Saturday, February 24, 2007

As Victor would say, I don't believe it!

Once again when the Joke arrives at my desktop it comes in two versions.

How does that happen.

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and
spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted,
"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an
hour ago, but I don't know where I am".
The woman below replied,
"You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the
ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and
60 degrees west longitude."
"You must be in IT Support", said the balloonist.
"I am", replied the woman, "How did you know"?
"Well", answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technical but
I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still
lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed
my trip."
The woman below responded, "You must be in Management".
"I am", replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well", said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.
You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made
a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath
you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position
you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's all my fault."

Cheers all


Its been a while but..

Yes and now the engineers version.

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces
height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts,
"Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet
above this field."

"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.

"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must be in management."

"I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going,
but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were
before we met, but now it's my fault."


Its the two balloon crash story again!

So is it the fashion to arrive abruptly in pairs in the US?? I wonder if
this is not the same story repeated and like the balloon joke it will keep
popping up this summer!

2 hot air balloons crash-land in C. Fla.


Two hot air balloons crash-landed in Osceola County, Fla., today, according
to FLORIDA TODAY news partner WKMG Local6 News.

Authorities said one of the balloons went down off Basnett Circle in the
Windsor Hill area. There were no reported injuries in connection with the

A second balloon also went down, according to officials, off Sand Hill Road.

It was not known if there were any injuries in connection with the second

Hot Air Balloon Forum

I am gettign there with the forum.

Its not that hard to do though! It was started in response to emails and
queries I get from new pilots about there working conditions with others.
When you start in any game you get the raw end of the stick but some bosses
really take the rise out of their new pilots. Thats not fair!

So I have left the ability to send in anonymous entries.

That way the things that are wanted to be said are said. If however it
becomes personal with company names and perhaps fellow pilots names being
bought into the discussion I will cull it.

The idea is to work out the safest practice and fairest way to treat ride
pilots. I am not going to be making friends with my fellow ride operators.

If you have something for sale or a ride opertion you would like to mention
then feel free in the pub section.


Friday, February 23, 2007

New Ballooning Forum

Hi all

Beginning to put together a forum at

Hopefully it will eventually include an RSS feed from here.

Then everything will be in one place!



Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nokia GPS application

I just bought myself a new Nokia N61 the other day and whilst looking for software
I came across

Nokia bought out a German mapping company last year and have just bought this free mapping application to the market.

Its flipping brilliant considering the cost (free nix nada) and with addition of a 30 quid bluetooth GPS you have a functioning detailed mapping system.

The catch comes if you want turn by turn navigation, then you have to pay, otherwise, its free.

It even shows the road I live in down here in South Africa, its that informed! In the UK it offers searches by postcode and streetname.

It will come pre installed from the Nokia N95 onward, you'll have to check if you have a suitable phone and hand install it otherwise.

If your coming up for an upgrade its worth thinking about. Can you tell I'm impressed ;-)

Much nerdyness

Oh and whats the big balloon advantage?? I think you can send your crew an SMS with your position embedded, they then open the SMS and it shows on their phone on a map! Then can easily hop and skip over to the farmer and show him ;-) As I'm the only person I know with this I can't test it!!

Ok its not a full aviation database GPS but a really cheap standby solution.

I am busy trying to find a cheap Bluetooth GPS unit right now down here but I think I'm going to have to order from Europe.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Model Balloons

This is a very heartwarming and cool comment on ballooning!

Jonathan, my fourteen-year-old aeronautic genius, has been perfecting the
craft of model hot air balloon making for a few years now. I would venture
to say that he's finally mastered his technique.

How do I know this? Well, a few days ago, one of his balloons traveled 230
miles -- all the way to North Carolina.


Every couple of weeks, Jonathan releases a balloon tagged with his web site
information and a request to please email him with the date, time, and
location of the discovery of the balloon. Sometimes he never hears anything,
the balloon having found its untimely end in an empty field or high in the
branches of an ancient tree.

But sometimes he receives an email from an enthusiastic passerby who has
found a balloon at the ends of its travels.

It fascinates me. I mean, these are solar balloons, which means that, once
you inflate them, they are powered by the heat of the sun, which is easily
absorbed through their black surfaces. I've watched them sail quietly into
the stratosphere until they become tiny dots against the bright sky.

Then, they're gone.

Until somebody writes from 230 miles away and says, "We found your balloon."

Want to read more about it? Visit Jonathan's Balloon Web Site!

You can learn how to MAKE YOUR OWN BALLOON <>
<> .

Okay, so I'm a little proud of him.

I'm just glad that I'm raising a kid who's way cooler than I was at his age.
Take a minute -- visit his web site. And let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hands up all those that think that these were normal landings

The media can get it all wrong when reporting balloon landings, one mans
stand up landing in a car park is anothers near disaster.

I think I would put money down that this was the case here.......

Two hot air balloons crash landed in Osceola County, Fla., Tuesday,
according to Local6 News.

Authorities said one of the balloons went down off Basnett Circle in the
Windsor Hill area. There were no reported injuries in connection with the

A second balloon also went down, according to officials, off Sand Hill Road.

There were no injuries in the second crash, Local 6 News reported.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

Jelle Buyse, balloon stuff collector

Just received an email from this chap, maybe someone here can help.


Dear Sir / Madam;

I'm Jelle Buyse from Belgium and I'm a crewmember and balloon-items

Some months ago, I've made a web log (
<> ) where a put my new balloon-items on,
together with a link to the team…

I've already a extensive collection of Belgian balloon-items, but I want to
extend my collection of foreign balloon-items. Would you like to help me?

You can help me by giving and sending flight certificates, leaflets,
stickers, pins, cards, … I collect really EVERYTHING about ballooning!

Thanking you in advance,

That Joke again......

This one from a doctors joke website!! Also its slightly different to the
normal one that does the rounds, but I think we can see from the same family

Four surgeons went on a balloon trip, intending to cross the Netherlands
from East to West.

After a good start, the wind changed and blew them in the exact opposite

After crossing a beach, sea and another beach, they knew they were flying
somewhere over the United Kingdom.

The wind didn't allow them to land, but when passing over a rural area they
spotted a man walking on a small road.

They shouted to draw his attention, and asked him where they were.

The man looked upwards, and without speaking a word, started to take notes,
even took some Polaroids, which he studied for a few moments, walking along
with the flying balloon.

Then he said: "I can definitely say that you're in a hot air balloon."

"Just our luck," one of the surgeons mumbled. He leaned over the rim of the
basket and shouted: "Let me guess, you're a neurologist."

"Correct," the man answered, "but how do you know?"

"Because your information was very exact, but completely useless in
practical situations!"

I liked this one too, could be handy for passenger ride flights.

Neurotics build castles in the clouds.
Psychotics live in the castles in the clouds.
Psychiatrists charge both of them rent.

Monday, February 19, 2007

New season flight safety, UK Powerline strike

I have been flying way too much, which is good I suppose! But has meant a
lack of attention here.

At the beginning of the year I hoped for a safe start to the season in the
Northern Hemisphere and it seems the incidents are starting!

The weather must have improved.

Not that we are immune down here.

Hot-air balloon hits power lines
A hot-air balloon pilot had a lucky escape after becoming entangled in power
lines in Oxfordshire.
The alarm was raised when about 500 homes in the Standlake area, near
Witney, lost power on Sunday evening.

Firefighters assisted electricity board engineers in removing a balloon from
11,000-volt electricity lines at a leisure park, off the A415 Downs Road.

The pilot was able to release himself safely and no one else was injured in
the incident.

Thames Valley Police closed Downs Road for an hour while the balloon was

A spokesman for Southern Electric said power was restored to homes within
two hours.

Time to chuckle at the google ads that will be served now that and incident
is mentioned again.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Heres the first one I absolutly don't believe

Well UFO's, special shapes and big claims for balloon events but this....

Balloon Test Reminder

This from Mark Shroder of the North College Park Citizen's Association:

On Saturday, February 17th, from 8:30 am to 11 am, giant hot-air balloons
will rise above the CSX/Metro railroad tracks to demonstrate the heights of
buildings proposed for the Greenbelt Station development. The balloons will
go to 12 stories next to the station itself, to 16 or 18 stories across the
tracks from Al Huda, and to 14 stories where Narragansett ditch runs below
the tracks.

The purpose of the demonstration is so that the neighbors can gauge the
impact of these heights for themselves.

City and county officials, and representatives of the developer, will be on
hand at the Greenbelt Metro to answer questions and take comments.

Show me a hot air balloon pilot that can be that accurate and I'll show you
a fibber.

Now what do the rest of you think ;-)


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Branson effect is warming the globe

See the original

Aaron Timms
February 12, 2007

Other related coverage
Branson-Gore crusade
Climate change key issue for federal poll: Flannery
By announcing a $25 million prize for the first person to come up with a way
of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, Sir Richard Branson has
inadvertently drawn attention to the solution to many of the planet's global
warming woes.

As the airline kingpin threw balls into the air and exchanged notes on hair
management with Al Gore on Saturday at the press conference to announce the
prize, one thing became clear: the single greatest source of noxious hot air
in the world is Branson himself. As with many aspects of global warming, the
science is complex, but it is estimated that on average, 100 Inuits will be
displaced each time Branson holds a press conference. His recent
announcement of a plan to allow the Ashes to stay in Australia, for
instance, released so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that in future
it will come to be seen as the single biggest reason for the disappearance
of Tuvalu.

Press conferences about Branson's passion for ballooning have been
particularly damaging, combining the hot air of his words with the hot air
of the balloon to create a lethal emissions cocktail. If we are serious
about helping the Earth with its gas problem, it is clear we must first
abolish Sir Richard Branson.

The next step on the road to making the Earth cool again is to get Al Gore
making more documentaries. An Inconvenient Truth was a stunning
demonstration of the enduring pedagogical value of wall charts. But the
documentary also had a very practical impact on the reduction of greenhouse
emissions, by keeping people indoors. Humans - who release carbon dioxide
into the air through respiration - can only emit as long as there is an
atmosphere for them to emit into. Keep them in the darkened non-atmosphere
of a cinema and, sure, they'll keep on emitting, but the emissions will stay
behind closed doors.

Just as "No taxation without representation" and "No blood for oil" were the
slogans that defined, respectively, the Boston Tea Party and that bit of the
early 1990s where Australia started exporting barrels of crude human blood
in return for Iraqi oil, so our era will come to be known by its own
catchcry: "Keep emitters in cinemas."

The final two steps are more simple. First, we must get the Earth more
sinks. Carbon sinks are best, but aluminium ones will do. Second, we must
divest the planet of Siberia and all other useless sub-Arctic land masses.
I'm not exactly sure why, but it just seems like a good idea.

Sir Richard, your cheque please.

If I were a balloon pilot...

What if I was a hot air balloon pilot?



Are they even called pilots? Anyways, I was in my somewhat empty head today
just checking things out when I thought …….. What if I was a hot air balloon
pilot ……. I thought that would be pretty cool. I was thinking who cares if
you can't steer the thing, Canada is pretty big and I live pretty much in
the middle, so who cares which way the wind is blowing, I would land on the
ground. But then I thought ………

What if I was a hot air balloon pilot in Ireland. Man, now that would take a
brave soul. Could you imagine? A mechanical error or human error would send
you over the ocean. You would be forced to just float up there until you ran
out of propane, or what ever they run on. You would just float around
looking at he endless ocean knowing that your watery cold grave is below …..
just a matter of time.

But then I got a thinking, how easy would it be to steal a hot air balloon?
Probably not that hard. I mean just untie it and go ……. Or when they are
stored they would probably have to be in a warehouse or something, probably
no one around. So just like steal one, drive it to the country side and fly
fly fly. The reason I say this is, if I where in Cuba or Mexico or something
and wanted to jump illegally over the American boarder …… what better way
than a hot air balloon. I mean, they float 59 chevys across the ocean,
wouldn't a balloon ride be better? well … as long as the wind stays true.

I have more hot air balloon thoughts in that somewhat empty head of mine,
but why would anyone still be reading this? In fact, I must be typing to
myself right now. No one is such a loser that they would actually kept
reading this after the Ireland part, could they? I mean, if you where
reading these words right now it would probably prove that you are the
biggest loser on finheaven. And I don't mean those biggest loser types that
lose weight, I mean this biggest loser types that lose friends. Well, that
is if you had any to begin with. I should stop typing because I am wasting
ink. No wait, I am not using ink. So what am I wasting? It wouldn't be
electricity because my computer would be on anyways. So am I really wasting
anything at all? I could be wasting your time if you where still reading
this, but I already established that no one is still reading this, so no
time is being wasted. I am not wasting my time because I have nothing better
to do with my self. Oh, wait, I got it. I am wasting some calories, because
it would take a few to type this. But is that really called 'wasting'
calories since using them is a good thing? So here I am still typing and not
solving any of the questions I have. Hey, what is that over there. It looks

What a way to go!

Just found this little gem,

2 found dead under deflated balloon

Police say there does not appear to have been any foul play in the
pair's death.

Published June 3, 2006


LUTZ — The son of a prominent Tampa jeweler and young woman from Lutz were
found dead Saturday morning inside a deflated promotional balloon used to
advertise condominiums at LakeView at Calusa Trace.

Jason Ackerman, 21, a junior at the University of South Florida, and Sara
Rydman, 21, of Lutz, were found by a maintenance man around 9:45 a.m. when
he noticed two bodies protruding from the deflated balloon, which was
spread out across the grass near the complex entrance. Sheriff's deputies
said the two were fully clothed and were not victims of foul play.

"It does not appear that anybody did anything to them," said Maj. Bob
Schrader, adding that there was no evidence to suggest anyone put their
bodies in the balloon to hide them. "The deaths appear to be accidental."

Investigators would not speculate on the cause of death, but Sara Rydman's
mother, Linda Rydman, said the Hillsborough Medical Examiner suggested that
inhaling helium had contributed to their deaths.

"It was more of a fun thing they thought they were doing," she said. "You
know how you blow up the balloon and suck the helium…"

Inhaling helium can cause brain damage and death, according to the
Compressed Gas Association, which develops safety standards in the gas
industry. When the lungs are filled with helium, oxygen is removed from the
bloodstream. Depending on how much helium is inhaled, a person could lose
consciousness quickly and die from lack of oxygen.

An 18-year-old died in 2003 in Vancouver, Canada, after inhaling the helium
he was using to blow up balloons for a toddler's birthday party. And a
48-year-old software consultant died in 2002 in Morrisville, N.C., after
inhaling helium from a 20-pound tank.

Euthanasia experts have advocated the use of helium in ending lives without
physician assistance.

A complex manager saw the balloon, which is about 8 feet in diameter,
stretched high into the air, at 6:45 p.m. Friday, said sheriff's spokeswoman
Debbie Carter.

Sometime later — Friday night or Saturday morning — after parking the Lexus
ES300 Ackerman was driving near the complex's clubhouse, the two apparently
pulled the balloon out of the sky and squeezed themselves inside, where they

Carter said a fan is used to fill the balloon, and the opening in the bottom
is large enough to allow the pair to crawl inside.

Ackerman lived in the Calusa Trace apartment complex, and Rydman lived with
her parents on nearby Kingbird Road, in Lutz.

As sheriff's deputies shielded the bodies from view with a tarp, residents
of the lake-front condo complex exchanged puzzled conversation.

"This is not the kind of place where this happens," said Torrance Saunders,
30, who moved here from Richmond, Va., a few months ago.

"All upper-class here," said Don Hassee, 40, a business consultant who has
lived here a year. "You look around and it's all trees and good neighbors."

Sheriff's deputies removed from the Lexus a bag filled with clothes and
pulled a wad of money from a wallet found inside. Carter said no drugs or
alcohol were found in the car or on the two bodies.

"It's very sad that such a tragedy could happen," said Jeff Ricketts, the
developer who built the complex of upscale condos. "To lose two kids like
this is beyond sad."

Ackerman's friends covered his MySpace Web site with messages by Saturday

"I'm in shock," one person wrote. "Complete shock."

Laura McFarlan said Ackerman was fun-loving and quick with a joke.

"He was fabulous," said the 21-year-old who kept in touch with him when she
moved from Tampa to Miami. "Funniest person I knew."

Ackerman graduated from Sickles High School and loved Quentin Tarantino
movies and watching Inside The Actors Studio. On his Web site he boasted to
his friends of drinking and partying, and also said he was majoring in
advertising at USF, with a minor in creative writing.

"He's been through a lot but he had things together lately," McFarlan said.

His father, Ron Ackerman, has for years owned North Tampa's popular Ackerman
Jewelers. A sign taped to the entry Saturday afternoon said "closed early
for inventory." The family could not be reached for comment.

Rydman also graduated from Sickles. Her mother said she had attended
Hillsborough Community College and worked at Paesan's Seafood Italiano on
Dale Mabry Highway.

"I think she was mischievous to be honest with you," said Linda Rydman, who
blotted her eyes with a tissue. "She just liked fun and I think it cost

Friday, February 09, 2007

That map thing in the Nav bar

I have to know..

Come on own up, your looking at this blog alot.

I have been looking at the map of visitors and someone is way up in Hudson Bay, Canada, in fact must be Alaska I guess.

Own up leave a comment and tell us what ballooning is like up there ;-)

Heres what I know....

Time: 12:30 pm - February 9, 2007
Page: /index.html
Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0
OS: win|xp
Resolution: 1024x768x32

Yes I'm spying on you all


Sole of Africa Balloon Festival Event Map

I will place a map below, the clever thing about it is that it will update automatically when any of the committee (Yes I know I hate commitees as well) changes anything. ie updates it.

Should be useful a little way down the line for visiting pilots and the public alike.

You can zoom in and out and see where everything is in relation to the rest of South Africa!!


Aston University build a balloon

7 February 2006 – for immediate release

Aston University will soon be welcoming sixth form students from across the country to design, build and launch a hot air balloon.

The students will be making preparations for take off as part of an Engineering and Science residential event on Friday 16th – Saturday 17th February.

The event, which has been organised in association with NAGTY* (National Association for Gifted and Talented Youth), has been designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop and enrich their knowledge of the subjects by participating in a fun and challenging project.

Students will apply for one of four Engineering and Science options (GIS/Multimedia, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Chemistry/Chemical Engineering) and will work in teams of eight to complete the project.

Those students choosing the Chemical Engineering/Chemistry Strand will be involved in providing a suitable fuel source for the balloon. The Electronics students will modify a miniature digital camera to enable it to take a series of photographs during the balloon voyage. Once the balloon has been successfully launched, digital photos will be taken to provide data for the GIS (Geographic Information System) students.

Those who have chosen the Mechanical Engineering option of the project will be involved in designing and making a mini basket to be attached to the balloon. They will also be responsible for calculating the different forces acting on the balloon, to ensure its stability before launching.

Vice-Chancellor of Aston University Professor Julia King will give a welcome talk to the students attending the event.

Another balloonist on thin ice or was it the same guy?

Hard to believe its snowing in the UK and US when your sat typing this on a
lovely sunny day in South Africa.

Still our time will come. Especially here on the edge of the Drakensberg.

Anyhow spotted this one.

Hot air balloon festival planned

ESCANABA — Delta County will be full of hot air this summer when "Balloons
on the Bay" hot air balloon festival debuts in June. Organizers plan to make
it an annual event. It will feature a colorful conglomeration of hot air
balloons dotting the Delta County skyline, with activities and entertainment
for people of all ages.

Scheduled for June 26 through July 1, "Balloons on the Bay" will be held at
the U.P. State Fairgrounds in conjunction with the annual Pioneer Days and
Lumberjack show. The festival is being organized by OSF St. Francis Hospital
& Medical Group and the Delta County Commerce Center. Events will feature a
blend of the old and new, including hot air balloon rides, a lumberjack
show, barbeque cook-off and much more.

The event was announced at Saturday's Delta County Chamber of Commerce Love

"We are so pleased to bring this new, fun and exciting event to our
communities," said Vickie Micheau, executive director for the Delta County
Chamber of Commerce. "We offer this as an occasion for friends and family to
experience the splendor of hot air ballooning against the backdrop of
beautiful Bays de Noc, while taking in all the unique opportunities Delta
County has to offer."

Balloons will be lifting off Friday evening, June 29, Saturday morning and
evening on June 30 and Sunday morning, July 1. Residents can gather each
evening to enjoy a "balloon glow" and tethered rides will be available for
$15 per person throughout the week, weather permitting.

Proceeds from "Balloons on the Bay" will benefit the OSF St. Francis
Hospital Foundation and OSF Bay de Noc Hospice. Complete events and
activities are still being planned and will be announced as details are
finalized, said Micheau.

"This is an occasion people will not want to miss, so mark your calendars
and watch for further details."

Plans to announce the event got off to a rough start Friday. Part of the
announcement was to have a hot air ballon offshore of the Terrace Bay Supper
Club, where the Love Affair was held Saturday night. On Friday, a truck
delivering the ballon broke through the ice on Little Bay de Noc. TKL towing
freed the truck from approximately three feet of water and ice after a
one-hour effort.

Dennis and Amanda Neuens were winners of the top prize at Saturday's Love
Affair — a 2006 Dodge Charger. They had a one in 54 chance of winning the
car, Micheau said. Their tickets were purchased by Amanda's employer, Auto
Glass Specialists. Dennis works for Blue Fox Construction. The couple
recently moved back to the area from Appleton, Wis., Micheau said.

A punch-through board was replicated from the "Price is Right" game show for
the car contest's final drawing. The Neuens advanced to the final round and
chose number 14, Dennis' birthday, said Micheau. Dennis punched number 14
and drew out the card with a picture of the car on it.

"He (Dennis) was in absolute disbelief," Micheau said.

He and his wife are expecting a baby, Micheau noted. Peter Jennings, who was
chair of the Love Affair, is also administrator at OSF St. Francis Hospital.

He announced Saturday OSF St. Francis would purchase a baby car seat for the
Neuens' new car.

For more information about "Balloons on the Bay" and annual Pioneer Days
activities, call the Delta County Commerce Center at (906) 786-–2192 or
visit <> or

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sole of Africa Balloon Meet, KwaZulu Natal April 19 - 22

Well its coming together...

The Sole of Africa in conjunction with Airborne Adventures Africa,
Nottingham Road Tourism and surrounding entities will be hosting a Hot Air
Balloon event in the Natal Midlands region over the period of 19 – 21 April

The event was a planned event by the latter parties and they have approached
the Mineseeker Foundation to see how they could assist with the Sole of
Africa campaign. It has mutually agreed by all parties that it would be
beneficial to all to make the Sole of Africa campaign the beneficiary, in
predominately a media way, to promote awareness for the campaign.

It has been decided then rather creates an event that is too large and
costly; it would be wiser and more beneficial to aim for a smaller, but
highly focussed event.

The prime objective of the event is to attract as much media attention as
possible and therefore the event activities have been selected as such. This
will in turn provide sponsors with a high return in investment as well as
assisting the Nottingham Road region in their ongoing tourism drive to host
extraordinary events.

It is planned that the Hot Air Balloon Festival (HOABF) be a small and
prestigious annual event, thereby establishing it as a sought after
corporate event. After discussions it has been decided to limit the event to
120 guests of the corporate sponsor and The Mineseeker Foundation. The
precise split of these guests would be mutually negotiated.

The Nottingham Road area is well-known for its high-end hospitality
industry, with exceptional country style guest houses and hotels.

In addition the Nottingham Road hospitality, restaurants and small foods
business will be hosting the 'Slow Food Week', an event which presents the
best food and dishes in the region.

The combination of these two events will allow for the public to enjoy both
events, the HOABF, being free to the public, with exception to the access to
areas restricted to the HOABF hospitality areas.

We are aiming to have 15-20 balloons at this event, which would be one of
the largest gatherings in South Africa. In addition to this there will be
'special shape' balloons and rides on offer.

The Music from the Skies event would be an AFRICAN first, this has been
previously done in the United Kingdom and Australia, so we are drawing on
the experience of these balloonists.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not Once BUt Twice in a Day

This time with a political spin from


The Republican and the Democrat look at the world

Dear Editor, A woman in a hot-air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered
her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below.

She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would
meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air
balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above
sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100
degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

She rolled her eyes and said, " You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know."

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically
correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I am still
lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.
You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made
a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your
problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but,
somehow, now it's my fault."

George McKee


It did'nt take long for this balloon joke to come up again

Amazing how this joke pops up heres another version

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces
height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts,
"Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet
above this field."
"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.
"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's of no use to anyone."
The man below says, "You must be in management."
"I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going,
but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were
before we met, but now it's my fault."

Nebraska man bursts balloon record

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- Rich Jaworski stayed aloft in a hot-air balloon in
bitter-cold temperatures near here for nearly a day, breaking his own flight
duration record by more than 10 hours.

Jaworski, of Blair, Neb., took off from Grand Forks at 10:14 a.m. Sunday and
landed at 9:27 a.m. on Monday, about nine miles southwest of Page.

Jaworski set the old mark of 13 hours and 13 minutes in February. The mark
of 23 hours and 13 minutes set world records for duration in the AX-4 and
AX-5 balloon categories, his Web site said.

Jaworski and his team chose Grand Forks for the Sunday morning launch
because of the bitter cold weather and low elevation.

The temperature at launch was 21 degrees below zero.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Balloon crew on thin ice

Balloon crew caught on thin ice

By Jennifer Dyck
Feb 05 2007

News that a vehicle had fallen through the ice on Swan Lake sent Search and
Rescue, RCMP, ambulance and fire crews racing to the scene Friday.

No one was injured during the ordeal, yet instead of leaving the area
feeling like heroes, the emergency crews left feeling a little annoyed.

As it turned out, no one had fallen through the ice.

"We just got stuck," said Kendra Michaud, who was driving the van that
someone mistook for falling through the ice.

Michaud was on the lake with several other vehicles who were all part of the
crew for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for Winter Carnival.

But knowing that the ice is unsafe right now, from their view on the Old
Kamloops Road side of Swan Lake, a few residents feared someone had fallen
through the ice. So better to be safe than sorry, they called 9-1-1.

Vernon RCMP Const. Tory Romailler says the situation is an important
reminder to residents to be wary before heading out on any lake in the

"We certainly recommend that they take caution in going out on it."

Pete Wise, SAR manager and flat ice rescue instructor, also stresses the
importance of caution, being prepared by carrying throw bags and testing the
ice for a minimum four-inch thickness.

"This lake has always been a nightmare for us. People just don't think.

"You can get yourself in a lot of trouble out there.

So he advises: "If you're unsure, stay off."

As for the hot air balloon crews on the ice, "they just really put
themselves in a terrible situation," said Wise.

"If the ice had cracked, they wouldn't have just had one, they would have
had all three vehicles in."

Dennis Freier lives on the lake at the Swan Lake RV Park and says anyone who
lives nearby knows not to go on the ice right now.

"When it cracks, it cracks fast.

"The other day a guy was out there ice fishing and heard it crack and just
dropped his line and ran.

"That's why you don't see anybody out here right now because it's not safe
right now."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

South African Balloon Meet

Well I flew Kai yesterday and we had quite a long chat about the balloon meet.

The name is a problem! But we will find a snappy title.

We also hope to have some form of Sky Orchestra, the charity has just recorded a theme song so it would be kind of neat to launch that belting out from hot air balloons flying over Pietermaritzberg in KwaZulu Natal. Just up the road from Durban. It certainly would be a first on the African continent.

We are having a sit down meeting on Tuesday with the loosely formed organizing commitee.

I hate the ideal of commitees but you just have to do something like that to get an event done.

Safe flying all


The people in a balloon joke.

I have decided to start putting every version of this Joke that I see.

Probably every two weeks or a little less a new version with different job descriptions comes in.

So for the first version, the trader.

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced his altitude and saw a man below. “Excuse me, but can you help me?I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don’t know where I am,” he said.

The man below replied: “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 ft above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees North latitude and between 56 and 57 degrees West longitude.”

To which the balloonist replied “You must be a broker.”

To which the man on the ground said: “I am, but how did you know?”

The reply came from above: “Everything you told me is technically correct but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help so far.”

The man below responded: “You must be a trader.”

To which the balloonist replied: “Yes, I am, but how did you know?”

To which the man on the ground said: “You don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to your current position due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Music for balloon drivers

During that year, Mark collaborated with friend Chris Hendrick on a second Artery album, "One

Here is an interesting one that I can across.

I think I will have to purchase the album next time I am in Blighty

One Afternoon In a Hot Air Balloon." Here, Chris displayed his penchant for honky-tonk piano, completely changing the sound of the band. He also made it clear from the start that he had no desire to tour the album, so one night, Mark called me and we met in my car, where he played me a tape of the newly finished album... I liked it a lot.

Now with a new line-up of Mark - vocals, me - piano, my brother David Hinkler on trombone and string machine, Dave Hendrick - bass, Garry Wilson - drums, and John White ("That John White Kid") on guitar and saxophone, we did a few UK shows plus a tour of Italy - which was a terrific experience. After that, Mark and I wrote a few new songs, and demo'd them for our record company "Armageddon." But they were dubious that the piano based sound was marketable, and suggested we be a guitar band. I guess that must have been the reason I quit about that time, and went into producing and engineering.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Those of you in Blighty, you know what to do....

Pop over here

And send a report back

Currently accepting Valentines Day date candidates!

It would be nice to do something different this year for Valentines Day: in
fact just to do something would be good. I must say it would have to be
original yet unique, different and interesting, with some fun thrown in
there as well! So far, I've not had any offers for my date in a hot air
balloon - which by the way I'd still like to do. The closest to a unique
date I have been offered was to go to a huge pool of melted warm chocolate
and have my date dunk me in there so I could be even more sweeter. (Thanks
for the offer Mr. Chocolate dunker!)

You might find yourself in some sort of spam world though.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hot Air Affair

Damn thats probably the best name for a balloon event out!!

Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
Published Thursday, February 01, 2007

This weekend's 18th annual Hot Air Affair brings fun and excitement to
Hudson as we head into February and the home stretch of winter.

By all accounts, this has been a fairly mild winter –- but winter is still
winter with its short days and gray skies. The Hot Air Affair offers a
pleasant oasis as we await spring and endure the final days of winter's

The Hot Air Affair has become the largest winter balloon rally in the
Midwest, and this weekend's event promises to bring plenty of people to our
community. The list of activities continues to grow each year. Some of the
more popular events include the balloon launches on Saturday and Sunday
mornings and Saturday afternoon. The Saturday night Moon Glow always draws a
big crowd. Friday night's torchlight parade, followed by fireworks over
Lakefront Park and the St. Croix River, is always a crowd pleaser.

Some other events include dances, bingo, pancake breakfasts, volleyball,
pets on display, winter sports competitions, ice carving demonstrations,
geocaching, a chili cook-off –- and much more. Be sure to check the schedule
in this week's Star-Observer.

The weekend involves many, many volunteers, but the core group members who
have worked hard to make this weekend a success include Evy Nerbonne, Carla
Timmerman, Linda White (and her children Brian and Michelle and
granddaughter Taylor), Mary Martin, Katie and Daryl Jones, John Knutson,
Cindy Brown, Ruth Peterson, Chris Olson, Lana Sjoberg, Jim Wiersgalla, Ray
and Teri Peterson, Marv and Connie Wenzel, John and Barb Lewis, Linda
Marentic, Marcia Edwards, Evonne Jordan, Sheryl E-Marshal, Randy
Schillinger, Shelli Erck, Jo, Jim and Kelly McQuitty, Char Hipsher, Sara
Pommerening, Linda Schmidt, Sue Elmer, Kelly Schreiber, Molly Johnson, Julie
Jeppesen, Cheryl Trusso, Darren Forbes, Cheryl Sass, Deanna Grigus, Darlene
Reisinger, Nate Skoog and Gladys Peterson.

Nerbonne, Timmerman and White have been involved in Hot Air Affair since Day
1 and continue to be the force behind the event. It is indeed a tribute to
these people who have stuck with this event as we enter the 18th year –- it
takes great dedication and work to put the celebration together year after
year. We tip our hat to all the volunteers, but especially Nerbonne,
Timmerman and White.

The Hot Air Affair volunteers have been working hard all year –- now we can
cash in on their hard work and have fun this weekend. Have a great time!