Photo by D. Guisto
High adventure and unique sightseeing opportunities!
A Typical morning: The day of your flight starts with a phone call. The pilot has already called weather and crew. You get directions on where to meet the pilot. Take off spots usually vary depending on wind direction. You're reminded to bring plenty of film.
At the field the crew springs into action unloading and setting up the system. The pilot releases a small helium filled balloon to check wind speed and direction. The final decision is made, its a go!
The gasoline powered inflator fan comes to life and the envelope starts to take shape. You may want to help out and hold one side of the mouth open so the envelope can fill with air. The pilot makes his pre-flight inspection and walkaround. When he returns to the basket it's time to light the burner.
Everyone is signaled that the pilot is ready to burn, then the burner roars out, you feel the radiant heat and the envelope now fully packed with air starts to rise. Slowly at first, like a sleeping giant wakened by the sound of the burner. It continues up until its fully upright. The crew rushes over to put weight on the basket to keep it from leaving too soon. Passengers in the basket! Instruments checked, radio check! One long blast and you're off. The ground falls away and time stands still.
Ballooning is such a unique and beautiful experience that words cannot fully describe the feeling. It truly must be lived to be appreciated. Each flight is different yet as exciting as your first. One of the greatest satisfactions for me as a pilot is seeing the looks on the faces of first time passengers and then listening to them describe the flight to their friends after we land.
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