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Joined: 8/14/98 Posts: 29955
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Heard a similar comment from a hot air balloon pilot in Charlottesville

We met with him on Friday evening at Boarshead Inn, and were told that we would launch at 6 am, as I recall. I checked weather maps, and noticed a strong high pressure over Ohio, and a low pressure center off the Virginia coast so I knew what that meant for the wind direction. On Saturday morning, my wife and I and two other couples were taken from Boarshead to the launch area, which was a field off off Rt 29 N. We soon launched, and were quickly flying south. We passes over U Hall, Scott Stadium, and I could tell that our speed was increasing. For a long time, we tracked right about the high tension power lines that run to the east of Rt. 29. After a while, the pilot seemed to be a bit nervous as he kept lifting the propane tanks to estimate how much fuel he had left. I chuckled when one of our passengers pointed to a field about a quarter of a mile away, but perpendicular to our flight path, and asked why can't we go over there and land.

There is a lot of wooded land south of Charlottesville, but very little open space to land a balloon, especially when the wind has risen to about 25 or 30 mph. Finally, the pilot points to a small field straight ahead of us. He instructed us to be prepared to squat down in the basket and hold onto a rail with both hands. He pulled the cord to start dumping hot air and we descended rapidly, with a couple uses of the flame to level us off. Then on command, we squatted and he flew the basket into the top of a big willow tree. We slowed, slid off the tree and landed with a bump in the field that was no more than 100 yards across. The balloon collapsed, the pilot climbed out, hyperventilating and collapsed on the ground. As we got out, we noticed pieces of willow branches stuck to the woven basket. The pilot said he had done over 5,000 flights, and this was in the top 5 for excitement.

(In response to this post by Trigon)

Posted: 01/12/2018 at 8:26PM


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Current Thread:
Biohazard team on our aircraft in CLT ... -- Trigon 01/12/2018 6:27PM
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