September 30, 2011 - Albuquerque Aloft and Goofing Off

The day before the start of the Balloon Fiesta, a number of pilots go to a number of the schools around Albuquerque and launch.  This is done for a variety of reasons – good community interaction, education for the children (and parents and teachers), and hands on training for the crew.

We went with Mike Liberti and his son, Chris to Douglas MacArthur Elementary School.  Here is our group waiting to help:

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Laying out Chris’s envelope:

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And the cold inflation begins:

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Andy holding open the throat of Mike’s Balloon:

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Mike looking inside his Balloon.  He encouraged the elementary students to touch it – those are their shadows:

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The inflation continues – Mike’s balloon is on the left:

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Chris’s Balloon:

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Chris was able to lift off but because of the winds that picked up, Mike stayed on the ground.  What I found fascinating was that Mike called many of the young students over and lifted them into the Balloon and answered their questions (as well as answering many of our questions).  It was a great learning experience for all of us.

Some of the other balloons that launched from other schools:

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Pretty cool!!   Tomorrow is Mass Ascension so stay tuned.

This is the Balloon Fiesta RV park where our Boomer group (of over 40 rigs) has one corner of the field.  Great views when balloons are landing:

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Later this afternoon, we walked over to the launch area to check out the vendors and have lunch.  I have to say that I had one of the best hamburgers there.

We lost the guys as we were shopping.  We found them watching a truck that was stuck on the field:

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One of the big tents is an arts and crafts tent.  Although only half the vendors were there, we know we want to go back when the guys aren’t with us.  We came out of the tent and found this:


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Of course, we had to:

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And we finished the day with another great happy hour.

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