42nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta — Part 4


Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

In a moment I’m going to give a brief pictorial on How to Inflate a Hot Air Balloon, but first some news from this year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

First, some statistics:

  • There were 548 normal balloons and 97 “special shape” balloons registered for this year’s event
  • Over 700,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event
  • Opening day (Saturday, which we attended) saw over 550 balloons take the the air

Alas, not every landing associated with the Balloon Fiesta is necessarily a soft or a happy one:

  • One 61-year-old woman suffered a broken ankle on Saturday following a hard landing (Story Link)
  • That same morning another balloon got entangled on a single power line (Story Link)
  • On Wednesday a balloon caught fire and the gondola crashed after running into multiple power lines (Story Link)

Dramatic Photo from http://www.KOAT.com (story link with more pictures above)

Now onto today’s tutorial.

So, you’re probably wondering how you go from this:

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

To this:

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Well, even if you don’t care, I’m going to show you anyway.  After rolling out the balloon and attaching the gondola, the crew will hold open the envelope at the gondola end and blow air into it using a fan:

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

The balloon slowly inflates over a period of twenty minutes or so depending on size:

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Of course while this is going on you do get the occasional inquiring young mind wondering what the heck is going on:

2013 ABQ Balloon Fiesta 051

Is That a Pillow, Mama?

The balloon continues to inflate with cold air:

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Eventually it fills enough to safely ignite the liquid propane burner, directing the flame into the envelope without the danger of burning the fabric:

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Filling with hot air now causes the envelope to lift, which in turn places the gondola into an upright position ready for launch:

Full of Hot Air — Must Be a Congressman

Full of Hot Air — Must Be a Congressman

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

Inflating a Non-Congressional Hot Air Balloon

The burner continues to feed heated air into the envelope until lift is achieved:

The Dawn Patrol takes to the Skies

The Dawn Patrol takes to the Skies

Don’t forget tomorrow’s Fun Photo Friday with some of my favorite photos from this event.

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