As you know, balloon navigation can be problematic. You are pretty much limited to go where the wind takes you. As it happens,
wind direction can vary by altitude – depending upon season, geography and weather. Hot-air balloons can, therefore,
change direction by changing altitude – either by releasing air from the envelope or by running the burners to add more hot air
to the balloon. Favorable layers of wind directions is often present during the fall in Albuquerque. However, vicissitudes in the wind
can present challenges and downdrafts, such as occur due to land shapes near my neighborhood, can trap even experienced pilots.
Bob's balloon dropped into the neighborhood on Thursday, October 7, 2010. I don't think Bob was exactly planning this maneuver,
but he did a masterful job of lightly placing the gondola on my neighbor's driveway and the balloon envelope on the lawn
without breaking any limbs - trees or human! Bob's Balloons out of Orlando, Florida comes to the balloon fiesta most
years and the folks who were riding with him sure sounded like they had a great time.
Here is a sequence of photos of the last stages of their adventure featuring the activity on the ground. I was on my
roof taking balloon pictures when they came down, so I scrambled down the ladder and walked over with my camera.
Everyone was very nice, including the neighbors with their unexpected visitors.
Bob Lands in My Neighborhood - October 7, 2010
Floating by without a care in the world.
"Great view of these houses, but..."
"... say, Bob, aren't we getting a little low?"
"Over there, over there!"
"Yikes! Hold on!!" I love the irony of the "Dead End" sign, too.
Grounded. Top view of the balloon envelope showing the vent.
Looks bigger on the ground.
Bob unhooks from the gondola as the homeowner, standing in his driveway, looks on.
Lashing the balloon envelope to a tree just in case.
The sun shining through the balloon.
"Pull here to hold the vent open."
Looking inside from the bottom opening.
Holding the top vent open.
Rapidly deflating now.
The chase vehicle arrives.
Deflated and ready to pack.
"All of this is supposed to fit in this little bag?"
"It almost fits."
"Now it fits!"
Put it in the trailer and break out the champagne... this is where the photographer makes his graceful exit.