Tag Archives: hot air balloon flight over smithfield va

Flying High On My Birthday

Tiring of my birthday adventures yet? If so, you may just want to return to the blog, oh, maybe Friday of this week.  It was a busy birthday week.

You may recall that Motor Man and I are friends with Mark, who owns a hot air balloon. We’ve been to several launches, taken many photos, and, prior to last week,  had ridden with Mark on two occasions. If you’re interested in reading the previous posts, you can find them here and here.

A few days prior to my birthday, Mark called Motor Man and said that he was planning to fly EARLY Tuesday morning, alongside Reed, a long-time friend of his, who’s also a balloonist. Mark wondered if we could fly with Reed and take photos of Mark’s balloon.  He had no idea when he called that the day he planned to fly was my birthday. Surprise!

Hot air ballooning is VERY dependent on the weather.. and not just rain. The winds play a huge part in whether or not a flight can happen. So I was excited, but knew that there was a chance we’d have to cancel at the last minute.

Tuesday morning, the conditions could not have been more perfect.  Before sunrise, we met Mark, Reed, their ground crew, Rich and Luke, as well as the reporter and photographer from our local paper that were to be Mark’s passengers.

Our launch site was just a few miles outside of town.  Mark’s balloon is “Spectrum” on the left, and Reed was piloting the Remax balloon.

Motor Man and I signed up as crew members for the Remax balloon.  Our pre-flight job was holding the envelope (the balloon) while Reed first filled it with cold air, using a powerful fan. Notice Motor Man’s billowing jacket.

Once the balloon was filled with cold air, and while the basket was still tethered to the chase vehicle, Reed began filling the balloon with hot air from the propane burner. (This photo was actually taken during our flight.)

Soon the balloon was vertical, Rich released the rope tethering us, and off we went.

My friends have had varied responses when I mentioned that we went up in a hot air balloon. Some say it’s on their bucket list, and others say there’s no way they’d ever fly in one. I must admit that I had a few seconds of “angst” when our flight first started, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, I was soon enjoying the scenery.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from our flight:

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At the end of our flight, we enjoyed a very smooth landing.

Motor Man and I helped Reed and Rich gather up the envelope to be packed in its tote. Once that was done, the balloon and basket were loaded into the van.

We then treated our two pilots to breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I contacted Marshall, and was delighted that, even with such short notice, he was able to join us.

Mark, knowing it was my birthday, managed to “sneak” a cake into the restaurant without my knowledge. The servers brought it to our table after our meal and sang a cute little song to me: “If you’re good, you get your wishes. If you’re bad, you do our dishes!”. (Evidently, I was good.)

Nice…. the cake icing surprisingly coordinated with my jacket!

Sneaky Mark.

I had planned for this to be the final post regarding my this year’s birthday fun, but Motor Man asked that I write one more. So that will publish Wednesday. And after that, we’ll return to “regular programming”.

How about you?  Would you fly/have you flown in a hot air balloon?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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