Previous flight  Next flight  Back to the main ballooning page

November 4, 2000 - Pleasure flight

Al flies again

[Click on thumbnails to see full size pictures]

This morning we're launching from Spring St, along with 5 other balloons (Matt, Erwin, Robert, Santo/Carlos and Frank). Al is flying with me with Eric chasing, coincidentally the same arrangement as for Al's last flight.

Santo is giving Carlos a lesson in Carlos' balloon, "Betsy to Heavens." "Betsy" is an Aerostar Aurora 54k, and is pictured here during cold inflation.

The forecast has light and variable on the surface and northwest winds aloft at about 10kt, so we expect a flight toward the southeast, within the valley.

After we've drifted downwind a bit, we look back to see (from left) Matt about to take off, Santo and Carlos aloft in "Betsy," and Frank cold-inflating.

In the background is the Otis building. Also, you can see that the smoke from that smokestack is vertical, indicating how calm the wind is.

We've been aloft for about 40 minutes when Al points out a possibly suitable smallish field for landing. It's a bit scruffy with some long weeds, but it quickly becomes clear that it will work. As we descend, Eric is waiting in a nearby turning circle; we ask him to get out of the car and wave to us!

Although we still have plenty of fuel and could fly on, we'll have to overfly an area with lots of trees to get to the next suitable area, so I let the balloon cool a little to make our approach and, ultimately, landing.

Al gets out and walks the balloon a bit away from our landing point so we can deflate onto the clearest portion of the field. Eric arrives almost immediately, he and Al spread the tarps and we deflate.

We're almost done with the deflation when I hear a burner, and see the top of another balloon approaching from behind the trees. Sure enough, in a couple of minutes, Frank Bart appears drifting along slowly to a landing in the same field, which has two levels (we're on the lower one; you can see the bottom of our basket in the shot).

After carrying the basket and envelope to where the trailer is parked (thanks to Frank's son, Steve, for helping out!) we load up and head for Gene's for breakfast.

Our GPS ground track from today's flight, covering about 5.5 miles in 45 minutes.

Previous flight  Next flight  Back to the main ballooning page