The Chase, a demanding sport of it's own!
Because balloons cannot fly back into the wind, every balloon that flies needs a Chase Crew and vehicle. The Chase Crew follows the balloon on it's journey over the beautiful landscape below.
Our mission on the ground is to follow the balloon we are crewing for by road and to try to be at the landing site before the balloon gets there in case assistance is needed.
We keep in radio contact with the balloon so we can talk to the pilot and passengers during the flight. One of the biggest challenges is to keep the balloon in sight during the flight. Believe it or not you can loose something as large as a balloon. The pilot may drop down behind hills or trees or may do a gentle splash and dash in a pond or lake before rising into the sky again.
Another challenge can be deciding which road to take and hoping that it's not a dead end. It's best to stick to major roads until the pilot radios a possible landing spot.
Photo by M. Johnson
Then you can go for a side road to the landing site. We attempt to get permission to land from the landowner before the balloon actually comes in but this is not always possible. Most people are very excited and happy to have a balloon land on their property.
While the chase is exciting and challenging it is also very rewarding. Once the balloon is packed away we drive back to where the journey began. A Champagne toast completes the experience, stories are swapped and new friends are made.
If this sounds like fun to you and you are reasonably fit and can get up
early in the morning you may be a future crew person. You can earn free
rides for yourself and your friends while joining a fun loving group of people.
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