Among the best hot-air
in Turkey is Butterfly Balloons,
owned in part by longtime Göreme hotelier
Ali Yavuz of the Kelebek
Hotel. (Kelebek in
Turkish means butterfly.)
Balloons is a small company
which I can recommend
because it has experienced,
personable pilots who are extremely
knowledgeable about the countryside.
This is important, because
a hot-air balloon flight is not just
gliding along with the wind high
up in the air, it's an opportunity
to learn about Cappadocia,
its landscape, culture, history,
you see. To do this well, a pilot
must be not only knowledgeable, but
interesting and entertaining—and speak your language fluently.
Because Butterfly Balloons is a small,
high-qualiy company providing excellent
value-for-money, its balloons
fill up, so make your reservation
in advance if possible. If you wait
until a day or two before you want
to fly, you may find no space available.
pilots at Butterfly
Balloons hold British, French and
American commercial pilot’s licenses
validated by the Turkish Civil Aviation
Authority. The company holds an approved
Air Operators Certificate, and carries
international-standard full passenger
insurance for public transport.
Chief Pilot Mike
Green is English, He came
to Cappadocia with his wife and family
in 2000, and is now one of the
most experienced pilots in the region.
He has flown balloons in many countries
and some exotic locations
such as the Jordanian desert and
over the North Pole. Mike was a Production
Manager for the Virgin
Global Balloon Challenge, has
20 years' experience with hydrocarbon
gas, and has a certificate
in the Science of Weather. He is
also a Fellowship Member of the Royal
avoids filling the balloon basket
completely in order to give passengers
more room and greater comfort.
Their balloons are made by Cameron
Balloons of England, widely
regarded as the world's premier
high-quality hot-air balloon manufacturing
company (Lindstrand is
also very good.) They renew their balloons on a regular schedule based on flight hours to reduce the chance of mishap.
you plan to fly only once in your
life, I'd recommend that you go
for the longest flight so
your time soaring silently through
the heavens doesn't seem all too
of the nice things about these early
morning flights is that you've had
the thrill of the day (if
not of a lifetime), and then you
go have breakfast and still have
a full day of fun ahead of you.
Butterfly Balloons for
details on schedules, reservations
and fares, and remember to mention
Tel +90 384 271 3010
Fax +90 384 271 3009
—by Tom Brosnahan
Below, filling the balloon
with hot air.
above Cappadocia's "moonscape."
Below, the late Pilot Mustafa
Turgut pours a
toast for fellow aeronauts.