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The building of the Kiev Merchants’ assembly (now The National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine) at the end of 19th  century. Kiev
Thursday, 08 December 2022

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One day trip > Balloon flights: attraction of the “fifth ocean”

Flight over the capital of Ukraine

Original marriage proposal

You can fly in a group


Prime Excursion Bureau” invites you to subjugate the “fifth ocean” — as they call the sky. You will be among those, who have discovered secrets of the sky. If you decide to subjugate the sky space as a couple or with friends, the air space will certainly endow you with the feeling of happiness and charge with the energy of involvement in eternity. Kiev Aeronautic Society will become our partner in subjugation of the sky. This organization has over hundred-year-long traditions, dated back to the first flights of aeronauts at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is hard to describe a balloon flight (an aerostat flight in stricter terminology) in words. These impressions also cannot be expressed either by photos or video. Verbal description is not enough, it should be felt personally. One should find himself in an aerostat basket, see the Earth from a bird`s flight height, feel the warmth from flight of the burner over his head and experience the incredible feeling of freedom in this boundless sky.

The way it started

A balloon flight is the safest one, connected with the “fifth ocean”. A balloon, filled with air, is, in a way, a huge parachute. Landing of an aerostat depends on skills of a pilot, and in our case they are high-class pilots with great experience of flying time and passenger flights.

An aerostat usually accommodates up to 4 people, depending on body constitution. If several balloons are involved, there is an opportunity to invite up to 30 people, what is important for teambuilding, for example, and other corporate events.

Balloons can rise up to 2 kilometers high, but introductory flights are usually run at the height of 300-500 meters above the ground. This height is the most comfortable for observing landscapes and places of interest. The balloon lands on a field or a meadow, which are conveniently accessible for the escort car that follows the aerostat during the flight and picks aeronauts up after landing.

Captive balloon flights are also available. Such offer is especially timely, for example, at corporative feasts, when a great number of guests must be entertained.

Terms of flight

Flights are run in any season, depending on flight weather. Speed of wind must not exceed 4 meters per second during amateur flights and 7 meters — during sport flights. Participants of a flight inform us of the chosen date of flight in 3-7 days and under favorable weather conditions the flight will definitely be run. In case the weather is unfavorable on the chosen day, the flight is postponed without any extra expenses on the side of participants. Absence of precipitation and speed of wind by the ground not more than 4-5 meters per second are considered ideal weather conditions for safe balloon flights. In summer flights are run in the morning and in the evening, 1-2 hours after the sunrise or 2-3 hours before the sunset. In winter flights are run throughout daylight hours.

Your familiarization with the sky will last about an hour, but total time, spent on prior-flight preparation and after-flight ritual of initiation into aeronauts, will take 5 hours. We deliberately use the word “initiation”, since your sky adventure will not end right after landing. New subjugators of the sky are going to pass the second stage of initiation into the world of aeronautics — full integration into the noble assembly of aeronauts.

A bottle of champagne will be opened in your honor and initiation ceremony, the secrets of which we cannot reveal, will be organized. But there is one thing we can say for sure: after this experience you will become a real aristocrat and look down your nose at everybody, since you have seen the world from a bird`s eye view.

So, subjugators of the sky will be provided with the following services:

  • Meeting at a chosen place.
  • Free transfer to the place of flight by a comfortable car.
  • Accident prevention orientation.
  • Free-flight, accompanied by a car.
  • Initiation into aeronauts, presentation of memorable charters, treating with champagne.
  • Return of the initiated aeronauts to the initial point of departure by the car of the Aeronautic Society.

Your car will be parked on a safe secured territory during the flight. Don`t forget to bring photo and video equipment with you!

Dress codefree, preferably casual. No high heels for ladies. A hat is desirable in summer. It is colder and windier in the sky, so take care of your own health.

 

The way it continues till present time

Locations of flights

Kiev

Kiev region:

Makarov — a small town 50 km. west of Kiev, the “aeronautic capital” of the region with great views of this part of Kiev region. The registered balloon “Makarovskiy”, named after the town, is in the aero park of the club.

Belaya Tserkov — a balloon will definitely flight over the famous park “Alexandria”, over central districts of the city, Zamkovaya Mountain with the grand Catholic Church, the cathedral and the Ros river.

Pereyaslav-Khmelnitskiy — will offer you to fly over the museum capital of Ukraine, the famous ethnographic open-air park on Tatarskaya Mountain. In fact, you will fly over Ukrainian past and will be able to see all attractions, gathered in the park-museum.

Vasilkov — a city 25 km. south of the capital of Ukraine. Antoniy and Feodosiy Cathedral is the main attraction of the city. St. Feodosiy — the second father superior of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra was born in this city.

Other cities of Ukraine:

Chernigov — the historical centre of the city has preserved its panorama. Bell towers and domes rise over the mountains along the Desna River like centuries ago. It is uniqueness of the landscape of the old provincial city that makes flight over Chernigov very interesting.

Kamenets–Podolskiy — is the aeronautic capital of Ukraine. Aeronautic festivals have been held here for many years. Unusual panorama of the city fortress, the opportunity to fly over the unusual canyon of the river Smotrich, over the fantastic city, called “flower on the stone”, will leave unforgettable impressions.

Feodosia — the first balloons on the territory of Ukraine were produced and tested on this territory. An aerostat can rise up to 2 kilometers in Crimea that enables to see fantastic crests of the protected mountain range Karadag, Klimentyev Mountain, where glider pilots and sky surfers train, and two seas — the Black Sea and the Azovskoye Sea. Crimea is spread before the eyes — that`s how flights over Feodosia and its outskirts can be characterized.

Kherson — the balloon flies over the mouth of the Dnieper, bends of the Ingulets river, cane bushes, forests and the real Ukrainian desert — Aleshkovskie sands. It is only in Kherson region, where so many various landscapes can be seen from the basket of a balloon.

Dnepropetrovsk you will see grand Dnieper panoramas and the appearance of the impetuously changing city, which starts to look like a modern world megalopolis. Skyscrapers, huge bridges, the famous Transfiguration Church, blocks of the old downtown, bog plants — all these refer to the capital of central Ukraine.

Individual flights

In the framework of individual flights you can make your declaration of love, a present to a friend, celebrate your birthday or jubilee. On a balloon any holiday will become especially festive.

But aeronautics is not just presents and love confessions in the air. It also provides with opportunity to impress your business partners by organizing a flight over Ukrainian capital on the occasion of a successful deal, for example. Or before it, on the contrary. Your potential partners will be impressed by your original approach to business negotiations. You will be able to declare yourself as a high stepper, in every meanings of this word.

On your request, you can be taken to the balloon basket by a carriage or an elite VIP-class car. And you will find champagne and fruit in the very basket of the balloon.

Group and corporative flights

Teambuilding, celebration of important dates in the life of a company, corporative events — all these can be connected with balloon flights. Besides, such flights may become part of corporative action, encouraging corporative solidarity and development of skills to work at common purposes.

If aeronautics has been chosen as means of teambuilding by you, participants are divided into several groups, 4-5 people in a balloon. Participants take the functions of pilots and navigators of an aerostat. They start to fulfill tasks under supervision of an experienced pilot, whose duties include training and assistance throughout the flight. While several people are in the basket of a balloon, others are busy accompanying the balloon. Movement on the broken country, determination of the route of the balloon and places of its landing, constant attention to what is going on in the sky makes both teams more solidary and enables to reveal the best qualities of each of the participants.

At corporative celebrations a balloon can appear over the place of celebration absolutely unexpectedly and become, for example, the prologue for honoring the best workers, who will be lifted on a balloon or a person, who celebrates his birthday, on the occasion of which the celebration was organized. In this case one can fly on a permanently fixed balloon. The balloon rises up to the length of the rope, the end of which is fixed on the ground, rising to substantial height at that.

Flight over Kiev

Looking at the capital of Ukraine from a bird`s eye view is a great way to get acquainted with the city and introduce it to your guests, colleagues and friends. Tens of routes are possible during such a flight, depending on the wind rose. A balloon usually starts from the ground in Kiev Hydropark on a Dnieper island. Passengers can also be boarded in the mouth of the Desna River, north-east of the capital or in Pirogovo” museum on the picturesque hills south of the capital.

Such a flight is usually started at dawn or in the sunset rays. This endows the flight with extra romantic and gives opportunity to see the huge city, where night lights change into morning haze, then transform into colors of a new day or, on the contrary, to see the way stars appear in the sky and lights are lit up in the windows of buildings, daylight hours come to their end, clouds turn pink and get changed by the first “golden” evening twilight.

At the height of 1500 meters you will fly over the main places of interest of the city, watch the domes of the main temples glitter, see reflection of your aerostat in the windows of new sky-scrapers, chains of highways, city districts with their noise and bustle floating under you. And you carelessly hover above all these, forgetting about problems, traffic jams, exhausts and political meetings, everyday rush, which seem so distant at this moment.

There are the following types of flights available:

An hour`s introductory flight in Kiev region (Makarovskiy and Vasilkovskiy districts).
An hour`s introductory flight over Kiev.
An hour`s introductory captive flight.
VIP flight and VINTAGE flight are available on prior arrangement.
Flights in the unusual “Heart” balloon.

The sky is boundless, majestic and harmonious. It is open for everybody, who is ready to fly up towards it!

 

Organizational issues:

  • Duration of the excursion — 5 hours.
  • The cost includes: travelling, excursion services on the route, group insurance.
  • Individual excursions — on your request at any time, any type of transport (2, 5, 17, 22, 30, 45 seats).

 

Please, contact “Prime Excursion Bureau” for getting detailed information about the prices and terms of excursions.
 

Your acquaintance with the sky will last about an hour

The impressions you get cannot be expressed in words, they can only be felt

A balloon flight is the safest one, connected with the “fifth ocean”


Sergey Skalko

The General Director
of Kiev Aeronautic Society Sergey SKALKO:

EVERYTHING IS IN THE WIND`S POWER…”

Believe it or not, but several huge balloons were hovering over a highway near Kiev on a wonderful dawn. They were shining brightly with colored lights, like Chinese lanterns, and were descending slowly to the green meadow by the very highway, as it turned out later. I slowed down on the roadside, enchanted by the sight, and was standing still with surprise, when a military officer with shoulder straps, embroidered with gold and wearing a helmet, jumped down from the basket of the first landed balloon. His smile, framed with moustache and a beard, expressed some cunning, very much reminding the cinema Jules Verne with his “Five weeks in a balloon”. The image was expressively completed by a real wicker balloon basket, “wrapped up” by the almost died out balloon…

 

That is how I got acquainted with Sergey Skalko, the General Director of Kiev Aeronautic Society (KAS). 

Sergey, so what are you indeed — a sportsman, an officer or a romantic — traveler?

All the three definitions are true. I really have many specialities and hobbies. But first of all, I am a military pilot; I used to fly on military planes. But I am also a lawyer and a historian. I have united all my knowledge and interests in one great hobby — balloon flights. I head Kiev Aeronautic Society.

Actually, our company has taken 24 hours of round-the-clock hard work for the last ten years. Although I would call our occupation very exciting, rather than hard and complicated. It is a kind of captivating hobby that has turned into certain business. So, for today our society is a certified school of pilots, a technical center, specializing in selling and maintaining hot-air balloons, organizing balloon flights and much more…

I consider popularization of air balloons our main task. Unfortunately, there are not so many hot-air balloons in Ukraine. Although, they can provide with very pleasant and romantic family or corporative recreation. This is incredibly beautiful pastime, which enables one to see with his own eyes how wonderful this world is, how beautiful and picturesque our country is from a bird`s eye view at a very low speed. It is especially interesting for those, who plan to connect their lives with aeronautic. So, I do my best to popularize balloon flights and our company specializes in qualitative, reliable and effective “bowling out” of people, sorry for playing on words.

Are there many people, willing to join your flights? Aren`t passengers afraid of heights?

We remove such fears instantly and absolutely. And it works for everyone.  

So, what should a person, who ventured to hover in the sky, know and be able to do?

Naturally, there are several distinctive peculiarities of such occupation. The first peculiarity: balloons are as valid aircrafts as planes or helicopters. That is why they meet all the requirements of the state legislation and European aeronautic standards. So our balloons, which are, strictly speaking, hot-air aerostats, are obligatory certified, meet airworthiness requirements, insurance and hull No. They are aviated only by certified high-class pilots. Another detail — flights are restricted by wind and weather conditions. That`s why during the frost-free season balloons fly only early in the morning, during two-three hours after the dawn or two-three hours before the evening sunset. A balloon flies only downwind at that. It can be turned either left or right. It moves exclusively up and down.  

And I wonder where the wind brings you…

Naturally, a pilot determines the direction in every particular case. Although, the wind decides everything instead of a pilot and on its own, of course. We can talk about choosing a general direction of movement, but not a specific route. In principle, we fly over the whole territory of Ukraine. We have partners in Kamenets — Podolskiy, Feodosia, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Chernigov, Odessa… In a word, everybody in any region of the country can satisfy their desire to fly.  

So for how long do your passengers have the courage to fly? What is the duration of an air flight?

We should also address the wind to get the answer to this question in many cases. As a rule, we plan an hour-long flight. But if on the 50th minute of a flight, let`s say, I see a woodland, which would take long to get over, and there is little fuel margin left onboard, I would certainly decide to land earlier than the initially planned time.

I wonder what kind of fuel you use.

We use propane — butane gas. Balloon baskets are equipped with fuel tanks.  

0k, now everything is clear with the wind. But how high can these energetic devices — the so-called propane — butane engines of balloons — raise passengers?

The height record, set by me personally, is 4613 meters. But it was a sport flight, a kind of training in the framework of preparation for the forthcoming flight across the Black Sea. We usually rise to the height of 1000-1200 meters with passengers. If we rise higher, it is not so picturesque and interesting for an excursion flight. Higher — there is only sport interest…

The height is not as important as the impression from the flight itself. No matter if people fly for the second, the third or the tenth time, it always feels like the first time: something new, unknown, thrilling. Every flight is different for me. It is an opportunity to fly very low or very high or lower over a house and hover above it at the height of 1-2-10 meters… Flights, mood and perception are always different for people of various ages.  

How old was your youngest balloon traveler?

Two years old. It was my nephew. Aeronautics is such a pleasant type of recreation and entertainment, that children, pregnant women and mature people fly with us willingly. The main thing is to make everyone interested and not bored during a flight.  

Bird`s eye view

What is necessary for that, except for the flight itself?

Ability to notice beauty and admire it is essential. For example, children stand on a step, set in the basket, and watch what is going on below through a hole. A balloon flies with the speed of 5 meters per second or 18 kilometers per hour. This enables to see and appreciate many interesting things. So, strictly speaking, passengers` task is to watch, enjoy, take pictures, discuss, admire and find new interesting places, which we don`t notice on the ground. Meanwhile, ordinary city yards hide a lot of interesting things… Once, a city Mayor, who was flying in a balloon with us, saw hidden pipes that had been stolen a year and a half before… 

What else, along with pipes, can “gone with the wind” see? Are there certain contemplative — informative routes?

Flight over Kiev is definitely the most informative, interesting and the most popular with our passengers route. The capital is always spread out before us with any breath of wind. By the way, Kiev Aeronautic Society is the only organization that has permanent license for flights over the city. That is why we always fly here — on weekends and holidays, on working days — at any convenient for passengers time. And then, everything is in the wind`s power. It surprises and pleases many passengers, often taking balloons to Pirogovo: along the Dnieper, via Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the Southern Bridge and farther to land in Pirogovo. Although, sometimes we find ourselves in Troyeschina or DVRZ. Sometimes we hover over Kreschatik… 

Do you take off also in a different way every time?

No, it is always Hydropark.  

What is necessary for that?

Just to make a prior call. After that we make a plan table and then “hang in the wind”, as they say, together with our passengers-to-be.  

Are there many people, wishing to fly?

Family and corporative flights are often ordered. Various celebrations under a balloon canopy have become very popular.  

Do you manage to satisfy everybody, wishing to fly?

We have raised up to 80 people in several baskets sometimes. In some cases, 35 people travelled in one basket at once.

Do you provide everyone with parachutes?

There are elements of truth in your joke. A balloon is softer and more reliable than a parachute. Even if gas supply is suddenly stopped for some reason, a balloon will slowly glide down and land on the ground and the basket, made of rattan, will additionally soften any landing. Pilots themselves use parachutes only in exceptional cases — during record flights, for example.  

In what cases do you put on your helmet and a White Guardist`s jacket in a flight?

Not just an officer`s jacket… The thing is I have been the president of the “Red Star” club for the last five years. This is the union of antiquity fans, which specializes in reconstruction of historical events. We participate in various thematic events, such as reconstruction of the famous Brusilov`s breakthrough, for example. The team, sitting with me in the basket of a balloon, conventionally consists of pilots of the shot down plane “Ilya Muromets”. Everybody wears uniforms of the 1918th with shoulder straps… But this is a game, a hobby. 

Do you invite people, who are not permanent members of the club, to such parties?

Yes, it is called event tourism. Of course, tourists fly with us in the framework of the club activity, participate in introductory flights. They are especially interested in various fiestas, festivals. Similar shows are rather popular in the world. We are often invited to aeronautic festivals in the USA, Russia, Austria. We have started to cooperate with Sevastopol recently, with the local festival “War and Peace”, to be more exact.

In this case, it is interesting for tourists not just to fly with us, but also watch spectacular actions with participation of beautiful and diverse balloons. Since balloons can do more, than just fly and shine like Chinese lanterns. Although the sight itself is incredible: imagine that the height of a shining balloon sometimes reaches the height of a five-storey building. But such “lanterns” can play music at that — burners in the basket of a balloon do it in various keys.  

Sergey, your story is very interesting, but who really saw and heard it all?

An action in support of Andreevskiy Descend has taken place in Kiev lately. The German Cultural Center “Gete Institute” became its organizer. The German side was also in charge of direction and music of the fest. A unique musical composition, where a special part was meant for balloon burners, was created specially for this show. We “played” with the rest of the orchestra. It happened on October 2 last year. 

In other words, people are always interested in festivals and fiestas with participation of balloons…

That`s right, as well as in sports events. For this purpose we have special tours jointly with travel agencies. The best pilots of Ukraine — repeated champions of the country — have been gathered in Kiev Aeronautic Society. That is why we are often invited to the best festive and sport events of Europe and the world in aeronautic. For example, in Austria, where we fly over the Alps. There are always many tourists from Ukraine there. They become our supporters, ask to take part in a flight and we always willingly take them under our canopies. Some of them become pilots afterwards, which is especially pleasant.

In other words, an introductory flight is just the beginning. I can assure you that after it the sky will attract you always and forever. 

Interviewed by Vladimir Tarasyuk, journalist
Photos by Andrey Sarymakov 

Media Center of “Prime Excursion Bureau”

June 2011

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Balloon flights: attraction of the “fifth ocean”


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