Balloon Ride!
Earl's 92nd Birthday
Snohomish Washington

September 24, 2009

 


Hooking up the burners 


Preflight Briefing


Setup of the Basket and equipment. Note the Captain's bars on the pilots epaulets. Note also the thumb-operated switch-like valves on the bottom of the burners



Setup and layout of the balloon prior to inflating it with a 9HP fan


Watching the balloon fill with cold air  from the fan


Inflating with both burners. Note the barely visible flame about 4 ft above the burners. The system uses liquid propane and the coils vaporize it before  it hits the burner. Each puts out 150,000 BTU


Getting ready to go


Flames shooting up from the burners inside the balloon quickly added lift. It looked  like a 20-30 sec delay between adding heat and the resulting lift. Required some good piloting technique to fly over trees and find wind shifts at higher altitudes. Noise from the burners was quite loud but the heat escaping kept us comfortable at cruising altitude.

 


Almost ready to board



Cruising  to the Southeast with the wind


Altitude control using thumb-operated burners. Note one of the three 20 Gal bottles of propane behind the pilot. We only used one for the 1 hour trip.


What a thrill! Note: Mt Pilchuck and Three Sisters Mtn in the background


Pilot looking down


Thrilling Ride!


Shadow against hill


Down to 10 ft and skimming the river for a bit. Pilot commented immediately after taking this picture: "This is ballooning at it's best!"


Skimming  a sandbar


Back to 500 ft and crossing the Snohomish River


Another interesting shadow shot of the balloon



Getting out .. Note the holes in the basket for foot holds


Down safe and what a cool experience


Nice landing in the grass next to a corn field


Stuffing the whole thing in a big bag


Tipping the basket onto the Trailer


Jan and Dave Smiles for all

Valhalla Tree Farm
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