Many of us have seen and enjoyed colorful hot air balloons or even attended a balloon race or fiesta. We sometimes forget what it takes to get these beautiful creations into the air. An abbreviated story of this process is presented in these pictures from a number of different Balloon Fiestas in Albuquerque.
The first step is often the adjustment and testing of the burners. This is often done with the basket sitting on the ground or in the back of the chase vehicle. It is especially captivating when seen in the early morning darkness.
Next the envelope, or what we often call the balloon, is unpacked and unrolled.
The envelope is then spread out on the ground or a tarp to allow efficient inflation.
The basket is then laid on the ground and connected to the envelope.
Once everything is connected and in place, a combination of heat from the burners and air, supplied by a heavy duty fan, is used to inflate the envelope.
A short time later the balloon starts to stand.
As the balloon starts to stand, the fan is no longer used but the pilot continues to heat the air inside the envelope using the burners.
As the air continues to warm, the balloon continues to rise toward a launch ready standing position.
And finally, we have the balloon standing and ready to launch.
At an organized event like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, once the balloon is ready to launch, clearance must be granted by event officials. If this doesn't come immediately, the Chase Crew may need to assist in holding the balloon on the ground.
And finally clearance is granted and the balloon can launch.
Hope you have enjoyed my short story.