A balloon crew from Goodyear, Arizona, packs up the envelop of their hot air balloon after affixing banners to it in preparation for the start of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. The annual fiesta kicks off Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, when hundreds of hot air balloons are expected to participate in the opening mass ascension. Organizers want to be clear no drones will be allowed. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan) CloseThe Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press
Hundreds of hot air balloons fill the sky just as the sun rises over the mountains bordering the city’s eastern edge. In the opposite direction, the view is just as awesome, with the wave of colorful orbs and special shapes standing out against the backdrop of a cottonwood forest and the Rio Grande.
There might not be a more perfect event to document with a drone than the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Too bad. Don’t even think about it.
Fiesta organizers on Thursday said no drones will be allowed within a four-mile radius of the launch field throughout the duration of the nine-day event. The entire area is covered by a temporary flight restriction approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Until the FAA develops firm regulations for the unmanned aircraft, fiesta organizers see all drones as a potential threat to the flight operations of the more than 550 pilots who are participating in this year’s fiesta.
“It’s a safety issue,” said Don Edwards, the event director. “There are enough distractions in the air with 550 balloons around you without all of a sudden having to ask, ‘What’s that little thing buzzing around?’ ”
Drones are a relatively new issue for the fiesta. Last year, there were only a couple of requests to fly drones during the balloon launches. Those were politely turned down, but federal authorities ended up knocking on the door of one Albuquerque resident who flew a drone over the restricted airspace without permission.
This year, the fiesta received more requests, so organizers wanted to make the rules clear before Saturday’s opening mass ascension.
The annual event attracts locals as well as tens of thousands of spectators from around the world.
Some pilots were pleased with Thursday’s announcement. Others were unaware that it might even be an issue.
“There’s going to be people who try to bend the rules, I’m sure,” Edwards said. “We’ll be watching.”
For more than three decades, guests from all over the world come to Albuquerque to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This year’s event, October 5-13, 2013, marks its 41st anniversary.
The New Mexico skies are painted as hundreds of balloons lift off from Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park. Nothing rivals the power of Mass Ascension on crisp early mornings as these graceful giants leave the ground to take their place in the cerulean desert sky. For ballooning fans worldwide, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. There’s something for everyone to enjoy . . . whimsical special shapes filled with equal parts of hot air and wonder, and Balloon Glows that create a magical night landscape for spectators to wander. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will leave you awestruck and wanting more.
From its modest beginnings in 1972 with 13 balloons launching from a shopping mall parking lot, the Balloon Fiesta has grown to multiple events launching year-round at the custom-designed, 365-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. The signature event remains Balloon Fiesta—which, with over 600 balloons, is the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.
Balloon Fiesta Park is located north of Alameda Boulevard, one mile west of I-25.
The 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started on a great note with virtually no wind, measuring ZERO on my own weather station. Was a delight to see all of the balloons in the sky as this was my first Balloon Fiesta since moving here a year ago right after the Fiesta.
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.
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!