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Flight Over the New Mexico Sandia Mountains Print E-mail
Written by Beth Wright-Smith   
Saturday, 21 January 2012 18:53



For many who live in the flatlands, a flight over mountains is unheard of...exotic. On Friday, January 6, three Albuquerque balloons made a flight over the Sandia mountains here. For those who live in Colorado, our mountains are fairly small, but none-the-less a flight like this takes serious planning, especially as far as the weather goes. The catalyst was Troy Bradley, who had been watching the weather for several days and talking to the other two of us, me (Beth Wright-Smith) and Dean Donley about a possible crossing. All three of us had flown over these mountains before and two of us took first-timers, as in first time pilot mountain crossers, with us.

We flew about 40 miles in about 2 hours, got to altitudes of about 14,000 feet and speeds of 30 knots. Two of us had uncooperative pilot lights, but had great flights anyway. The views were amazing and the amount of snow still the east side of the mountains (from 2 weeks earlier) was somewhat of a surprise on landing. All three balloons had stand-up landings, which isn’t always the case. What an incredible experience!

Challenge yourself and go out and Fly!

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2012 19:23
Gary Eaton's January 2012 Long Jump Print E-mail
Written by Mark Caviezel   
Saturday, 21 January 2012 18:41

On Sunday, January 8th, I had the honor of assisting Gary Eaton in flying a BFA Long Jump flight. If you’re not familiar with Long Jump, the basic idea is “With forty gallons of propane, fly as far as you can.”

Gary chooses to fly during the regional Santa Ana winds which flow from Central Nevada into Southern California. He called me a few days prior to the flight and alerted me about the flight possibility. By Friday the forecast had firmed up, indicating good conditions for a Sunday flight. I picked him up on Saturday afternoon and we drove out to Las Vegas. Except for some high surface winds, conditions on Sunday morning looked good. Luckily, we were joined by local balloon pilot Doug Campbell who directed us to a shielded launch location which was excellent. After standing up the balloon on an extra tank, Gary made a beautiful straight up departure before eventually climbing into 50+ mph winds at altitude. After about two hours at cruise altitude, Gary elected to descend and land. He logged two hours and forty-nine minutes of flying time and landed with a very ample amount of remaining fuel. His flight distance was a very respectable 75+ miles. Most of the flight path is visible here:



Gary Eaton makes his approach to land during his long jump flight.

The Long Jump event was popular in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, peaking at 48 flights in the 1991-92 season but in the recent decade it has really fallen flat, averaging about 6 flights per year. A number of pilots have spoken to me about ‘revitalizing the Long Jump’. Each of you is hereby invited to plan and conduct a Long Jump flight to establish your own personal best long distance flight. Any questions regarding Long Jump can be directed to me at:

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2012 19:23
Texas Balloon Repair Station Receives Authority For Non-OEM Fabric Rebuilds Print E-mail
Written by Glen Moyer   
Monday, 21 March 2011 09:23
After more than two years of testing, submissions, and qualifications, Balloon Repairs of East Texas has received Federal Aviation Administration authorization to purchase, inspect and qualify repair fabrics for use in type certified hot air balloons repaired at BRET’s Longview, TX, facility. 
Last Updated on Monday, 21 March 2011 10:03
IMC To Remove Surcharge for 2011 Balloon Fiesta Print E-mail
Written by Glen Moyer   
Monday, 25 October 2010 15:41

The following news release was issued today, October 25, 2010, by IMC...

In 2011, IMC Balloon Agency will celebrate its 30th consecutive year of insuring this magnificent Sport. Throughout the years we have (and continue to be) the leader in providing risk management and asset protection for hot air balloons. In our leadership role, there are times that require hard and controversial decision making for the survival of insurability. The past year of 2010 proved to be one of those times.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 October 2010 23:09
J. Neils Enterprises is now Ventry Solutions Print E-mail
Written by Glen Moyer   
Monday, 28 December 2009 15:40

J. Neils Enterprises Inc., makers of the Ventry Inflator Fans, has announced a corporate name change to Ventry Solutions, inc. Here is the official statement from Joan Rodman, Director of Comunications and Marketing...

Piccard Selling Classic Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 10:19

Don Piccard, innovator in ballooning, has announced a bit mysteriously that he is selling a beautiful AX-6 balloon of 1.2 oz fabric featured in Sports Illustrated with 2 double page spreads. Based on his long history in ballooning it is likely an unusual and historic system. He claims it has low hours and that the fabric tests to 96% of original specifications.

Of course, what exactly is on offer is unclear, perhaps to build suspense and drive up the value.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2009 21:07
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