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Hot Air Balloons... Are Hot! (4 CoolPix Of Fire)

(click pic for hi-res) My son-in-law's balloon during the Saturday evening 'glow'

 This last Friday thru Sunday I went with my son-in-law Mitch as part of his High Life Ballooning crew to Huntington Indiana for the balloon festival that's part of their Heritage Days. The plan was to fly Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening, and then finish with another flight Sunday morning. There was also a planned 'glow' for after dark on Saturday night. Unfortunately the weather wound up being just barely unacceptable and the only thing we accomplished was taking part in the glow with 12 other balloons on Saturday night.

(click pic for hi-res)  It's hard to beat beautiful colors and a big blast of fire!

 A balloon glow is a beautiful thing to see, and it's just as beautiful to participate in, but since you never really leave the ground it still takes second place to actually going flying. Regardless, for the sake of the festival and the local community, I'm really glad the weather was more than acceptable for the glow to take place. An added bonus of a being right there in the thick of the glow is taking pictures of the fire coming out of the burners... and since there's a pyromaniac living inside me, I get a lot pleasure out of the experience : )

(click pic for hi-res) Yep, it gets kinda hot when you're helping a balloon fill with hot air!

 As it turned out, two local pilots did fly on Saturday evening with their commercially sponsored balloons, but all the other pilots elected to stay on the ground since the weather was a tad uncertain and they weren't familiar with the local surroundings and landing sites. I was able to get some pix as these two balloons inflated and it's no surprise that my focus was on catching the fire.

(click pic for hi-res) Millions of BTU's get the envelope off the ground pretty quickly!

 All things considered it was a great weekend even tho we didn't get Mitch's balloon off the ground. With two official training flights in the last 5 weeks in my logbook now, I'm on the way to attempting to get my balloon rating this summer... and the truth is, even if we don't get off the ground, I'm happy anytime I get to be around a couple hundred pounds of beautiful fabric, some wicker, and lots and lots of fire!

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