I was lucky to be in Angel Fire, New Mexico when forty hot-air balloons arrived for the annual Balloon Festival. It was a great experience to join the Koshare Gallup Hot Air Balloon Team run by Pete (Pilot) and his wife Colleen (Crew Manager). As a crew member, I assisted with inflating, chasing, and deflating the balloon.
Its a weird feeling helplessness as you float in the balloon. As you gain height you can feel the changing go the wind and the direction of the balloon. For the most part, you are in the hands of the wind. The pilots job is to try to find a safe place to land for both the passengers and the balloon. The chase group follows the balloon on the ground. They try to provide information about the direction of the wind by the movement of other balloons. Hopefully the pilot is able to use the winds changing directions at the different heights to navigate the balloon to safe place to land and also a place the chase group has access via the truck.
On Saturday evening all the balloons inflated on the ground to perform a “Balloon Glow” (the fire used to inflate the balloon provides a magnificent glow at night). What an amazing experience.