-Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2009

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description Ok. We are at the Balloon Fiesta and have joined a crew. Might as well do it all. Competition day and we are launching off field from a zuccini field.

The pilots will fly over the field and drop markers hoping to hit a target. Some days the winds cooperate and some days they don't.

First lesson. Roll the balloon out.

When the pilot begins to inflate the balloon, someone has to hold onto the crown rope to keep the balloon stable.

First they use a large fan to inflate the balloon and then when it is almost full, the pilot begins the burner.

There he goes.

Then the chase crew tries to keep up......via radio contact. Once back on the ground, it is time to fold up. First spread out tarps to protect the ballon.

Luckily our balloon is a small one. Later in the week, we helped with a large balloon.........lots more work. Our balloon only weighed 275# vs the 1000# of the bigger one.

Keep folding in........

Ah, the days began early......in the dark. Here the dawn patrol goes up at 6a.m. to get wind data and determine if it is safe to fly today. Mornings were cold.

Dick is helping to hold open the mouth of the balloon for inflating it.

as first the fan inflates the balloon and then as Denni, the pilot, starts up the burners. it starts llifting.

We are up

and off! Me too!

My turn to fly. There is the crew folding up and getting ready to chase us.

It was special shapes day.....here are a few of the others still on the field.

Every imaginable shape.

The more intricate the shape, the more costly the balloon.

A simple balloon might cost $15,000 while the more intricate, $100,000!

A fishie....Nemo was even here but no pictures of him.

This was a quiet day on the field.

Here is one of my favorites, but we helped launch it later in the week......egads. Difficult. Took 25 people!

Looking up. The flying was neat but not quite as thrilling as I expected.

Two bees in from Brazil.

Here is our strawberry.

At night the balloons would inflate and stay on the field for a glow.

This was special shapes glow night.

Again us.

Morning again and up and off.

While out on a chase, we passed this one landing in a field. When launching and landing off field, it is every pilot for himself. Anywhere open works