Tinker Around

Welcome to my blog. It is full of basic projects and tutorials for things that I have done and feel like others out there would benefit from learning too. Be sure to take time to leave me a comment. Thanx, Pam

Monday, September 23, 2013

Plano Balloon Festival 2013

What a blast we had this past weekend as we attended the Plano Balloon Festival, Plano, Texas. The winds were high, and so we were not there when the balloons were able to take off. But, we were able to attend, and take three of the grad students that are in from China attending UTDallas with us. You have to be up early to watch a launch, and even earlier if you want to watch the balloons being filled with air.

You can tell that the sun is still coming up. It had rained all the day before, so it was also rather chilly for those of us that have been in Texas for several years. Fall is in the air! These first few pictures show one of the balloon owners - Loren, teaching my daughter, Sarah, and our new friends - Ginny, Ice, and Lily about the balloons.

Having been out on the field before, I am not sure that anyone on the other side of the fence line knows how much work really goes into just getting the balloon ready for lift off. And then, like that isn't enough, there is the entire process of putting it all back away at the end of the flight or show.

Those balloons are so heavy, it takes several people to make up each balloon crew. Here, we will see the girls taking off the strips that mark the velcro. Each one has to be put together in order for the flight to go on. The girls understand the task at hand, and do a great job. So thankful to Loren for allowing us onto the field to see all this hands on!!!

Taking time out for some pictures!

Now comes the huge fan and the checking of the seams. The balloon gets started with the big fan, then will be taken upright after the "firing up". Here, just let me show you, it is much easier than trying to explain it.


I really like that picture I got of Luc and Loren inside the balloon. They make a great team and go ballooning all over the world. Luc has been a Hot Air Balloon Pilot since 1990, and has flown balloons in Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Sweden. He and Loren met in Gent, Belgium and 2008 when she was on her first trip to Europe. They have enjoyed the sport of ballooning since 2010 when they purchased their first US registered balloon, a 2009 Cameron named "Zipper". I went to high school with Loren and feel blessed to have gotten to hook up again after all these years.

That is me in the pink top.  lol...

There is Luc, the pilot and owner!

I was shooting these pictures all on my phone, looked up and what did I see??? The tail!!! lol... The picture of the girls under on of the feet will help you to understand just how large this balloon is. This balloon was made in Brazil, though it lives in Anna, Texas. Pigasus is 85 feet tall and was first inflated in 2008.

Here are just some random shots around the field before they started bring the balloons down. When the wind is gusty, they can not safely take them up. But, if there is any way possible, the Plano Balloon Festival is sure to get as many inflated as possible. The crowd is there and the festival is a good one! They did get to do some lift offs later, just not while we were there.

Did I mention that the balloons are fastened off to the vehicles to help keep them weighted, and then stuffed with the crew members too? I got a couple shots with the balloon being put back down and you can see how that went. It was so funny to see this actually happen! People spilling out like a barrel of monkeys.

Next, came all the deflating and tying up of all the parts of the balloons. This took some time, that is a lot of air to get out of the balloons so that they can be packed back into their baskets and on the vehicles. We take off across the field and go to check out all the booths and other things that the festival has to offer. There were bean bag tosses with free chocolate milk as prizes, free dog treats, wheel spinning, music, kiddy rides, ...

There is a "glow" that happens in the evening and we hit so much traffic that we missed it. But, here are a couple of photos that Loren sent to me!  How does it work?  Well, as I understand it, a glow burner is different than that of the standard burner used in flight.  These are lit from time to time from within to give the balloons the glow.  It is still all very expensive and a loved by the crowds at any balloon festival.

We did make it for the FIREWORKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my GOSH!!!! This was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Makes me wish I had taken my camera, but, my phone worked just fine!

Well, that is it for this year for the Balloon Festival in Plano. Let me just add... A LOT of folks think that the day of the balloon lift that they can just pay a few bucks and hitch a ride. It IS NOT that easy! You have to get hold of these pilots weeks if not months in advance. I am going to say that it isn't cheap either, plan on a couple hundred dollars for a ride. Here is the information for Luc and Loren Goethals... 214-808-6282 or you can email them at luc.balloon@gmail.com or at theflyingpigasus@gmail.com Please let them know that you found their information here on my blog. Tell them that Pam said, "Hello!" See ya in a week or two!

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