Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day 1
October 5, 2002
Page 4 - Our Launch

Finally it was our turn to launch. Since I was the newest crew member, meaning I knew the least, I was able to stand back and watch the action and learn what needed to be done.
10-5-02_2-12 A look at the balloons that already took off. The red/blue/orange balloon on the ground (polar Son) is the one I was crewing for. The woman in the red jacket is my mom, Frances, standing next to Kirsten. We were waiting for our launch director to tell us it was okay to start filling the balloon.
Looking back towards the north. For balloon names click on the picture. 10-5-02_2-17
10-5-02_2-05 Same view, a little to the left. Click for pictures. In the bottom right corner of the picture, you can see the fan used to fill the envelope with air. Big fan, lots of air!
Looking directly back, that's "Gizzmo" with the cute face. The balloon next to him is "Hopper T. Frog" and the one just taking off is "Driftwood" out of Carbondale Colorado (not too far from where I once lived). 10-5-02_4-21
10-5-02_4-18 And that's our launch director affectionately called "Miss April" because the photo my step-dad took with her in it made it into the 2003 Balloon Fiesta Calendar for the month of April. She's letting us know that it's time to get to work! More on the launch directors (or "zebras") later...

Interested in the calendar? You may view and purchase it here: http://www.balloonfiestastuff.com/calendars.html
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Gloria's crew getting her ready to fly.
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And away she goes!
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Beginning to fill the envelope with cold air.
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Roland (on the left) and Steve are holding the skirt open so that the air can enter the envelope freely. Not as easy as it looks! By the time the balloon is full your arms feel like jello!
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Now you can see why the balloon is called "Polar Son"!
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That's Rick inside, straigtening out the lines for the release valve.
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Up, up, and away!! Click on the picture for names.
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Click for names
And then it was time to leave the park to chase our balloon. This shot is looking back from the south entrance.

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And there she is! The chase is on!
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Keepin' up with her...

The other balloons in the photo are: It's a Lady (the lady bug) and Just F.I.N.E.
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Safely Landed!
Once we got the balloon safely stowed away in the van it was back to the park for the traditional champagne toast and a little relaxation before heading home for a nap. We were planning on coming back later in the day to see the Gas Balloons getting ready for their race.

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Next page is pictures of gas balloons as they prepare for America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race, this is a huge event for gas ballooning enthusiasts. The winner of the race is the one that gets the furthest. This year's distance winner landed in Georgetown Delaware after being in the air for 43+ hours! The balloon's co-pilot just happened to be Gary E. Johnson, Governor of New Mexico!! The longest duration flight was one of the Warsteiner balloons with a flight time of 67.25 hours.
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