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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