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.