The Business Of Sky Lanterns

One of our partners has recently gone into the business of sky lanterns.  There has been a lot of mentions of sky lanterns in the news recently. Even though they are quite controversial at the moment, if people do use them, we want to ensure that they are used safely.

This is a little different from our usual topics but we ask that readers take into consideration the following guidelines when using sky lanterns:

  • Ensure that there is little or no wind. Anything below 7 mph is reasonable for the launch of sky lanterns.
  • Sky lanterns should only be launched in clear and open spaces. This means that they should be away from any powerlines, buildings or trees. It’s also important not to use sky lanterns within 5 miles of distance of an airport.
  • If there is a breeze, ensure that it is not blowing towards any obstacles such as buildings or trees.
  • Make sure that any spectators are standing up wind of the location where sky lanterns are being launched.
  • Have a bucket of water or a bucket of sand nearby just in case of any emergencies.
  • They should not be launched by children, only by responsible adults.
  • Do not use during droughts or during periods of very dry weather.
  • Do not attempt to launch any lanterns that are damaged or torn.
  • Do not launch Chinese flying lanterns near the coast as they can sometimes be misinterpreted as a signal of distress.
  • Make sure that you read all of this if you instructions very carefully before launching any sky lanterns.


Permission to launch sky lanterns is not generally required but it is advisable to contact the authorities in your local area, such as the coastguard for advice. Lanterns fly roughly for around 5 to 10 minutes, in good weather conditions. They can reach heights of up to 500m but there are many factors that affect this such as the size of the lantern, the fuel cell and temperature of the launch site and also at various heights. When the fuel cell has exhausted, the Lantern should gently and safely float back to Earth and so pose no fire risk.

Good quality sky lanterns are manufactured from eyed going to pull materials such as bamboo, rice and mulberry paper. This means that they decompose in a good amount of time once they land.