I am writing a script for a film where a hot air balloon is punctured and it falls to the ground. There are two teenagers in the balloon when it is in the air. What I would like to know is how fast the balloon would fall the ground. Would it glide down or would it drop? This might be a dumb question but it would really help me out in the story. If it helps at all, the balloon is supposed to crash land on top of a canopy tree. Would the balloon go down like an airplane and crash landed, nosediving towards the earth at a fast speed or would the rest of the balloon slows its velocity down?

I need the characters to survive the crash and the tear will be about 4 inches. Would it need to be longer for the balloon to start descending for a crash landing?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think the answer is that it depends completely on the size of the hole... pin prick, hardly noticeable. Massive rip? It could drop like a stone. Do you want the characters to survive? $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2020 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ Some related information and answers: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/61246/… $\endgroup$
    – user12873
    Jul 7, 2020 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall I want the characters to survive and the hole is about 4 inches in length. $\endgroup$
    – Katherine
    Jul 7, 2020 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @DigitalDracula Thanks! That really helps! $\endgroup$
    – Katherine
    Jul 7, 2020 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ What causes the hole? Do you need to specify the actual size? $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2020 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


Hot-air Balloons are already made with large holes in them. They are called vents. They can be located in the balloon’s top or sides. They tend to be much much larger than the 4-inch diameter you described in your question. But, their opening and closing are controlled by the pilots. Research the FAA Balloon Flying Handbook. It will give you much more insight than I can.


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