ground. Because of the slow speed there was no wind chill, all the breezes were rather pleasant.
We had a 35 minutes flight and landed in a horse farm with three horses within the enclosure. The owner came out and yelled at us for scaring her horses. Addison handled it calmly and respectfully. As the owner threatened to beat the xxxx out of him if he threw on the blower again (which was necessary to ensure the fullness of the balloon, as a deflated balloon would be blown whichever way and possibly endanger the passengers and the horses according to Addison), Addison called the police. At the same time he tried to communicate with the owner, and told his ground crew to come and help us out of there asap.
The ground crew arrived first and dragged us out of the enclosure. They started to deflate the balloon.
The husband arrived second to shout and throw more threat at Addison. Addison told his crew and the passengers to not talk back, and he talked to the husband calmly and respectfully the whole time. We were all very impressed with him handling the situation and preventing it from escalating.
The police arrived last and the situation was under control. Only then did Addison let us out of the basket and asked the officer to escort us off the property. Which was very thoughtful.
The other balloon (two balloons took off from the same company) stayed in the air much longer and landed in the middle of a narrow hilly road with trees all around. They also had some run ins with the owner but the exchange was much friendlier. So I guess landing is always an adventure.
It was quite an adventure and we both enjoyed it. I'm giving it a 4 star because if you want to get in the air, paragliding is cheaper and helicopter covers more ground. But is definitely worth trying once in your life.
In May 2012, we used a Groupon for our flight and luckily the weather cooperated and we got to use it on our first attempt, which was fortunate as Asheville is about 4.5 hours away from home.
Addison was a great pilot and we did not mind him training his mother, also a veteran pilot, on how to fly their new balloon during our flight. He's not nearly as mean as other reviewers seem to make him out to be and we found him very pleasant and friendly. He was stern at times while instructing his mother, but I think this is OK as everyone's lives are in his hands. I'd much rather him be a stern instructor for such a thing as there really isn't much room for error. The scenery was beautiful, although we did not get to see the Biltmore or downtown Asheville while aloft. This is to be expected though as there's no way you can control which way the wind is blowing. There were still beautiful mountain views and we took many incredible photos while on our flight.
The landing was a bit rough and we did take the top off of a tree, eventually coming to rest in someone's front yard. Again, there's really no way to control where you land as the wind can shift suddenly, as it did in this case.
Overall, we had a great experience and we certainly can't complain because we got it for a great price!
Fantastic Flight…. Sunday morning of May 6, 2012 my husband and I took our first hot air balloon ride with R.O. Franks Aviation Company and it was wonderful. This has been a dream of mine for many years and we were celebrating our anniversary. Let me give you a little background of how this adventure went.
My husband purchased these tickets last year and it took us 4 attempts to actually have the perfect weather and conditions for this trip to happen. It can be very discouraging to be all ready and then be told "not happening this morning", but you know what, I am very happy with a pilot that totally takes my safety into consideration. Our pilot, Addison, was great and he does understand that it can be upsetting to be told "no" but I feel he has done this for so long that "He knows Best". Our first attempt was indeed a beautiful morning but he is the one standing there with the instruments and knows what will work and what will not. Our second attempt was raining hard when we were scheduled and of course was cancelled. Our third attempt was cancelled the night before due to bad weather and at this point you might think "is this ever going to happen". I do believe this is why your purchased tickets have a long expiration date, because even though we would love to control the great outdoors, we cannot.
Our fourth attempt was a winner! Great sunny day, the large passenger bus was waiting right on time, we were met by a crew member Jackson, that was very polite, we were told what was happening and made our way to the launch site. Upon arriving to the site, the most beautiful balloon was waiting for us with the pilot and his mom. You know the man is good if he will have his mom on board. ha…. Turns out she can fly and don't know for sure, but she may have taught him everything he knows. Way to go mom! The trip was over an hour long and we took tons of photos. We wore caps because we were told ahead of time from the website what to do to prepare and we were very comfortable. It was a fantastic flight. The landing was exciting and Addison put that huge 14 passenger balloon into an area we didn't think possible. We unloaded and were able to take more photos as the balloon deflated. The bus was there waiting for us and we had our champagne celebration and were taken right back to our car. The pilot, the bus driver and ground crew were all great. I would highly recommend this company and look forward to another trip in the future. Also, just be patient, it may take a few tries, but man is it worth it!
Thank you R.O. Franks Aviation Company for making a dream happen
I purchased a Groupon for my fiance and I to take a hot air balloon ride with the R.O. Franks Aviation Company during our honeymoon. It was an amazing experience — the view of the mountains from the balloon was unlike anything we had ever seen! We met up with the other passengers and the crew in Asheville and had a short ride to the departure site. There was very little wind this day, so we had a slow, peaceful journey of about 3-3.5 miles. The pilots (Addison and his mother) were obviously very knowledgeable about ballooning. We were very impressed by the emphasis they put on the passengers' safety (and just how complicated flying a hot air balloon actually is!). Once they located a safe place to land, the balloon basket touched down very gently and the crew met us to pull the basket to a safe location to unload the passengers. There was even champagne and sparkling apple juice awaiting us in the van! Afterward, the van returned us all to our vehicles, while the crew remained to pack up the balloon. A wonderful way to begin our honeymoon!
Since I had never ridden in a hot air balloon before, I naturally approached this experience with some trepidation, but because of the friendliness and reassuring competence of our pilot Addison Brown, I was quickly feeling at ease. Certainly getting into a basket in a parking lot and depending on bursts of hot air into a balloon to carry us up and away is an adventure that some people would be unwilling to do. Since we have had this experience on our "bucket list" for some time, we are so glad that we did it. The basket and balloon of the Franks Company was very new and obviously in top condition which also was reassuring. Captain Addison and his crew took great care in making sure the winds and weather were very safe for our flight.
Our day was very beautiful and our experience was terrific. I had anticipated that the experience might be a bit frightening, but it was the opposite. The quiet, calm serenity of floating over such a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains was anything but frightening. Captain Addison's friendly commentary and explanations added to our experience. Learning about his grandparents who were pioneers in ballooning was quite interesting.
Addison told us that the company was going to add a shuttle so that passengers would not have to wait while the crew packed up the balloon at the end of the flight, but I felt that being a part of the entire experience, as we watched the teamwork of the very competent, hard-working crew added to our experience. They also offered cold water and Gator Aide refreshments upon landing.
We also enjoyed the friendly conversation accompanied by champagne after our flight. We took many wonderful photos of the entire process and flight, which support our wonderful memories of a terrific experience.
My Husband Ben and I went ballooning this morning and I cannot describe how wonderful the experience was. Our Pilot Addison, was very knowledgeable and friendly. The weather could not have been more perfect .We had breathtaking views of the mountains of Asheville. The ride was comfortable and smooth, The landing was exciting and the crew was very fast in getting us all packed up. I would highly reccomend R.O. Franks Aviation to anyone!
We just got back from a super time ballooning in the mountains just south and west of Asheville. In a word, our experience was FANTASTIC. Our pilot Addison and his crew were professional and courteous. The day was beautiful and sunny and the air was crisp and clear. Addison comes from three generations of balloonists and he certainly knows his craft. I have read the previous "1-star" review given to R.O. Franks Aviation, and truthfully, I couldn't disagree more. All I can say is when you feel the need to go hot air ballooning – give R.O. Franks Aviation a try. It just doesn't get much better than this.
We flew as a party of eight with this company on Thursday Aug. 25th 2011. They had a new big balloon that we rode in and another balloon that 4 others flew in. It was a great flight from beginning to end. Both balloons were close the whole time and we landed close together. Addison sent us a video of the entire flight. We actually found Addison to be quite engaging and entertaining. His Mom, the other Pilot (of 26 years experience ) was a real sweet heart. There were 5 crew members but some of us helped inflate and pack up, some declined. No bother really. They did have a big cooler of water and Gatorade for everyone. The other reviewer said she paid 250.00 but the Groupon deal was only $125.00. I have been on 12 balloon rides all over the country and the passengers have always helped, eagerly, to inflate and to pack up. I don't see the issue with that. The whole event took about as long as any other balloon ride we have been on. I have also seen upset land owners before. Understand, balloons have to land on whatever is front of them and some times land owners are not happy about it. I suspect the fellow that said his ride was "horrific" was probably referring to a fear of heights or was stressed from being so high off the ground. How horrific could it possibly be when everyone walks away from two different balloons on the same morning. I mean, what could possibly have happened that was so horrific? In any case, we had a great time, we found them to be very professional and friendly. They now fly the newest and biggest balloon in the state. ( their words ) We have referred several friends to them.
UpDate… I have to say, this Erin person sounds very petty and bitter. I just read Mr Browns response. Very professional and mature response. I would think she would be happy to hear about the improvements and changes, but no. She is actually more angry. Does that make any sense at all? Man, some people.