The 9th annual Salt River Fields Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival is an event all families will remember. The festival has hot air balloons, food, inflatable slides, trick-or-treating and more! My family and I won tickets from Bear Essential News. We had a very good time!
While we were there I met one of the balloon pilots, Rich Lawhorn. He told me a lot of interesting facts about hot air balloons. Did you know that hot air balloons can go up to around 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet in the air? Some have gone as high as 21,000 feet with permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots who fly that high must use oxygen masks while flying above 12,500 feet.
Lawhorn pilots a Humpty Dumpty balloon. It was created in 1996 in England, the year Lawhorn began flying hot air balloons. The Humpty Dumpty has what is called an envelope—the fabric that makes the balloon. All of the fabric that makes the Humpty Dumpty balloon weighs 388 pounds. Wow!
That’s a lot! Usually with three full tanks of helium they can fly up to four people for two hours. That’s awesome!
Hot air balloon pilots need to know how fast the wind is blowing to plan their flight. Sometimes they call the weather service, but other times they can look on a weather service app via their smart phone. This information helps them plan where to launch and where they’ll land. If it’s too windy, they can’t fly. Light, steady wind days are optimal flying conditions.
If this article has peaked your interest in flying in a hot air balloon, there are many companies that will take you on a flight. One of these companies provided tethered rides at the festival. If you would like more information, you can visit their website at www.rainbowryders.com.