ooooooh.... I'm feeling a bit dizzy (well dizzier than normal! ) What fantastic photos! Amazing detail - thank goodness you didn't drop your camera overboard! You're a lot braver than I am - it took over 50 years for me to make my first aeroplane flight. Well done you
The landing was a bit hairy. We touched down with a bump and then the 'envelope' (as they call the balloon) dragged us for two or three more hops and bumps before tipping us over. This apparently is normal... This is where we landed. I was in the middle of the top left section with Mrs MM to my right. You sit on the bench with your head tight against the backrest, hanging on to the loops.
The depression in this field was apparently caused by a crashing WW2 Flying Bomb on its way to London...
Last Edit: Mar 23, 2011 12:12:14 GMT by madmalcolm
Thanks for your comments. I've never had an issue with flying, just with airports. Ms MM says she can look out but not straight down. When we went to Arizona I had forgotten that she hadn't been in a helicopter before but she took it in her stride. These are my feet over the Grand Canyon.
All of which reminds me back in the early 80s we used to fly to Le Mans in Rex's Piper Comanche Twin. With a pilot call Rex you can't go wrong! We would drive to Biggin Hill, transfer the luggage, park the cars, taxi over to Customs where the guy would say, "Morning Rex, where to today?" And we'd be off. I would usually fly (ok, steer) it home. Rex does his pre-flight checks while Derek is keen to get going... Good memories of Golf Alpha Yankee Sierra Bravo...
Well dang MM - I just in another thread invited you out for a flight. FYI - the 'envelope' is the envelope. It is the envelope, basket and burners when coupled together into a flying machine that then becomes a "balloon", though most people refer to the envelope as the balloon - likely because the toy ones have no baskets or burners.
Your landing sounds not atypical but I pride myself on 'stand-up' ladings when the balloon remains upright until I choose to deflate and lay it over. Of course, the more wind the less able one is to do that. I frankly do not like systems as large as the one you flew in - as as pilot I'm nervous when I can't see around all sides of the basket - which is why the pilot is centered in that system.
Lovely aerodrome - bit larger than ours. Oh, and love flying helos - have 25 hours instruction in one from back in the day when I was a radio traffic reporter. Spent 4 hours a day, 2 each morning and evening in a Hughes 300, 2-seat piston job. Great fun to fly. Sad I did not complete training to a rating as the radio station changed format from news-talk to rock and fired me and the entire staff!
Here's a link to one of my non stand-up landings from last summer. In my defense I had not flown in over 4 months and the 'rust' showed. Plus as you will see, I had a limited landing site - an island park - and what you don't see are the powerlines on the far side of the little park that curved toward the end where I was coming in. And then there's the car I almost crushed that one of my crew parked in exactly the wrong spot! All in all - quite exciting. Oh, and I'm now about 40 pounds lighter (not as a result of that landing LOL).
Yikes.... well done MM for your courage to go up in that balloon... I'm not sure if I'd ever want to do such a thing. It's taken me years to get on a plane - Somehow in my small brain it doesn't make sense that such an enormous aircraft/machine can get off the ground without any attachments! A helicopter is different, I can 'see' how it's held up there and the same with a balloon, still not sure though if you'd catch me up there but I envy those who do. The feeling must be magnificent and the scenery from a different perspective. Can you really see the curvature of the earth? It's taking me absolutely ages to upload the link to your film clip Glen, I'm waiting with bated breath for the landing part!
Yes you can Marie - it's only a 3 min clip so apologies if its loading slowly. There were a lot of factors that came into play on that landing - the descent was very fast and the hit hard cause I needed to "stick' the landing and stop the balloon before it carried on beyond the little road and out into what was largely flooded field. Normally I'd have rounded off and gently skimmed across the grass to a gentle stop, but that was not an option that day. It was more luck than skill I missed the car Davinia - but thanks. A lady who crews for me regularly - she's a nurse - got off the all night shift and saw us flying so she came to help at the landing. BUT she parked her car in a bad spot. If you watch closely you can see her in blue scrubs start to run toward the car and then stop as he knew it would be too late by the time she reached it.
I have another more gentile and scenic clip from earlier in that same flight. Perhaps I'll link it when I'm back from spending our Thanksgiving holiday with my Mum and family!
It's not your clip Glen, it's my very very slow Broadband speed on the internet at home. I've watched it now here at work (without sound) and it's amazing. It feels so peaceful and tranquil until that very last minute. Is there ever a risk of the balloon catching fire upon landing? That would be my main worry.
Reminds me of air-boat county - although these are in Florida (the folk in the first pic are just other passengers in the way...) Presumably you need to watch out for 'gators if you come down in water?
I don't actually know where the SportStar lives. My chum Rick who knows the owner lives part time in Rome (where we just were) and part time on a lake in RI but his family are originally from Cleveland. To supplement his student income he used to fly cargo planes overnight carrying mainly post but now and again cadavers. Imagine being at 30,000 ft alone in the cockpit at night with that kind of company!
I'd be less than truthful Marie if I said there was no risk of fire. Anytime you mix propane and an open flame there is a risk of fire. BUT - it's very, very minimal. In a properly maintained balloon, operated by a competent pilot, there should be next to no worry. I've been flying 23 years and never had a single issue with fire. But yes, equipment can fail and fire is always a possibility. But it's like all other types of aviation. It's horrifying when an airliner crashes and sometimes can see hundreds of deaths --- but you have to remember that millions of people fly every day - so the odds are incredibly slim. But you can't say it isn't a possibility...
I'm always aware there is a danger involved - but I figure I'm more likely to be killed in an auto crash, or crossing the street, than I am in my balloon.