2010-07-03 – Shifting Evening Winds – Mildura – VH-BLQ (77)

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! :)

Click here to view my log book entry at JetRecord.com

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