Friday, June 9, 2017

Up, up and away!

Going up in a hot air balloon has never been something I thought we'd ever do.  When we arrived in Oregon, Ben made some connections at the airport that led to his becoming the new inspector and part-time mechanic for a local hot air balloon company (very part time second job).  So, this happened as a result.

I documented the whole process as it's not something most people do every day, and thought there might be someone interested.  First they tip the basket over and hook up the envelope (balloon).

Below is a picture of the top of a hot air balloon, it has a separate circular piece of fabric called the parachute that can be opened by the pilot to release the hot gases to descend.

On one side they are preparing for the lift.

 On the other, volunteers are filling the envelope with air (intermittently firing the heaters into it).

These two guys are hard to see, but they are running along as the envelope quickly raises up off the ground, helping it stand up more slowly.  It looked like fun.

 We all piled in (did I mention it was a 6:30am take-off?).

 Look up!

 ...and we're off!  They gave Phoebe a platform so she could see over the edge of the basket (she's not taller than her big sister quite yet).

 Beautiful Newberg, Oregon reminds me of England...

...only with mountains (see Mt. Hood).  We reached 2000 ft at our maximum elevation.

The landing was more than "bumpy", she told us to get into crash position, we hit a field, then stood up and watched as we slow motion bounced up then back to crash position for a second "THUNK!"  We hit the side of a ditch before finally landing.  Our pilot asked Ben and one other guy to get out and help move the basket.  You'll hear our pilot talk about whether the envelope would come down on something sharp like a sign or stake in the field.

Then everybody else got out of the basket, but the pilot asked me and the kids to stay in, we didn't expect to be tipped over!

Then, we were all invited to help roll up the envelope and to push out the air.

 Juni and Phoebe were thrown on top to help roll out the air

It all fit in this bag and loaded onto a trailer that also carried the basket.  We rode in the van that pulled it back to the air field.

Volunteers who sign up to launch and chase hot air balloons get a free pass to ride every seventh time they volunteer.  Seems like a fun retirement idea.  

They served us a fancy breakfast when we returned to the air field.  It was a memorable morning! 

I just have one question.  Why is it "a hot air balloon" and not "an hot air balloon"?   


Unknown said...

A next to a consonant and an next to a vowel. Lucky you.

Becca said...

Thank you, Theresa! But, why do we say "an heirloom" or "an historic event" but not "an hot air balloon"? There seem to be "h" exceptions, but inconsistently. I really do want to understand this!