Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wells Fargo opened the account for the families of pilots Keith Sproul and Stephen Lachendro, who were in the "Wings Of Wind" balloon when it hit a power line last Friday morning.
The gondola caught fire and separated from the balloon envelope, crashing to the ground.
Thieves made off with radios, computers and other items.
Wells Fargo has already donated $1,000 into the account to help the families deal with expenses surrounding the funeral, medical care costs and the break-in .
Donors who want to give to the account can contact Wells Fargo and should ask about donating to the Debbie Sproul account.
hi, would you advertise my balloon in your directory, balloons for sale section, thanks regards, david.
lindstrand 105 a series, 118 hours, red/yellow/blue. no artwork, fully complete, very pritty, cmeron basket, suade top/poles leg leathers, all tank straps, cameron mk 4 double burners rego fittings, x 3 worthington 40 litre cylinder tanks, blue covers, teema fittings, but with rego fitting adapters, bonano quick release. refueling hose, tether rope, all complete very tidy outfit, bargain UKP 4550 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, October 13, 2008
I know I wrote in several places last year that it must be the most dangerous festival on earth.
This year it has done nothing to dispel the myth.
But I just came across this.
Oct 12, 2008 (Albuquerque Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX)
Maryann Myers flew in from Michigan just to see the fabled balloons she had heard so much about. But all she got to see Saturday morning were flames shooting from a propane tank and some people flying kites.
"We're very disappointed," she said.
Saturday's mass ascension was canceled due to wind, leaving a restless weekend crowd milling around the park seeking a diversion -- there's not much to see at a balloon festival sans balloons.
But organizers and pilots made every effort to appease the masses. Before the sun rose, several propane tanks belched fire into the darkness, surrounded by appreciative crowds.
Myers was standing near one such tank with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter Saturday morning, deciding what to do with the rest of their day. They planned to take in some of the booths at fiesta, visit the balloon museum and were hopeful that some balloons might inflate but stay grounded.
"We'll try and salvage the day," said Myers' daughterin-law Camely Myers, of Albuquerque. She said she has other activities planned for the weekend visit, but nothing that rivals the mass ascension.
"This was supposed to be the highlight," she said.
As the sky grew lighter and the crowd thinned, an enormous sheet of balloon material became a playground for the remaining children. Held near the ground by organizers at each corner, the sheet flapped in the wind as kids ducked underneath and played beneath its folds.
Colby Boudet, 4, was having fun playing under the sheet, but he still hadn't seen what he came for. Boudet's family flew in from Illinois on Friday for a trip they've been planning for nearly a year.
"We haven't seen a balloon yet," said Colby's father, Robert Boudet. But despite the disappointment, he said his son was finding ways to have fun anyway.
"He's having a good time collecting the trading cards," he said. "He loves balloons; that's his No. 1 thing."
Although several teams tried to inflate their balloons on the ground, their efforts were stymied by the winds. The Wells Fargo stagecoach made perhaps the most valiant effort but had to be deflated before it fully took shape.
The morning's only silver lining was that the same wind that canceled the ascension provided excellent kite-flying weather.
Colbie Boyd, 3, was flying a kite with her grandmother Saturday and seemed unconcerned about the cancelation. Her parents are pilots who live in Albuquerque, so there is no shortage of balloons in her world.
"Last Saturday was beautiful," said her grandmother, Jan Alford. Just then, though, Boyd let go of her fish-shaped kite, and Alford had to go running after it.
A farewell mass ascension is scheduled for 7 a.m. today, weather permitting. Inside
The balloon pilot injured in Friday's crash that killed another man remained in critical condition Saturday.
Now if that is not pouring the pressure on I'm not sure what is.
Is the Albert Turkey festival for balloonists or the public watching??? If it has turned into an event to please the masses then something is out of balance.
It amazes me that a local newspaper was not more sympathetic to high winds and their associated problems after last Fridays accident.
Looks like at Albert Turkey its less than a 1/1000 chance of death or serious injury when the flying field is opened.
Just being the biggest does not make an event the best.
But then thats America for ya all.
On a much brighter note, the 2010 Gordon Bennett coming to the UK, thats fantastic well done Jon and David.
Adventurer David Hempleman-Adams has told how he landed a balloon in pitch black darkness to avoid plunging into one of the planet's biggest lakes.
The explorer from Box has just won the world's oldest air race with an 1,100-mile flight across the USA which ended on his 52nd birthday.
He and his co-pilot Jon Mason, 35, had been forced to choose between a complete darkness landing or the risk of ending up in Lake Michigan as they scented success in the prestigious Gordon Bennett gas balloon race.
Father-of-three Mr Hempleman-Adams took the decision to land the balloon in the dark rather than risk flying over the Great Lake without enough ballast.
He said: "I know you should never land a balloon at night but we had to make that decision as we didn't have enough sand to go over the lake and the balloon was going down."
The pair made two attempts to land in the drama on Friday at the end of the race, in which the winner is the crew flying the furthest distance.
"It's hard to judge from the air at night what is on the ground. During our first attempt what we thought were small bushes turned out to be 45 ft trees so we had to try again. We flew over the trees and landed near a maize crop."
The pair had taken off on Monday from Albuquerque in New Mexico and landed north of Chicago at 5am on Friday in their balloon Lady Luck.
They did not discover they had become the first British team ever to win the competition named after the man who gave his name to the famous exclamation until they had had a few hours of sleep.
Mr Hempleman-Adams said: "The sheriff picked us up and took us to the local hotel where we collapsed.
"We'd been flying for 74 hours taking it in turns to sleep at two-hourly intervals curled up on the floor of the basket. When we woke there was a note under the door from our chase team which said, 'Well done boys, you've won!'
"We thought we'd come second so it was a very good birthday present."
There were 12 crews in the contest, the 52nd ever held.
Mr Hempleman-Adams said. "It was a very tactical race with everyone trying to outdo each other like a game of poker."
Co-pilot Mr Mason, a consultant clinical psychologist who works in Canterbury, said: "We are a great duo and a foil for one another. David needs someone to restrain him and I need someone to encourage and push me. We arrive at a middle ground. We also work well together because we have different skills. "David is excellent at looking at the bigger picture and navigating while I am good concentrating on the detail doing what we have to do there and then."
He said he accepted the risky decision his co-pilot had made.
"It's easy to highlight the dangers but people do things all the time that are risky that, in the end, become routine.
"Gas ballooning isn't rocket science. You fill the balloon with gas that's lighter than air and you take sand with you. The risk isn't flying a gas balloon - it is flying a balloon for four days in bad weather when you are tired and in the dark."
One of their scariest moment came when the duo were hit by a snowstorm.
Mr Hempleman-Adams said: "We had some difficult weather. During the day it reached 42 degrees but at night it crashed to about 8 degrees and we would shiver.
"Once, we were up at 13,000 ft and it started to snow. The cooling on the balloon made it come down very quickly and we descended to 5,000 ft."
Another brush with death was when the team spotted two jets flying too close for comfort.
"At one stage we were over Albuquerque at 5,000 ft and two jets came in underneath us with only 500ft clearance and scared the daylights out of us," Mr Hempleman-Adams said.
The pair were due to fly back into Britain this morning.
The competition - founded by newspaper tycoon and adventurer Bennett - is described as the most prestigious event in aviation and the ultimate challenge for the balloon pilots and their equipment.
It was started in 1906, when 16 balloons were launched from Paris, but has never before been won by Britons.
It was put on ice at the outbreak of the Second World War and not revived until 1983.
The victory means the race will start from the UK in 2010.
Mr Hempleman-Adams turned to extreme and endurance ballooning after years of conquering mountains and polar regions.
He has climbed the tallest peaks on all seven continents, travelled to both the North and South Poles, completed the first balloon flight to the North Pole and the first flight across the Northwest Passage. He also completed the first balloon flight across the Atlantic in an open wicker basket in 2003. He holds the world altitude record for Roziere (a combination of gas and hot air) balloons at more than 41,000 ft.
Posted: October 12, 2008
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A planned $2 million recreation of a historic balloon flight would give Conner Prairie visitors a bird's-eye view of the Fishers living-history museum.
The project was expected to be announced today, said Ellen Rosenthal, Conner Prairie president and chief executive officer.
Beginning in June, a $10 ticket would let museum guests take a 15- to 20-minute hot-air balloon ride at an elevation of 350 feet.
Rosenthal said Friday that the Balloon Voyage exhibit commemorates John Wise's 1859 launch of the first manned balloon intended to travel cross-country, from Lafayette to New York.
"It is one symbolic event that draws attention to how much progress and scientific advancement was being made," Rosenthal said. "At this event, 20,000 people were there. There were only 19,000 people in Indianapolis then. (Since) 2009 is also the 150th anniversary . . . it's now or never to do the exhibit."
Wise, a Philadelphia native, was trying to prove that mail could be delivered across the country by air, Rosenthal said. Winds on Aug. 17, 1859, sent him south instead of east as planned, so he landed 40 miles away in Crawfordsville. Although a train eventually delivered the mail, the landmark launch was still considered a success.
Dan Freas, Conner Prairie's director of museum experience, discovered Wise's story, Rosenthal said. To learn more, museum representatives visited the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., to which one of Wise's relatives donated his journals and notebooks.
Tom D. Crouch, a senior curator of the Smithsonian's aeronautics division, told Conner Prairie representatives he'd waited years for an exhibit like this to introduce people to early flight attempts in America.
The exhibit is to be installed in the current Clowes Common area next to the main museum center. Before that can happen, Conner Prairie must appeal a Fishers zoning rule to allow for the equipment, Rosenthal said.
The museum plans to renovate Clowes Common to make concessions look the way they would have in 1859, Rosenthal said. Plans also call for an outdoor exhibit to engage guests in activities such as filling gas balloons and trying on the helmets of balloon pilots, or aeronauts.
The Balloon Voyage would join other living-history experiences at Conner Prairie, which include recreated towns from 1836 and 1886 and a Lenape Indian camp from the early 1800s, when white settlement of the area was beginning.
• Call Star reporter Gretchen Becker at (317) 444-2805.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Balloon pilots somber at NM festival after death
ONE man died and another was seriously injured when the balloon they were in crashed in the United States yesterday.
The balloon hit power lines and burst into flames at a ballooning festival near Albuquerque, New Mexico, throwing the two men to the ground.
Witnesses at the International Balloon Fiesta said winds had picked up and many of the balloons were flying low just before the Wings of Wind crashed in Bernalillo, just north of Albuquerque, in the southwestern American state.
Stephen Lachendro was killed and Keith Sproul was critically injured.
Kathie Leyendecker, a spokeswoman for the annual festival, said she did not know who was piloting the balloon.
Mr Lachendro was found dead on the side of a ditch, while Mr Sproul was unconscious and taken to hospital, Rio Rancho Fire Battalion Chief Paul Bearce said.
Witness Glenn Vonderahe said he "couldn't believe it".
"I saw the balloon and the next thing I knew there was a lot of fire and smoke. There was fire under the balloon," he said.
He said the balloon landed, then bounced back up and apparently hit some power lines.
The balloon was stuck in the lines, then Mr Vonderahe saw the balloon portion - called the envelope - float away, a burning tank still attached. "Debris was flying everywhere," he said.
The tank fell harmlessly to the ground and the envelope was eventually found about 25km away.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
The yellow, brown and orange triangle-shaped balloon was among hundreds competing in events at the weekend balloon festival.
Mr Lachendro was a father of two sons and a daughter and enjoyed ballooning with friends, said his daughter, Amanda.
"I just want everyone to know that he loved what he did," she said.
The annual festival is Albuquerque's major tourist drawcard, but it has had fatalities before, mostly from balloons hitting power lines.
Last year, a 60-year-old was killed. In 1982, four people died. Other fatalities were recorded in 1990, 1993 and 1998
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
All stuff that should be discussed over a beer!!!
I have also been working on a couple of non ballooning projects.
This one in particular, The Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Challenge
Normal service should resume shortly
Four of those hurt are Scottish and the others are from Belgium, England and New Zealand, said Al-Shafie Mohammed Hassan, the police chief in Luxor.
Two of the tourists were hospitalized with broken bones, Hassan said.
Hot air ballooning, usually at sunrise, is popular with tourists in Luxor, the site of the Valley of the Kings and other ruins from Egypt's pharaohs.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
All proceeds raised at the LeVack Block will be used to elevate this highly anticipated event far off the ground!
Suggested admission to LaVeck Block: $10 cover
Special balloon martini's
Special *guest* appearances!
Much, much more!
What is Reach for the Sky?
Reach for the Sky is a hot air balloon event dedicated to children living with developmental disabilities. The magical day will be held in June 2009 in Port Perry Ont (1.5 hrs north east of Toronto)
• An integral fundraising initiative for children’s programs which are not supported by the government and rely solely on public donations
• To raise public awareness of developmental disabilities
• To bridge family, charity and community
• The overall community and balloon enthusiasts of all ages
• Families and their children with developmental disabilities
• Charity staff and front line workers
• Event sponsors
• 50% of proceeds raised will be donated to The Reena Foundation in Toronto www.reenafoundation.org
• 50% of the proceeds raised will be donated to a local childrens's charity for the developmentally disabled within the Port Perry/Scugog Township area
If you love meeting new and exciting people, supporting children's charities and have ALWAYS wanted to go up in a hot air balloon, join our event planning committee today!
Volunteer positions are available, details at event!
Submit inquiries to email@example.com for a full outline of volunteer responsibilities. Thank you for your interest in Reach for the Sky!
This is an ideaNation sponsored event.
ideaNation's mission is to INSPIRE, CONNECT & SUPPORT people who want to make a difference by developing projects in their community.
Facebook website http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=6773723724
Monday, February 18, 2008
Steve Fossett, who has been declared dead aged 63, made his fortune on the Chicago futures exchange and embarked on a dogged campaign to break more world records than any other sportsman in history; he set 116 records in hot air balloons, sailing boats, gliders and powered aircraft, getting into numerous scrapes and surviving several brushes with death.
In 2002, after a series of dramatic failures, Fossett became the first person to fly around the world alone in a hot air balloon, completing 19,428.6 miles around the Southern Hemisphere in two weeks.
During a previous attempt, in 1998, his balloon caught fire and ruptured during a thunderstorm after 14,000 miles and he plunged 29,000 ft into the shark-infested Coral Sea off Queensland. For several hours no one knew whether he was alive or dead. His eventual rescue after 23 hours made international headlines.
Three years after his ballooning triumph, in March 2005 Fossett became the first person to fly an aeroplane solo around the world without refuelling - completing the journey in 67 hours. Four months later he and a co-pilot completed a transatlantic flight in a replica First World War wood and canvas bi-plane, navigating the route from Newfoundland to Clifden on the west coast of Ireland with nothing but a sextant and a compass.
In February 2006 Fossett again circumnavigated the globe non-stop and smashed the record for the longest flight by any aircraft in history; he covered 26,389.3 miles, beating the previous record of 25,361 miles set by the Breitling Orbiter balloon in 1999.
advertisementAfter keeping himself going during the 76 hour 45 minute flight with 10-minute catnaps and a steady diet of milkshakes, Fossett was forced to make a last-minute diversion from Kent International to Bournemouth Airport; he developed a generator malfunction over Reading which gave him just 30 minutes to land the plane before the batteries went flat. He made it just in time, bursting two tyres on landing.
With co-pilots, Fossett broke some dozen glider records, including, in 2006, the altitude record, with a flight which took him up 50,671ft over the Andes.
As a yachtsman he set 23 official world records and nine distance race records in his maxi-catamaran Cheyenne (formerly named PlayStation). In 2001 he and his crew set a transatlantic record of four days 17 hours, breaking the previous record by 43 hours 35 minutes. Three years later he circumnavigated the globe in 58 days, nine hours and 32 minutes, lopping nearly six days off the previous record.
Not content with mere mechanical propulsion, the indefatigable Fossett swam the Dardanelles; ran the Boston Marathon; raced in the Ironman Triathlon; skied in the 100-mile Canadian Ski Marathon; ran in the 1,165-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across Alaska; climbed the highest mountains on six of the seven continents (only Everest eluded him); and drove in the Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour races.
In Britain he was known, among other things, for his dogged attempts to swim the English Channel. He succeeded on his fourth attempt in 1985, in a swim which took 22 hours and 15 minutes and earned him a prize for that year's slowest crossing. After staggering ashore in France he was whisked off to hospital suffering from hypothermia.
With his paunchy physique and thinning hair, Fossett was an unlikely daredevil adventurer. He did not appear to enjoy the limelight and was reserved and awkward in interviews, regarding the attention he attracted as an inevitable but unwelcome distraction from the serious business of breaking records. He became animated only when discussing plans for yet another endurance attempt.
He was known in Britain for his friendship with Sir Richard Branson, an erstwhile rival balloonist who became a co-sponsor.
Branson once described Fossett as "a loner: half-Forrest Gump, half android" and suggested that he was not so much interested in sport for its own sake as in testing the limits of his own endurance: "If there's an ocean to swim, he'll choose Christmas Day and it must be snowing and, if possible, the only day in the last decade when the channel ices over," Branson observed. "That's Steve for you."
James Stephen Fossett was born on April 22 1944 at Jackson, Tennessee, one of three children of a manager with a pharmaceutical company; he was brought up at Garden Grove, California. As a child he was fascinated by stories of adventure in National Geographic, but found his hunger to prove himself physically stifled at school, where he failed to get into the cross-country and swimming teams on account of asthma.
He found an outlet for his energies in the Boy Scouts. "When I was 12," he told an interviewer, "I climbed my first mountain, and I just kept going, taking on more diverse and grander projects." Aged 13 he became an Eagle Scout, a rank achieved by very few, and he would later serve as president of the National Eagle Scout Association and as a member of the World Scout Committee and of the executive board of the National Boy Scouts of America. "I learned my values in the Boy Scouts," he said, "and I am proud of that."
Fossett took a degree in Economics and Philosophy from Stanford University and (after swimming the Dardanelles) an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. After an unsatisfactory period running IT for a department store, he took a job with the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch in Chicago, specialising in soya beans. Eventually he founded his own firm, Lakota Trading, and moved to Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Although Fossett built up a personal fortune of at least $50 million, he disliked being described as a millionaire, arguing that people should not be described in terms of how much money they have. His heart was always in the quest for sporting adventure. At college he became an endurance sports fanatic, undertaking challenging wilderness hikes and college swimming feats. As a young man he was one of the first particpants in the Worldloppet, a series of cross-country ski marathons around the world. In 1980 he became the eighth skier to compete in all 10 of the Worldloppet races, a feat which earned him a medallion.
At some point in his thirties Fossett typed out a list of his lifetime sporting goals. These included swimming the English Channel, climbing the highest mountains on six continents, establishing eight world records in sailing, and flying non-stop around the world in a balloon. Once his business was firmly established he set out to tick items off the list. He achieved them all - and more. He became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Explorers' Club, and in 2002 won the Gold Medal of the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale.
Fossett was reticent about discussing the dangers he faced, dismissing his various misadventures as "undesirable circumstances", and he never allowed anything to get in the way of his quest for new feats. "The things I do are things that a lot of people would like to do," he explained. "What's unusual is that I actually go out and do them."
On September 3 last year Fossett took off in a single-engine plane from a private airstrip in Nevada on a planned three-hour excursion to search for a suitable lake bed for a world land-speed record attempt. He had enough fuel for four to five hours, so when he failed to return after six, air search teams were sent out to look for him.
Steve Fossett is survived by his wife Peggy, whom he married in 1968, and by 60 of his records which remain unbroken. There were no children.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Posted by David Hughes at 1/28/2008 7:16 AM
It's not every Air Force that has its own balloons, but the Royal Australian Air Force does have some operated by No. 28 Squadron, based in the nation's capital -- Canberra.
The balloon crews conduct regular training flights in the Canberra area in addition to conducting a touring program. Air Force balloon crews represent the service by traveling to many regions of the country where the mobility of a hot air balloon allows them to show the flag at events where it isn't possible or economical to send an RAAF aircraft.
Flying from open spaces rather than airfields, the balloons get around. These photos from the RAAF website are labeled balloon fiesta over Canberra (top), crew (above), burners (below) and one I'll call envelope (at the bottom). The photographers are not identified.
|Newton Faulkner performed a selection of his hits way above the Swiss countryside|
KENNETH Karlstrom is more used to piloting champagne balloon flights from a St Albans school than taking part in a radio sessions thousands of feet above the Swiss Alps.
As Virgin Balloon Flights'chief pilot, he flew the 100-foot-tall balloon in which singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner lived up to the title of his hit single Dream Catch Me while soaring near to the town of Greyere.
Kenneth normally pilots champagne flights from Nicholas Breakspear School in Colney Heath Lane but he found himself joining 13 lucky passengers to hear dreadlocked Newton play several tracks including his latest single Teardrop.
The performance was recorded for Virgin Radio and the gig was punctuated by the noise of father-of-two Kenneth firing the balloon's burners.
|Kenneth and the singer enjoy an after-flight Champagne|
It was the first time a radio session has ever been recorded in a hot-air balloon and Kenneth, who has flown balloons all over the world, said: "Every hot-air balloon flight is an unforgettable experience but this had to be in my top 10 and I've been flying for nearly 30 years."
After a 50-minute flight, a soft landing and a champagne toast, Newton continued the celebrations with an impromptu gig in a chalet among the mountains. He was then presented with a platinum gold disc marking half-a-million sales of his number one album Hand Built by Robots.
A video of the full Unplugged and Airborne session is available to watch online at www.virginradio. co.uk
Nice one Kenneth, wish I could have made the meet, for those that don't know, the Virgin Balloon guys were flying 6 balloons for a week at Chateaux Dex
The accident happened around 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) about five kilometers (3 miles) outside the Bavarian town of Koessen as the balloon was about to touch down.
Authorities said the wind drove the basket into the ground and caused it to overturn.
One occupant suffered serious injuries, and four others were less severely hurt, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported.
Koessen hosts a popular annual series of balloon races.
by Julia Tosti
Special to The Friday Flyer
It was a beautiful morning, one of those mornings where the fog had rolled in sometime prior and settled, nestled in the valley and hugging the lake, giving it a mystical feel.
My husband and I enjoy a beautiful view from Tuscany Hills. We moved here two years ago from Orange County and have never tired of the endless beauty that surrounds our home.
From the back of our home, we have views of Canyon Lake, Mount San Jacinto, Big Bear and, far to our left, Mount Baldy. We watch hawks soar high and ducks and white cranes take flight from Canyon Lake to Lake Elsinore. It seems every morning the view is visited by a new guest that perpetuates this never-ending cascade of attractions. Today was no different.
We sat sipping on our coffee chatting and discussing the day’s tasks. We conversed about the beauty of the mountains, the mystical feel to the lake and today’s surprise guest, a hot air balloon. Typically balloons float toward Menifee, hovering high above the valley east of Canyon Lake, but today’s visitor seemed to be moving in our direction, approaching the lake.
Our excitement heightened as we watched the balloon, seeing the colorful fabric come into clearer view. At this point I decided to document this visitor and ran to get our camera. As the balloon continued to move our way it seemed to be picking up momentum; all the while, I was clicking away with our camera.
The balloon sailed over the lake, coming closer and closer and losing altitude. Our chatter turned to silence as we watched, stunned by the sight. Slowly at first, but then more rapidly, the balloon started to descend until it looked as though it was sitting on the lake. We strained to see if it had actually landed on the lake, wondering out loud if we should call 9-1-1 or the lake “coast guard” or someone! Just as we were about to dial the phone, the balloon started to rise. Slowly at first, then faster and faster until it was high in the sky. Up, up and away it went over our house, continuing to float until it was out of our sight.
Wow! We love this area – what a great place to live! It seems we are always seeing something of beauty or excitement outside our back view – and this was the icing on the lake, I mean, cake!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Published Friday, January 18, 2008
This year’s Hot Air Affair theme is “Mardi Gras…Balloons & All That Jazz,” according to HAA President Evy Nerbonne. “Our event sponsors have really embraced the theme this year. We have more than 30 restaurants, bars, pubs and retailers doing special menu items, beverage specials and retail events highlighting the New Orleans carnival theme. It’s the weekend for jambalaya, hurricanes, King Cake and lots of beads.”
|A popular balloon will take to the sky at the 19th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair Feb. 1-3. The familiar red, white and blue ReMax hot air balloon has the longest history of Hudson appearances by a commercial balloon.|
Stephen Sinnen, Shakopee, Minn., will pilot the 105,000-cubic-foot aerostat in Hudson. He’s a 24-year pilot, logging more than 1,500 hours in balloons. Sinnen has flown balloons all over the United States and Mexico.
“Some of my more interesting flights have been dropping skydivers at the World Free Fall Convention in Quincy, Ill.,” Sinnen said. He has also carried passengers for Rainbow Ryders, the official passenger carriers for the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M.
This year’s other commercial balloons are U.S. Bank and M&I Bank. Special-shape balloons include Mr. Biddle, Rubber Duckie and Garfield. The Hot Air Affair, presented by M&I Bank, is one of the largest winter hot air ballooning events in the country.
“Everyone loves the balloons,” said balloon coordinator Carla Timmerman in describing the aerostats. “Commercial and special-shape balloons are what sets us apart from many other rallies.
The Hot Air Affair annually attracts corporate balloons from throughout the country because of the winter flying opportunity.
Pre-event activities start this week and Hot Air Affair isn’t just a spectator event! Here are some options for individual or family participation, some requesting advance registration.
Complete Hot Air Affair event brochures are available at local businesses and the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau office. Information is also available at www.hudsonhotairaffair.com. The Hot Air Affair, presented by M&I Bank, is a non-profit community volunteer organization. Anyone wanting to volunteer to sell merchandise, crew for hot air balloons or help in any way should call (715) 381-2050 or (888) 247-2332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHONG Ja Jie's heart was racing as the hot-air balloon steadily rose into the heavens, taking the 11-year-old higher up than she had ever been in her life.
|ADVENTURE: Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder being lifted into the hot-air balloon basket for the ride of their lives.|
"It was my first trip ever off the ground. I was flying with the birds and so close to touching the sky," said the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder patient.
"At first, I was afraid but as the balloon began to lift off, I waved at my teachers down below while holding on firmly to the basket with my left hand.
"Once I was high above, I felt so free and light," said Ja Jie, one of the 30 special children from Happy Land Special Education Centre in Taman Johor Jaya.
"It was an great experience and I hope I get to do it again."
The balloon ride was part of the family day and fun fair at the launch of commercial lots at Seri Austin by UM Land Berhad recently.
More than 1,500 people showed up at the launch which saw the property developer bringing in professional hot-air balloon pilots who represented Malaysia in the recent Balloon Fiesta in Pattaya, Thailand.
The carnival was also packed with family-oriented activities such as a treasure hunt, manicure, foot massage, magic tricks and entertainment by a band.
UM Land Berhad Subsidiaries general manager Mohd Noor Abdul Talam, who launched the festivities, presented gifts, prizes and freebies to winners of the games and winners of the Seri Alam and Seri Austin "Spin and Win" winners.
The gifts included a 29-inch television set which was won by a 12-year-old boy who emerged champion in the treasure hunt.
"The carnival is in line with Seri Austin's slogan 'Simply Better' and is a gesture of appreciation to our loyal and prospective customers in conjunction with the New Year," Mohd Noor said.
spectacle! And there is even more: an exciting supporting programme with events about balloon travel and aviation makes sure that boredom doesn't stand a chance!
The first winter competition for hot-air balloonists took place as early as 1979. The pioneers of the aviation club 'Team Polar', Josef 'Joschi' Starkbaum and his partner Gert Scholz, didn't want to accept the unfounded assertion that 'hot-air balloons are just not made for travelling in the Alpine regions'. And now watch and learn: until today the event lures participants from all around the globe to Zell am See-Kaprun - and not even once has there been as much as a hitch. But nevertheless it is always a thrilling experience to mount the baskets. Since it is not possible to steer the balloons directly, your journey takes you into the unknown once you have lost touch with the ground. You can aim for your destination only by descending and rising and making use of the winds.
To judge who is best at this art, the BP Alpine Balloon Trophy has organized many adventurous competitions which are true challenges for the participants. But the visitors of the event don't have to limit themselves to watching either. And for small guests, the event has a special treat up its sleeve: On Monday 21st January, one day after the ceremonious opening on the old runway of the airfield of Zell am See, there is the start of the captive balloons. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. children can get into the baskets of the huge balloons which are tied to the ground. If the weather doesn't cooperate, the start will be postponed until Wednesday.
On Monday evening, the event 'Fire & Ice' promises to be an optical highlight: fire shows, hot-air balloons, and illuminated sculptures made of ice will light up the night. From 8 p.m. visitors can choose from a large variety of delicious drinks. Wednesday and Thursday, 23rd and 24th January, will definitely be as breathtaking as the preceding days have been. From 8 p.m. visitors are invited to come to the valley station of the cityXpress in Zell am See and to Lechnerberg in Kaprun where hot-air balloons are making the sky of the region their canvas. This colourful happening has always been a major event in the programme of the BP Gas Alpine Balloon Trophy. Fireworks and DJ music will make visitor marvel in amazement. And, of course, we mustn't forget to mention the show of the motocross and snowmobile drivers who perform daredevil acrobatics and breathtaking stunts!
For more information on the 29th Gas Alpine Balloon Trophy in Zell am See and Kaprun please visit us at www.zellamsee-kaprun.com.
Contact within the region
Guest Service Zell am See-Kaprun
Phone +43 (0)6542 - 770 0
knoefler-journalist . media + communications GmbH
Mr. Benjamin Knöfler
Phone +49 (0)6028 - 80729 0
The holiday region Zell am See-Kaprun with its 14,000 beds and two million overnight stays every year is one of the most important holiday destinations in Austria. During the summer months you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like rafting, golf and hiking. And also in the cold season there is never a dull moment thanks to sleigh rides and hiking tours in snowshoes. Skiers can comfortably reach the 132 kilometres of slopes with powder snow with one of the 56 lifts. Snowboarders enjoy the perfect conditions of the Snowpark on the 2,600 metre high glacier plateau. Even in the summer you can swish down the slopes here. The renowned German publishing house of 'Falk Verlag' awarded Zell am See and Kaprun the decoration of the most family-friendly holiday region in Europe.
knoefler-journalist . media + communications GmbH
All fired up: Peter Dutneall and David Langdon prepare for the 150th anniversary of Australia's first balloon flight.
Photo: Craig Abraham
FOR the people of Melbourne in 1858, it must have been as mind-blowing as watching man land on the moon.
On February 1 of that year, Australia's first successful hot air balloon flight took off from Richmond. It was the start of aviation in this country, 50 years before aeroplanes.
The Victorian Balloon Association and the Richmond Historical Society will mark the 150th anniversary with a free public breakfast and balloon and historical displays next Friday.
In 1858, Richmond was rural. This was before the town hall tower, the St Ignatius spires, Dimmeys, trams or trains. Richmond's great attraction then was entrepreneur George Coppin's Cremorne Gardens, a 4.5-hectare pleasure park with the Pantheon Theatre, a pub, a zoo, a bandstand and a lake.
According to Helene Rogers' booklet, Early Ballooning in Australia, Mr Coppin imported the colony's first white swans and goldfish. His steamboats ferried crowds from the city along the Yarra River.
In the summer there was opera, ballet and theatre performances, bands, fancy dress balls and fireworks displays.
On a talent finding trip to London, Mr Coppin enticed experienced balloonists Charles Brown and Joseph Dean to Melbourne. Brown brought his home-made 18-metre-high muslin balloon, the Australasian. The day before the Richmond flight, the Australasian was partially inflated with coal gas at the City of Melbourne's gasworks at Batman Swamp, in West Melbourne. It took 30 men and a horse and cart to walk it to Richmond.
The next day, the balloon was topped up with gas from Mr Coppin's gas-making plant, which fuelled his gardens' lighting. He had doubled the normal entry fee to five shillings, but most locals watched free from outside the gardens.
The Argus reported: "Every eminence from which a view of the gardens could be obtained was dark with human beings … everywhere but in the grounds themselves."
Brown and Dean were to co-pilot, but escaping gas and a strong breeze caused havoc until the basket started to rise when Brown hopped out, leaving Dean to fly the balloon.
He later wrote in the Evening Mail: "Looking down I saw thousands of upturned faces in every street and road surrounding the place from which I had taken my departure."
He described feeling "raptures of delight" at the sun setting over the CBD.
After 25 minutes he landed at Plenty Road, near Heidelberg, and paid a passer-by to take him and the balloon back to Richmond. Rogers' book says that when Charles Brown flew two weeks later, he was bashed on landing in Collingwood by a superstitious mob who thought it evil for humans to fly.
The Cremorne Gardens closed in 1863 and today the land — between Balmain Street and the Monash Freeway in Burnley — is mainly dense housing.
The Victorian Balloon Association's Peter Dutneall said hot air balloons today used propane gas, live flame burners and canopies made of tear-resistant nylon, and ascended by blowing hot air into the canopy rather than dumping sandbags. But they still rely on catching air currents to change direction.
Celebrations will be at Citizens Park, in Church Street, from 6am-9am next Friday.
Up, up and away
November 21, 1783 The first manned, untethered balloon flight takes place in Paris.
February 1, 1858 The first Australian balloon flight takes place in Melbourne.
December 17, 1903 The Wright brothers' first powered aeroplane flight takes place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
November 13, 1907 The first piloted free helicopter flight takes place in Lisieux, France.
March 18, 1910 Harry Houdini makes the first controlled flight in a powered aircraft in Australia at Diggers Rest, Victoria.
June 20, 1939 The first flight of a manned rocket-powered aircraft takes place in Peenemunde, Germany.
July 20, 1969 Man lands on the moon.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Vail, CO Colorado
January 7, 2008
EDWARDS — For more than 20 years Ron Miller has given people a bird’s-eye view of the Vail Valley from his hot-air balloons, but now he may be without a place to land because of stricter county regulations.
Miller, the owner of Balloon America, used to fly his balloon tours out of the Miller Ranch area in Edwards.
Now the area is too populated with Freedom Park, a neighborhood and schools for him to do that without considerable insurance, said Eagle County Assistant Attorney Christina Hooper.
“Hot-air ballooning is an inherently dangerous activity,” Hooper said. “In the event that something were to go wrong during one of (his) hot-air-balloon flights, regardless of how unlikely that chance might be, the consequences would be extensive.”
But Miller thinks the concerns are unreasonable — there only has been one recorded hot-air-ballooning accident in Eagle County, which involved a minor injury, he said — and he feels he is being run out of business.
Whitewater rafting is far more dangerous and those companies can still operate, he said.
“After 22 years of accident- and incident-free operations, I have been told to take a hike,” Miller said.
The county first asked that Miller get a permit to fly from the area last summer, which he did. Then, later in the fall, the county changed the insurance requirement for Miller from $100,000 per person to $1 million per person, an amount that is not even available in the industry, Miller said.
The county wants Miller to have a total of $2 million in insurance — $1 million per passenger for injury and $1 million for property damage.
“We came up with (that amount) based on risks involved with such a highly populated area with a children’s soccer field and everything,” Hooper said.
“What he had wouldn’t even cover (the cost) of an accident. In the end he wasn’t able to meet the insurance requirement,” she said.
The $100,000-per-person insurance Miller had is the industry norm, said Merlin Sagon, owner of Camelot Balloons, the only other hot-air-balloon operator in the county.
Sagon’s balloons land and launch from private property near the airport, but he said he also used to operate from Edwards until it became too crowded.
Balloons and jets
Now Miller’s best option is to fly out of the Eagle County Regional Airport, something Federal Air Administration regulations allow him to do, he said.
Not so, said airport officials.
The county told Miller that hot-air balloons cannot operate within a five-mile radius of the airport. The county threatened a Federal Aviation Administration investigation and “legal action” if he tried to do so.
“It isn’t going to happen, not in the confines of the airfield,” said airport manager Ovid Seifers. “It’s simply a safety issue.”
Miller is petitioning Federal Aviation Administration officials in Denver to take his side.
“I think the county just doesn’t want to deal with any potential liability and they’re pulling out every guy they have to stop me from flying,” he said.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or email@example.com.
By Jessica Driscoll
DEPTFORD TWP. A hot air balloon appears on the township's water tower, many of its street signs and its official web site, but many residents never give the symbol's meaning a second thought.
Now, some well-informed five- and six-year-olds will make sure they do.
On Wednesday, former mayor Bea Cerkez visited kindergarten students at Central Early Childhood Center to teach them about the first flight in America a flight she said "put Deptford on the map."
"Does anyone know what today is?" asked Cerkez, followed by a chorus of "January 9th" from her eager audience.
"That's right. And do you know what happened on this day more than 200 years ago? A man from France named Jean Pierre Blanchard took off on a hot air balloon from Philadelphia with his little dog and a letter from President George Washington. And he landed right here in Deptford."
In 1793, Blanchard left Philadelphia before an audience of dignitaries and traveled 15 miles before landing in the Deptford clearing. Cerkez encouraged students to visit the site on the lot of the old RCA building with their parents and to look for the tree which marks the historical spot.
Some students were way ahead of her.
"My Pop-Pop has a book of pictures with the balloon and where it landed," said Nicholas Lonergan, 5.
"And he showed me that tree and read the plaque on it."
Others had some important questions.
"Is the hot air balloon still in that tree?" asked Jacob Buchanan, 6.
Dr. Rena Alpert, a kindergarten teacher at Central, organizes Cerkez's visit each year and works on projects and stories about hot air balloons with her class. In the spring, students will visit the official DARE hot air balloon to learn more about how it flies.
"If it wasn't for Dr. Alpert, the day would go by and no one would remember what happened," said Cerkez.
"This is Deptford's major piece of history and it's so important that the site and the story are preserved. Every year, she calls me to come in to talk to the children and it's one of the nicest things I get to do all year."
Hot air balloon competition planned for 2008
By Rob Stapleton
Morris News Service
Hot air ballooning could help promote winter tourism in Alaska.
Planning is under way for the 2008 annual Alaska World Balloon Challenge, to be held in February to coincide with Fur Rendezvous and the Iditarod.
The event is scheduled for Feb. 26-March 2.
Jim and Karen Rogina are working to organize the event that would bring balloon pilots from around the world to Anchorage. Jim, a balloon pilot who has logged thousands of hours worth of flight time, brainstormed the event with his wife, Karen. He said the idea came about after a long hiatus of balloon flying in Anchorage.
"It just sort of came up during a visit with world-renowned Italian balloon pilot Paolo Bonanno at an international ballooning event in Europe," Jim said. "When I mentioned an event in Alaska he said, 'Why don't we talk this over later at a private meeting?' So we did."
The Roginas hope to attract not only tourists to Anchorage, but the attention of high school students as well. Jim and Karen said they are offering a continuing education program for high-school physical science teachers in the Anchorage School District, addressing aviation history in Alaska and the physics of ballooning.
"Children really get excited about using math and science when you can put a face to it," Karen said.
Jim and Karen said their educational program is better suited for home school students and by those students who have ample time to observe the flights.
As many as 10 balloons would travel the skies from Talkeetna to Portage along the mountainous regions of Southcentral Alaska.
"The plan is to have pilots do an extensive weather briefing, submit a flight plan and then execute it," said Jim. "(Pilots) would then be judged on how well they execute their plan."
"We want to bring a world-class event here to Alaska, to promote education through meteorology and flying of the balloons, and to promote winter tourism," Karen said.
On the Web: www.awbc.info
Rob Stapleton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.