It was quite windy this morning and we were not sure if we would be able to fly today. Scott really wanted to fly because he is doing competition, also the weather the next two days is supposed to be bad and most probably no one will fly. We went to the pilots briefing and the winds aloft (high) are really strong. We went off field and tried to find a direction to fly and get to the field for the competition. Scott drove to Corrales and we watched to see how other balloons were flying. We did inflate the balloon, and Scott decided to fly, but not to do competition. It was really windy on the ground and we could feel it as we were inflating the balloon. Photo Album.
After the balloon was inflated, we were all holding the basket down so it wouldn’t float up until we were ready. Scott told Michael who has also been crewing all week to get in the basket, and then he told me to also. What an unexpected surprise for me. I didn’t know I would be getting a ride this time. I loved to help crew the balloon, I learn so much. I’m really grateful and happy I was able to go up because I love the feeling of floating in the air and seeing everything from the sky. It’s so quiet and peaceful in the air.
Before we took off Scott told us since the winds were strong that we might have a hard landing and bounce so he asked if we were okay with that and we said we were. Once in the air he told us how to hold on to the ropes in the basket, to stoop down in the bottom of the basket, etc. to ensure a safe landing so we would not get hurt. We flew about 30 minutes and went about 3 miles. The winds were not the greatest for flying, but we sure enjoyed our time in the air. Scott pointed out other balloons at various levels, and some near or on the ground and how they were staying inflated so their crews could find them, or so they could lift off again and fly a little further. We watched for a place to land that was not full of cactus, brush, etc. and a spot that the chase vehicle could get to us easily. Scott is such an experienced and caring pilot. The landing was not bad at all. We did bounce a little, and we landed safely and stayed upright as the crew got to us. Just as we were landing a jack rabbit hopped out of the brush a little way in front of us. We came down just off a dirt road and we were able to turn the basket so that the balloon was able to collapse mostly on the dirt road. We had to keep pushing the balloon away from the bushes as it was coming down. If you look at the pictures from today that is a separate album, you will see the bushes, dirt, etc. along the road so you can visualize why we tried to keep pushing and pulling the balloon envelope so it would land in the road, not along side of the road. At a few points, I was under the balloon envelope as it was coming down. By the time we got the balloon deflated and lined up in the road, I was not wearing navy blue and black anymore, I was more of a dusty brown color. Even my hat was really dusty since I also used my head to hold the balloon up off the ground as it was coming down.
I took lots of pictures from the air, and after we got the balloon collapsed and ready to pack into the bag I took more pictures. I even asked Michael to take a picture of Scott and I in the balloon as we were flying, and also with the crew on the ground. Otherwise, I am not in any photos since I am taking them.
Because the pictures I took today show photos taken in the air, and also packing the balloon and equipment, I made a separate photo album. On my photo album page there are 3 albums from this years Balloon Fiesta, and there are albums from last year too.
The weather is supposed to deteriorate this afternoon and Friday so there may not be any special shapes or other balloons inflating this afternoon or tomorrow (Friday). There is a good chance of rain, and of high winds. If balloons inflate or fly, I will get some more pictures. Today and tomorrow is supposed to be the special shapes. Since we went off field to launch today, I didn’t get any special shapes pictures, but I did get some from the other day which are in the photo album.
Late Thursday afternoon the special shapes balloons were supposed to inflate and glow, but the winds were so high that the event was cancelled. It doesn’t look good for tomorrow either. However, the fireworks show did go on after it got dark. This was the third of five fireworks shows. Each one is more spectacular and unusual than the other ones. The company that is putting the show together is so creative. They use fireworks that I have never seen before. The choreography and colors are exceptional and very different than any shows I have seen elsewhere. I can’t even describe how mesmerizing they are to watch. Pictures would not do it justice. The fireworks shows are about 20 to 30 minutes long.
If you want to have a memorable experience, come to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta which is always the beginning of October.