It's a Bird. It's a Plane. No, it's a Hot Air Balloon!

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If you're familiar with the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days, you know the only proper way to travel is via a hot air balloon. Certainly, since the earlier part of the twentieth century, planes have become the quickest and most convenient method of air travel. But, the pure magic and delight of soaring through the skies in an open basket make hot air ballooning the only choice for true connoisseurs of flight. As a member of LawCrossing, you have clearly distinguished yourself as a connoisseur of legal job resources. Therefore, it is only reasonable to assume that your taste in travel is just as refined.

Many companies throughout the United States offer balloon rides to eager adventurers willing to pay a considerable fee for a short one-hour trip. While the one time experience may be memorable, it leaves much to be desired. Why should your journey through the clouds be subjected to a time limit? If you want the freedom to fly where you want, when you want, the only option is to purchase a hot air balloon for your own personal use. This may seem like a ridiculous concept, but it's actually rather practical and even affordable for those with at least $35,000 to spare. There are varying types of balloons available for purchase, ranging in size, performance and of course, price.

A standard 77,000 cubic foot balloon can carry between 2-3 passengers (including a pilot), and can float several thousand feet above the ground. This model will run you approximately $32,000 and is most suitable for those balloon enthusiasts with the intention of taking relaxing trips amid breathtaking scenery. Just imagine a romantic, early morning flight over Napa Valley with your significant other, a bottle of wine and an assortment of imported cheeses. Who needs coffee? The best part of waking up is Chardonnay in your cup! For those of you with a little more adventure coursing through your veins, this standard joy-riding balloon may not be your cup of tea. Instead, you may want to look into investing in a racing Roziere.

In the news, you may have heard about several eccentric billionaires - including Virgin CEO Richard Branson - daring to race around the globe in hot air balloons. These thrill-seekers attempted this feat in specialized racing balloons called Rozieres. Currently, there are very few Rozieres in operation worldwide, all of which have been produced by Cameron Balloons, the largest producer of hot air balloons in the world. The limited number of these balloons is primarily due to the exorbitant price of its production and operation. The base price starts in the hundreds of thousands and a top-of-the-line model can reach into the millions. And, that only covers the production costs. Getting the Roziere off the ground is a pricy endeavor in and of itself.

The balloon operates with a combination of hot air and helium. This specialized helium used in the balloon runs about $3 per sq. foot. This means that in order to launch one of these 105,000 sq. ft balloons, it could cost well over $15,000 per flight! But, for some, the ability to race around the globe and reach altitudes upwards of 46,000 feet above sea level may be worth the expenses associated with owning one of these rare, adrenaline-pumping devices. Plus, you can't put a price tag on showing up to your high school reunion in a high performance racing balloon.

Whether you are a daredevil, adventure-seeking billionaire or a LawCrossing member who recently found a new job and has a little extra cash to throw around, acquiring a private hot air balloon is an exceptional investment. Don't be the last one on your block to own one!

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