American History TV – History of Hot Air Ballooning – (CLICK HERE)

History of Hot Air Ballooning

Troy Bradley talked about hot air ballooning and the role the balloons have played in U.S. history, including the Civil War and beyond.?Albuquerque is the hot air balloon capital of the world, and holds one of the largest hot air balloon competitions in the world each year.

C-SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles (LCVs) made a stop in their “2013 LCV Cities Tour” in Albuquerque, New Mexico to feature the history and literary life of the community.?Working with the Comcast Cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed.

The “Albuquerque Box” can be extra elusive for pilots at the Balloon Fiesta some years, but when it works, it really helps pilots and passengers alike.

Here’s why: pilots can make a balloon go up or down by applying heat to the envelope, but they have no way of steering the balloon, which is where the Albuquerque Box comes in.

In perfect conditions the box helps pilots “steer” their balloons. Close to the ground, the wind will be blowing from the north. As soon as the balloon launches, that wind will make it drift toward the south.

As the balloon begins to climb in altitude, it will enter another layer of wind blowing from the south.

That will make the balloon drift back toward the north.

As long as those two different layers of wind are blowing opposite each other, the pilot can choose to make his balloon fly within the Albuquerque Box.

The pilot may even be able to land very near from where he took off.

The phenomenon is great for onlookers, who can stay in one spot and watch the balloon launch, drift away, then drift back and land all from the same location.

When the box isn’t present, balloonists have no options for steering, and will drift wherever the wind takes them. As we’ve seen, they can land in peculiar and perilous spots around the city.

Rachel Sams, Editor-in-Chief- Albuquerque Business First


A sky filled with balloons is a spectacle anytime; when those balloons are unusual shapes and sizes, it’s especially captivating.

ABF Publisher Ian Anderson captured this morning’s Special Shape Rodeo at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on video. According to the Balloon Fiesta’s website, the rodeo has become the annual fiesta’s most popular event. Of this year’s 550 participating balloons, 104 are special shapes, and 12 of those are new to the event this year.

We’ve been on the scene and behind the scenes throughout Balloon Fiesta, the state’s largest festival, which is expected to bring 850,000 visitors to Albuquerque over its nine days. Here are some highlights from our coverage so far:

• By the numbers: a look at Balloon Fiesta’s economic impact

• Photos from Balloon Fiesta’s opening weekend

• A peek at Fiesta vendors’ Mission Control with Jim Garcia

Hyperlapse video of the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension

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