The balloons came up our way this morning and it was great. None landed in our back, but they landed all around us. One landed down our street early on.
Then, a Kansas University (KU) balloon, with a Jayhawk on it, came flying over and landed on the street in front of our house. Betty went out to greet them and talked with them while they waited for their chase crew to come and help take the envelope down.
Yep, a great morning.
Jerre Ann, this video is for you to encourage you to come next year.
I’m posting this about 7 PM, MDT. The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is about to start. Instead of hot air, these balloons use helium to get their lift. And, the goal is to be the pilot who goes the longest distance from Albuquerque.
The race can last several days and one year the winner finally landed in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Always something different going on during Balloon FIesta week.
The balloons came up this morning, but headed Northwest so none landed close to our house.
However, I captured some video of last night’s Balloon Glow. The video starts with the Glow itself. As the Glow winds down, four skydivers jump and put on a show as they head to land next to the balloons.
After the Glow part, you’ll see the jumpers in their jump plane getting ready in their lighted suits. As they jump they put on quite a show. The video will go from a camera on the ground and back to one of the jumpers with a camera on his helmet.
The weather was perfect this morning for the mass ascension — especially if one was down at the Balloon Field. The reason is the Albuquerque Box was in effect.
The Albuquerque Box is a unique pattern of winds that is not found that many places. It works when the ground and lower winds are moving toward the North and the higher winds are moving toward the South.
This combination of winds allows the pilots to take off, move slightly to the North. As the balloon lifts, it can pick up the Southward winds and head back toward the field. Many of the balloons are able to land back on the field where they took off.
This short timelapse video illustrates the Box at work.
The only problem for us is the balloons don’t come up our way and land around us. Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of days this week where that happens.
So, to give you an idea of the Fiesta, here are some more TV captures.
These are the Bees… Mama Bee, Papa Bee and Baby Bee — and they are a crowd favorite. They are tethered together when they lift off and then separate once they’re in the air.
Some of the balloonists don’t take advantage of the Box and go along the Rio Grande River to do a Splash ‘N Dash… where they come down to just touch the water with their gondola before raising up again into the air.
Today, Saturday, is the first day of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The forecast was very good. The morning had everything you want for a mass ascension of the balloons… cool temperatures, almost no wind… but we had something we haven’t had in our 16 years… FOG.
That’s our view and there’s an 11,000 foot mountain behind all that fog. This is extremely rare.
The local TV stations broadcast the Fiesta on the weekend and a lot of the balloons did inflate on the field. Here are some screen captures of our TV, taken by their news helicopter…
A few balloons did take off and here’s another helicopter picture from our TV…
Tomorrow’s forecast is very good, so hopefully we’ll see some balloons up our way if the wind cooperates.
The 48th annual Balloon Fiesta officially starts today, Friday. This is the event pin for this year’s Fiesta…
Almost 1 million people will attend throughout the week and it is without doubt the most photographed event in the whole world.
There are almost 600 balloons, including over 100 special shape balloons. American pilots come from 41 states and what’s amazing is how many foreign pilots come and ship their balloons over. Here are the countries represented this year:
Brazil, Belgium, Great Britain, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Colombia, Czech Republic, Kenya, Spain, India, andThailand.
Two of the crowd favorites, Darth Vader and Yoda, come from Belgium.
I’m posting this early on Saturday. If we do get balloons up our way later this morning, I’ll do another post.