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July 9, 2000 - Solo Flight

Quick round of golf, anyone?

[Click on thumbnails to see full size pictures]
You'll never guess where we launched from this morning (for a clue, try the Previous flight links above and below!). For the seventh time in a row, we're at our preferred launch site for winds out of the northwest.

Four balloons this morning. Joining Robert Zirpolo, Erwin Dressel and ourselves is Rob Metz with his new Firefly 7 (and I mean new - this is its second flight). Santo is flying with Rob today and I'm doing my fourth solo.

I've got Lisa as well as Al, an old friend crewing for his first time, chasing me, and I've left the camera with them. Here's a nice shot of "Big Green" against today's interesting-looking early morning sky.

Our track is toward the southeast, similar to last week and after about 35 minutes, we're approaching Timberland golf course. As I drop down low on my approach, I admire the reflection of the balloon in a pond just before the golf course, and Lisa snaps this shot while she and Al wait to see what I'm going to do next.

Low down, I catch an almost 90-degree right turn which takes me over the first part of the golf course right by the parking lot. A landing here would be ideal, but there are golfers on that fairway so I decide to wait a bit, climb and fly on further.

Ten minutes later I'm still over the golf course, but this part of the course is deserted so I decide to land after all. Here I'm approaching my landing spot over the trees.
By now I'm right in the middle of the golf course, equidistant from the access roads at both ends, so it takes a few minutes for my crew to reach me. Al takes this shot as he and Lisa approach over a gentle rise in the ground, while I wave hello.
Lisa has reached the basket now, and we discuss the plan for deflating the balloon.

I give them the drop line and they pull me to the edge of the golf course (about 250 yards) while I fly the balloon at about 10 or 15 feet above the ground. I land again right by the access road, and we deflate the balloon onto the road to keep it dry and avoid having to take out the tarps.

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