Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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We’re sitting here late at night watching the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s “mass ascention” streaming live on the ‘net. Hundreds of balloons launching and flying together, a sky packed with balloons. Amazing. You can see it via KOAT’s live feed running at 7am to 9am local time on the weekend mornings of the fiesta.

The special shapes this year are amazing. There’s been a giant cow, Darth Vader’s head, a wagon, a cathedral, strawberry, lady bug, American eagle, the two honey bees (often seen at the festival in Canberra) and many more. It’s a shame we never got to take the F1 Racer over there – it would have looked great.

The balloons were right up next to each other on the launch field – much closer than when we were launching the commercial flights here in Melbourne. They’re also letting the public right up to the balloons as they inflate, which freaks me out somewhat.

During their flight a number of the balloons are dropping down over the river and dragging their baskets through the water. Not sure if today’s weather will allow a box-flight as I’ve turned off the sound (TV presenters are annoying at best during these sorts of events).

NOTE: A box-flight is where you take off and fly away from the launch field with the wind then go up higher and encounter a reciprocal wind that brings you back towards the launch field. Very rare in ballooning but rather common during this time of year at Albuquerque. Usually the wind is blowing in different directions at different altitudes but generally at smaller angles, not 180 degrees opposite.

You know what? Stuff the Olympics – this is something worth staying up for and watching live :)

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