In conjunction with the Friends and Lovers Balloon Rally, the Albuquerque Balloon Museum is offering a breakfast from 6-10am. Tickets include a breakfast buffet, cash bar, admission to the Balloon Museum, entertainment, free shuttle service to Balloon Fiesta Park for the Friends and Lovers Balloon Rally, as well as raffle prizes including a hot air balloon ride and more.
Dates: February 9, 2013 Time: 6-10am Admission: $30 per person, $5 for children 4-12
Albuquerque Balloon Museum
9201 Balloon Museum Dr NE Neighborhood: Balloon Fiesta Park/N I-25 Phone: 505-768-6020
Name: Linda Hubley Department: Balloon Museum Phone: (505) 768-6020
12/17/2012 – Albuquerque named to top lists for travel for 2013 Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
Megan Mayo Ryan, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau
office (505) 222-4349; cell (505) 321-7367, firstname.lastname@example.org
Albuquerque named to top lists for travel for 2013
Albuquerque, NM – The experts at Fodor’s Travel announced today that Albuquerque has been named among the Top 25 Places to Go in 2013. Fodor’s editors have chosen Albuquerque as a hot travel destination because of our excellent value for visitors, calling the city an affordable getaway for nature lovers and families. Albuquerque’s visibility on the AMC show “Breaking Bad” has also helped elevate the destination’s profile for travelers.
“The places on our Go List are our ‘must-dos’ for the coming year. Travelers should add these far flung and domestic destinations to their 2013 itinerary,” said Arabella Bowen, Executive Editorial Director at Fodor’s Travel. The cities were selected by Fodor’s senior editorial team who began with an initial list of 75 global travel spots, narrowing them down to the final 25 locales on the Go List after heated internal debate.
Albuquerque has also been highlighted as one of 20 Awesome Winter Foodie Destinations by Zagat.com again focusing on Los Poblanos. The story, which is available here: http://blog.zagat.com/2012/12/20-awesome-winter-foodie-destinations.html, says “If you haven’t experienced the great Southwest, now is the time and Albuquerque the place to start.”
Just west of Albuquerque, the Acoma Pueblo was also named one of “12 most extreme places in America worth visiting” by BudgetTravel.com and showcased on FoxNews.com. The list is a compilation of longest, coldest, hottest, biggest and oldest. That’s where Acoma “Sky City” Pueblo comes in; it is said to be one of the oldest sites in North America.
For more Albuquerque rankings, visit http://www.itsatrip.org/albuquerque/whats-new/top-ranking.aspx.
These past two days the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association held their annual “Friends and Lovers” February ballooning event. On neither day was the weather good enough to fly so I thought it would be appropriate to post a blog about the weather and the conditions that generally prevent balloonists from flying.
“Weather” to Fly or Not – That is the Question?
The Conditions that Will Keep us on the Ground
Wind words to look for in a forecast: gusty, breezy, windy, blustery, small craft warnings, high wind warnings
Wind is the most critical factor in safe ballooning; it effects every phase of a flight. More balloon flights are cancelled due to wind than for any other reason. Balloons fly best in light and stable winds of 4-6 miles per hour. Maximum winds are 8-10 mph. Here are the reasons wind is such an issue:
During inflation the balloon is filled with cold air using a fan. The balloon fabric is just a giant sail, and winds approaching 10 mph make it almost impossible to fill the balloon. The wind will cave the side of the balloon in and the resulting sail effect places tremendous loads on both the fabric and the basket. These forces can be 3-10 tons depending on the size of the balloon. The balloon will roll around, sometimes violently. It is tied off to keep even a gentle breeze from causing it to drag downwind, but we have seen a gust cause the balloon to drag the trailer and van it was tied to across the grass! Pretty impressive to watch – not much fun!
Strong winds in flight can take the balloon farther than the pilot has room to fly. Since a balloons flight path and the distance it will travel is dictated solely by the wind’s speed and direction, this can be an issue if high winds carry the balloon into areas that are unsuitable for a landing. Such areas include: metropolitan areas, large expanses of forest, restricted airspace, and large bodies of water. All of these are factors in our immediate flying area.
Lastly, there is the landing. A balloon’s speed across the ground will be the speed of the wind it is flying in. High wind speeds mean that the pilot needs a larger area to land in. A balloon relies on the friction of the basket dragging along the ground to come to a stop. In a high wind landing, you are trying to stop 3-10 tons, depending upon the size of the balloon, without brakes – the basket will skip, drag and bounce along the ground. It will eventually layover on its side while continuing to drag along the ground. Again, impressive just not much fun.
The winds on the surface are just one of our concerns. We have to think three dimensionally and consider what the wind is doing at altitude as well. This is perhaps the most confusing aspect for our passengers. There is not even a hint of a breeze and your flight has just been cancelled due to wind, how come? We look at winds at the surface (the wind you can feel) and the winds at 1 to 9,000 feet. We are not going to go to 9,000 feet, but it tells us if we might encounter issues such as wind shear, turbulence, or strong surface winds later on. Even if there are no winds to speak of at the surface, the winds aloft may drive our decision not to fly. Winds aloft of 18-20 knots or 20 miles per hour can be sufficient to reschedule a flight.
Poor Visibility words to look for in a forecast: foggy, hazy, misty
How far can we see? Our aircraft are designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Visual Flight Rules (VFR) certified. That means we must have a certain amount of visibility to legally fly. The visibility must be 1 to 3 miles, depending on where we are flying. If we don’t have it, we can’t fly!
Rain & Storms words to look for in a forecast: thunderstorms, rain, chance of showers or storms
The decision not to fly in rain or storms seems a simple one – of course we don’t! What isn’t so simple is why your flight may be cancelled when no storm or rain actually happens in the area. We must often make our decision based on a forecast. Despite the many advances in weather prediction, forecasting remains an imprecise science. We often refer to forecasts as “horoscopes with numbers.” Our idea of long range forecasting is 4 hours and we don’t place a great deal of faith in them! Forecasts for our flying area are limited to the Double Eagle Airport and the Albuquerque International Airport (Sunport) . We are practically equal distance between the two and what happens in our flying area may be very different from the forecast – both good and bad!
Storms can be significant events to any type of aircraft, but a balloon is perhaps the most weather sensitive aircraft there is. An airplane can turn and run from a storm whereas a balloon is drawn into a storm. The winds will accelerate and head toward a building storm and flow out of a decaying storm. These gust fronts can occur 75 to 100 miles away from the actual storm and create winds that are dangerous to a balloon. Once again, it’s the wind! If storms are forecast or there are storms within 100 miles we will reschedule flights.
Since hot air balloons fly by changing the temperature inside the balloon with heat, it stands to reason that outside air temperature is going to affect balloon flights, and it does! When the air in the balloon is heated, it becomes hotter and thus less dense than the surrounding outside air. This hotter air is “lighter” and the balloon will float upward. The more heat, the higher up you go. A balloon will fly when its temperature is around 140 degrees above the outside air temperature (generally). So, the colder it is outside, the less heat it takes to fly and conversely, the hotter it is outside, the more heat it will take to fly. Can’t wrap your head around this? Here is an example:
Outside Air Temperature + Heat it Takes to Fly (140 F) = Temperature Inside the Balloon Cold day of 30 degrees F + 140 F = 170 degrees inside the balloon
Hot day of 95 degrees F + 140 F = 235 degrees inside the balloon (more heat if it’s hot out)
This is of particular concern to companies operating smaller balloons. The smaller the balloon, the less lift capacity it will have and the hotter it must be inside the balloon for it to fly. The maximum continuous operating temperature for most hot air balloons is 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That leaves little margin for safety and for maneuvering on a very hot day.
We would like to welcome you to the Ballooning Capital of the World web site. The Ballooning Capital is located in the greater Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA area including area communities like Rio Rancho.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest hot air balloon festival and takes place each October. During the balloon festival you will see literally hundreds of balloons. The event is considered to be the most photographed event in the world. Guests of the event are allowed to mingle amongst the balloons and possibly even to help the crews.
There are more resident hot air balloonists in the local area than anywhere else in the world. The ideal conditions and the growth of the sport have attracted many people to the Albuquerque area. Hardly a day goes by without a balloon launch, weather permitting.
Albuquerque has a unique climatological feature called the “box”. The Sandia Mountain to the east blocks the sun from heating the ground, and as a result, the air near the ground is cooler and flows to the south, and 600-700 feet up, the warmer air flows to the north, allowing the balloon pilot to launch and land in nearly the same spot, if not in fact, the same spot.
Another great activity is called balloon glow. This is the glow from the balloon when the hot propane-powered flames light up the balloon, and because of the balloon’s size, can be seen from a long distance. Several times during the year there are actual balloon glow events during which the balloons are on display, but aren’t launched.
This web site has been created to tell the world about what is going on here and we welcome your comments and pictures. Our host is a photographer so there will be many unique photos not found elsewhere plus photos contributed by other photographers.
Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you back again!
Ever since the Montgolfier brothers launched the first manned hot air balloon flight in France in 1783, enterprising balloonists have capitalized on our fascination with open-air flight by offering rides that soar over some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.
Just watching the graceful globes aloft is mesmerizing, especially when they’re en masse. Here’s where to catch them or hitch a ride.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 6-14): What started in 1972 as a local radio station promotion to round up the most hot air balloons in one place has become the world’s largest ballooning gathering and, boast organizers, the most photographed event anywhere. Fueled by Albuquerque’s crisp fall climate and predictable air currents that allow balloonists to control their flights, the Balloon Fiesta attracts some 700 balloons from more than 50 countries.
The weeklong festivities include fireworks and concerts and showcase all manner of dazzling displays, from a special shape rodeo to lighted nighttime “balloon glows,” but the climax is the handful of spectacular mass ascensions in which all participants take to the sky in two waves.
Glen Falls, New York
Adirondack Balloon Festival (September 20-23): This is the 40th anniversary of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, the oldest and largest balloon gathering on the East Coast. Some 100 balloonists, including a slew who man special-shaped airships like dragons and bald eagles, converge on the region’s parks and airports to launch against a backdrop of mountains awash in fall foliage. Spectators can arrange flights privately with pilots.
“It’s so beautiful seeing the meandering Hudson River, the Adirondacks to the north, the Green Mountains in Vermont and the Catskills to the south,” says pilot Greg Livadas, a Rochester, New York pilot who has been flying in the festival for more than 30 years. The free event keeps the fun going in the afternoons with live music, aircraft displays, kite flying and meet-and-greets with pilots.
International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (August 11-19): Every August, more than 125 balloonists descend on Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, midway between Montreal and Vermont, for the largest hot-air festival in Canada.
Mass balloon launches at dawn and dusk bookend nine days filled with live music performances that range from Canadian folk group Cowboys Fringants to rapper T Pain, and family activities, including Balloon Planet, an inflatable amusement park. Come dark, dozens of tethered balloons are illuminated for “night suns,” a multimedia event with music and projections. Reserve your own flight starting at $170.
Napa Valley, California
With a patchwork of vines stretching for miles across gently rolling countryside, Napa Valley’s signature landscape is even more breathtaking by air. By late summer, the fog dissipates and you might even spy San Francisco and the bay in the distance. Napa Valley Balloons has been offering sunrise, hourlong flights from Yountville for some 30 years. Passengers enjoy a champagne brunch at the winery after touching down at Domaine Chandon.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
A bird’s eye view of unsuspecting wildlife takes safaris to new heights. Serengeti Balloon Safaris offers year-round flights over the Seronera Valley in the vast Serengeti National Park, home to zebra, giraffes, hippos, lions and leopards. The company also offers seasonal flights in other areas of the park during the annual wildebeest migration. Equipped with “stealth” burners, the balloons quietly float above the acacia treetops, launching at dawn when winds are favorable and game are most active.
From the vineyards of Champagne to the peaks of the Pyrenees, France’s diverse topography packs plenty of potential for ballooning. Named for the pastime’s French inventors, the more than 25-year-old France Montgolfieres company offers launches from nine sites throughout the country.
The newest base, Forcalquier in Haute Provence, has fast become one of the most popular. Nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean, it’s the perfect jumping off point to float over the medieval hilltop villages and lavender country of Provence. Upon landing you’ll celebrate with a traditional toast de l’aeronaute.
Book a private balloon flight in Cappadocia, Turkey, and you’ll get to see lava deposits at Turkey’s Mount Erciyes twisted by two millennia of erosion into hundreds of pillars and minarets known as fairy chimneys, making the landscape in the country’s central Anatolian region look like a set from Lost in Space. Soak up the spires in all their glory, as well as hand-hewn churches and homes carved from the limestone, from 1,000 feet on a 90-minute balloon flight from Royal Balloon.