Cloudhopper Pilot Map
Locations of Cloudhopper Pilots in the US, courtesy for (4/15/2006)



New on

Hopper flight at the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic
(posted 7/6/2004)





A Cloudhopper is a single-person hot-air balloon.  There is no basket: the pilot wears a harness that is attached to the balloon, with a fuel tank and burner situated behind him or her.  Compared to conventional hot-air balloons, cloudhoppers are very maneuverable and can land in relatively small areas; they are also very easy to store and transport between flights.  In addition to enjoying the perfect, totally unobstructed view from thousands of feet up, the cloudhopper pilot can also kick his or her feet in the tree-tops, or go "moon-walking" through open fields in huge, forty-foot jumps. Cloudhoppers have been around for several decades, but are still fairly rare in the United States. 



Click on the selections below for more information on Cloudhoppers



Why a Cloudhopper? An introduction to the joys of Cloudhopper flying
FAQs General FAQs and more technical FAQs for balloonists;a list of Advantages and Disadvantages.
HopperTech Notes on equipment.
Sightings Reports from the Sightings Files of the Aerostation Security Administration.  The hoppers are out there!


Favorite cloudhopper images, thumbnails linked to beautiful high-resolution images.
Postcards Photographic greetings from places where hoppers are flying.
Links and References More Hopper stuff on the Internet, and elsewhere.

About Us/ Contact Us

Information on; how to get in touch with us.


A Note on Terminology

We use the term "Cloudhopper" generically here -- it's what the earliest systems of this type were called, and is the name still used by several manufacturers.  Generically, we're talking about small, solo, degondolized (basketless) hot-air balloons.  The term "hang balloon" is also sometimes used -- which is not particularly descriptive (all balloons carry payload "hanging" from the envelope) and sounds like some form of capital punishment.   Anyway, we use the term "Cloudhopper" in an enlightened, inclusive way -- if you fly a small balloon without a basket, consider yourself included!

About this Site

This site was established to serve three main audiences: Cloudhopper pilots, other balloonists interested in Cloudhoppers, and the general public.  We've tried to provide material appropriate to all three audiences, although balloonists will find some of the general FAQs very basic, and non-balloonists may find some of the terminology and discussion somewhat obscure.

The site is updated every few months, particularly the "Sightings", "Gallery" and "Postcards" sections.  Updates are noted on this home page.

If you're a Cloudhopper pilot, please get in touch with us!  We'd like to have your picture for the Sightings page, and include you on the e-mailing list for future Cloudhopper events.

For another, somewhat different take on minimalist ballooning, please visit

Thank you for visiting!

X-2, early Hopper-style system, 1964
(photo courtesy of Don Piccard)

Why a Cloudhopper? Cloudhopper FAQs Sightings HopperTech Gallery Links and References About Us/Contact Us