This was an afternoon flight where the light winds shifted dramatically part way through, making us reassess our route & target landing spot.
I was at Mildura as part of the Australian Ballooning Federation’s “The Lake 2010” event
Here’s my notes from the flight:
- Set up @ Werrimal School oval – worked through rigging & prep with Paul
- Used hands on / hands off method to heat balloon & launch
- Up & over Werrimal but couldn’t keep constant height:
- Would put heat in but the balloon would start to descend
- Was it thermals?
- Was it low pressure from a depleted tank?
- Must learn to check burner pressures while flying
- Flew out over trees north of Werrimal & scraped through the top of one
- Pete Dutneal’s balloon had a valve “buldge” – went up to check him from above after he’d landed
- Stayed high & started drifting left (west) of where we thought we’d go
- Watched Andrew “Harry” Fewtrell land on a field – his layout indicated wind shift was at ground level too
- Also saw dust cloud from tractor working in a field to the north had shifted direction compared to when we had driven past on the way to the launch field
- Changed plans, targeted clear area near dirt-track road
- Winds moving us towards tree – called crew into crop field for a handling line
- Got to experience impact of handling lines – need to burn once crew grab line due to down force exerted as they stop/slow forward momentum
- Worked to keep us light but not too buoyant
- Touched down on side of dirt-track and deflated
- Dug up a massive mallee root for use on camp fire – very dense wood so it’s good for long burning
- Flights today have been fun & educational, great introductions to what is coming up & amazing to see the difference between perspectives of crew, pax & pilot roles
- Loving it! :)