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Do you need a pilot's license to fly a hot air balloon?

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Yes, the FAA has a whole list of licences that cover aviation including hot air ballons. In FAA parlance you need a "rating" for that particular air craft.

To earn your lighter than air pilot certificate, you need to attend a ground school or do a home study course to get the basics necessary to pass a FAA written exam. The FAA requires at least 6 hours of flight training with an instructor, 2 solo flights, and 1 altitude flight. The final step is to pass an oral exam and a flight exam with a FAA pilot examiner. Passing these steps will earn you your private pilot certificate for hot air balloons.

source: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Sports-20-000-334/Hot-Air-Balloons-1.htm

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