Far be it from us to pretend to be experts on what makes a successful balloon launch. But as we said in our first post in this series, Best advice for Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, with just a plain ol’ general admission ticket (prices here) you can stand on the launch field and watch crews fire up the big ones right before your very own eyes.
We never observed the process from start to finish. Since it was our first experience at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, we had a hard time focusing: “Look here. No, here. Wait, there goes another one. OMG! They’ve almost got that orange one up.” And so, we flitted — running even — to watch another and then another and another.
Basically, though, launches go a little like this. You spread out the balloon on top of a tarp on top of the field. Then you (and your best friends, family, and whoever else you can conscript) tilt the basket on its side while holding the strings attached to the balloon.
You send up flames to heat the air and inflate the balloon — holding on, tugging, straightening.
Then you (well, some folks at least) check for tears, infirmities, places of stress, etc.
And then you get ready for the big upturn as the hot air balloon rises, positioning the basket upright, while the crew hangs on.
When the riders climb in, they give a signal that it’s time to launch.
And the crowd yells. You, however, just stand there in awe of the magic of lift-off in the early morning air!
Because basically that’s what we love to see — the up, up, and away part — as balloons float through the New Mexico skies to who knows where. And you can’t take pictures fast enough!
For more information:
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: balloonfiesta.com
Guest Guide 2015