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People who function both as
ground crew, helping with pre-flight preparations, and chase crew, retrieving
the balloon after its flight and packing it back into the chase vehicle.
Also “gondola”. Most commonly
made of wicker, it carries the pilot, passengers and a variety of equipment. The
typical balloon basket holds two 15 gallon tanks of propane gas and can carry up
to one pilot and two passengers.
The fuel burning source of a modern
hot air balloon, consisting of coil tubing and a fuel ejecting nozzle. A double
burner system generates 32 million BTUs per hour. A pilot “burns” by turning or
pulling the blast valve.
The truck and trailer carrying
the balloon components, pilot and crew. Frequently painted with corporate,
commercial or personal designs.
Balloons used as a form of
The top centre point of a balloon
envelope. Attached to the crown is the crown line, which a crew member holds
taut when the balloon is being inflated, preventing swaying of the envelope.
The pilot of a hot air balloon
deflates the envelope by “ripping” out the top panel, the deflation port, of the
balloon with a ripcord or deflation line.
The variation of the standard
inflated shape of a balloon caused during inflation by strong winds, or during
flight by the venting of hot air from the envelope, or by wind sheers.
“Spinnakering” is a sailing term for the distortion of an envelope being
inflated or tethered in a high wind.
The fabric bubble of modern rip-stop
nylon or other synthetic material. Load tapes running vertically down the
envelope end in cables which attach to the baskets’ uprights.
Un-tethered, a balloon
drifting with the wind. Technically, a balloon cannot be “steered”, but the
pilot can sometimes change direction by ascending or descending to wind currents
at a different altitude. Winds up to about 10 miles an hour are suitable for
flying. A typical hot air balloon flight lasts one hour.
The filling of an envelope with cold
air from an inflator fan and hot air from the burners. After an envelope is
about 75 percent filled with cold air, hot air inflation begins. When the air
inside the envelope becomes warmer than the air outside, the envelope rises to a
A ground crew’s walking a balloon
envelope out of its bag and spreading out the fabric, readying it for inflation.
Part of the pre-flight assembly of a balloon.
A slit in the side of the
balloon envelope opened by the venting line for the spilling of hot air from the
envelope. Venting enables the balloon to descend faster than it would by the
cooling of the air inside the envelope. Corporate pilots often vent in order to
rotate their balloons so that the company logo on the envelope faces the crowd.
Also known as balloon glow. The
crowd-pleasing random or synchronized blast of burners to illuminate a group of
balloons after dark. Begun near Albuquerque as a Christmas Eve festivity.