Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 3 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

We got up bright and early to be part of a chase crew for a balloonist.  There were plenty of us so I was picked to be the official photographer for the day which suited me just fine.

It was cold, but not as cold as yesterday and finally I wised up and dressed for the weather.  The wind was not blowing, in fact the wind was 0 at take off.  This was another mass ascension, but they do not all go up at once.  They have sections and each one of them goes up, then another section etc.  So it is managed madness if you know what I mean.  

Yesterday when we came we stayed on the side lines and watched.  This time we were in among them and what a different view.  We had a great time. 

We were here for the Dawn Patrol again.  With the wind calm there were more balloons and they were bright and beautiful in the dark. 

We arrive in the dark and can see the start up flames for a while.  It is starting to brighten a bit so I can start taking pix.
This is the wife of the pilot getting things ready.  She does a lot of the work before and chases after to get the balloon and pilot up in the air and home again. 
 Opening the package.

Carrying envelope out to get this show on the road.

Inside the basket
Pilot get things ready.
  Getting ready to attach the envelope to the basket.

   Getting instructions from the pilot-owner.

Envelope out of the bag and all stretched out.

   Opening the collar of the envelope.  This part of the envelope is less flammable than the nylon and attaches to the basket closest to the flame.

Hold this open while we finish getting the envelope all pulled out straight.

  Rog may looked bored...different parts of this process takes a while.  He is holding the envelope.

Starting the fan to begin the inflating process. 


  You can see the envelope starting to fill.  And all the balloons already up and away.


   Bigger, notice we are beginning to "kiss" the envelope next to us.  They are a bit farther along in the process so will be inflated, up and gone before too long.

   I am taking this pic inside the envelope.  The great nephews of the pilot go under the nylon to get the wrinkles out as it inflates with air.

   He is still using the fan to inflate.  The balloon next to us is now inflating with gas and will be upright in a matter of seconds.  It was so awesome to be there during all this. 

  Now he is using propane to inflate the envelope.  

  Bigger and will be starting to lift up the basket.


   Flame inside the envelope
   Before take off each balloon and pilot needs to be inspected by the referee.  In ballooning or maybe just here in Albuquerque, they are called "zebras" and many dress the part. 
Up up and away!

   We left right after our balloon went up, but there were so many of us we had to stop and transfer people to another truck.  So when we got to the landing point people were already there helping.  These are locals that will follow a balloon just to help them land their craft.  

So we have to put the envelope back in the green bag.  So you pull it along and bunch it narrow. 

  Then your crew would bundle up every few feet and hold it while  the green bag is walked along, stuffing the envelope in as you go.

  Stuff more in guys. 

Now the bag is too full so you have to walk the envelope to the bag.

  Fold the collar  
  Stuff it all in and tie it up tight for the next ride.  That would be tomorrow.
   The field is cut into sections by a road.  As your balloon ascends your crew leaves to follow you.  In this pic the balloons make a "tunnel" as the pick-up vehicles drive through.

Your crew would have at least one holding a rope at this end of the envelope as you are filling.
    Now the neat experience on the field as we were waiting for our turn to ready our balloon.  

  Across the road from our place are people pulling out their envelope, Smokey is being inflated, and the Mounted Police ride by. 

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