Avid world traveler Cory Lee recently crossed off another item from his bucket list – wheelchair accessible hot air ballooning!
Cory contacted Love Is In The Air, a hot air balloon company operating out of Las Vegas, Nevada. “Love Is In The Air Ballooning is one of only a few companies in the world that has a fully wheelchair accessible balloon,” writes Cory. The basket that holds the passengers has one wall that is actually a wheelchair ramp made of clear polycarbonate material. So once Cory made his way into the bucket, when the ramp closed, he was able to see through it. The bucket also had a second wall that was transparent.
“What is perhaps most unique about this balloon is the fact that wheelchair users have full viewing capability” – something most other accessible ballooning companies do not offer.
Cory’s power wheelchair was strapped into the bucket floor with tie downs, and Cory himself was secured with a chest harness that attached to the bucket. “There was certainly no chance of falling out of the basket during our ride,” he shares.
Once the balloon, the pilot, and the passengers were ready, the balloon lifted easily from the ground. “The ride was incredibly smooth, as the balloon goes with the wind,” writes Cory. “Before doing this, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I imagined that it would be a little bumpy, kind of like an airplane. But it was nothing like that.”
Cory and his mom spent an hour and a half taking in the view of the Vegas landscape, including the beautiful mountains, before it was time to start the descent and landing. The balloon finally touched down in a rocky field near a shopping plaza where a ground crew was waiting. “It was not a rough landing at all, but it was a little bumpy,” shares Cory “Nothing that we couldn’t handle though!”
Cory’s adventure ended with breakfast, a champagne toast (a hot air ballooning tradition), and a telling of the history of ballooning by the captain.
“This entire hot air ballooning experience showed me that there is plenty of adventure to be had as a wheelchair user."
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