Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hot Air Balloon Landing & Packing Up

I have this in two parts. First the landing. This is actually the second landing of this ballon, in which I was a passenger. We were denied our intended landing site by a rather perturbed homeowner, so we disembarked at our next landing site. The pilot proceeded onto the next landing site, which was accessible to the chase vehicles. We were in time to record the landing.

This was followed by the deflation and packing of the balloon. If you remember how it came out so easily when it was filled for launch, then this video will make clear why the packing is so important. It reminded me of packing a spinnaker for a yacht, which I did many many times in a many years ago. The trick is to make sure your connectors are on the outside, and everything else can generally be stuffed without much additional concern.

You can clearly see that the parachute vent has been removed completely to allow the balloon to empty quickly. The process goes quickly when the ground crew squeezes the balloon like a tube of toothpaste in order to dump the air out the top hole.

The neighbors and residents all came out to celebrate the landing. It's not every day that perfect strangers drop onto your acreage asking permission for a peremptory landing. We're very thankful to these good people who turned a bright, brisk morning into a beautiful, warm morning with their hospitality.

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