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June 1, 2001 - Signed Off Again!

Flying high with Robert

[Click on thumbnails to see full size pictures]

Smilin' pilot
Santo and I have come out this morning to fly with Robert who's flight-testing a Cameron O-90 as part of an annual inspection. I'm surprised to find out, when Robert has inflated the balloon, that the plan is for me to do the flying, fulfilling my requirements for instruction with a different instructor.

Looking up
A view of the inside of the envelope of the balloon. Pretty colors.

Rattlesnake Mountain
We have a track toward the east initially, which means we need to climb to clear the radio towers on Rattlesnake Mountain, seen here as we look back over our shoulders. It's hard to see (in real life too!!!) but there is a pair of tall radio masts atop the mountion.

Since we have to go above a couple of thousand feet anyway, and since the wind aloft is not too fast, we decide to continue climbing, leveling out at about 7,000 feet. This is the highest I've flown in a balloon, and things start to look quite a bit different from this far up.

Stanley Quarter Park
Looking down at Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain, a possible landing spot. We overfly it and go just a little further southeast, landing on a baseball field.

Our approach to landing. We land a short time after this picture in the baseball field in mid-picture.

Driving School!
On our way back after packing up, we're all amused when Robert points out this storefront for a driving school. Given that I've been taking flying lessons from Santo, the "Santo Driving School" is a must-take picture!

Oh, and I got my sign-off. Thanks, Robert!

Our track this morning. While the winds aloft were a fairly reliable W to NW, down low it was light and variable, giving us a lot of steerability.

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