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Posting number US West 7 for October 16, 2017

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2017

“Fueling Your Imagination”

 We arrived at 10:00 am Friday, Oct. 6, parked in our assigned spot and registered at the Adventure Caravan tent. We will not move the RV until Mon., Oct 16 to go to the nearby Mercedes Benz dealer for 40,000 mile service. Then we seriously start driving east with a stop in Cordova, TN.

 “Balloons Glow in the Sky”

Nothing beats the experience of being in the middle of the balloons as they inflate and lift off each morning in a mass ascension of up to 600 balloons.


Wandering in the launch field                                                  Balloons surround us

There are different ways to make balloons fly. Hot air balloons rely on a limited supply of propane fuel burners that heat the air inside an envelope. Gas balloons can travel long distances and to high altitudes. Their lift comes from hydrogen or helium filled envelopes.

When air captured inside a balloon is warmer (thus lighter) than the air around it, the balloon rises. As the air in the balloon cools the balloon will descend. The pilot can fire the burner to heat it, and adjust the balloon’s altitude.

To lift 1,000 pounds, you need about 65,000 cubic feet of hot air. Standard shaped balloon envelopes are anywhere from 77,000 to 105,000 cubic feet and carry 60 gallons of propane for about 3 hours of flight. Most special shaped balloons can greatly exceed these numbers.


Inflating the envelope                                                         Launch field from Sandia Mountain

Each balloon has a unique design showing both creativity and artistry.


Twins                                                                      Stars and Stripes


Ready to launch                                                                Ring toss over the pole


Balloons are designed in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The more complex shapes are more difficult to launch and land.


Friendly bees                                                                       Humpty has fallen


Alligator and friend                                                              From New Zealand


Give Smokey a hug                                                 Keep a smile on your face

The RV park was located south of the launch field. Therefore with the usual morning breezes coming from the north many of the balloons landed in the field at the center of the park or passed over our RV as they continued traveling south. On a few occasions, the upper winds were from the south and the balloons passed over the park again as they were able to returned to the north. This arrangement of winds is called the “Albuquerque Box” and is unique to the Albuquerque area.


Looking overhead                                                               RV park takeoff


Landingss in the RV park

Although balloons do not take off in the dark as they would not be able to find a safe landing site, in the early morning (6 AM) and evening (7 PM) the balloons inflate and create a spectacular “Glow”.


Early morning glow                                                            Evening glow


Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International

Balloon Museum

This history museum is adjacent to the launch field and the RV park making it very convenient to visit for a morning.

Humanity’s dream to fly was realized in 18th century France.


First flight by Montgolfier Brothers                                           Double Eagle V

For decades, crossing the Atlantic Ocean challenged many balloonists. Crossing the Pacific Ocean by balloon would mean achieving one of the longest balloon flights in history. The first to achieve this was Double Eagle V, a gas filled balloon.


Unsuccessful attempt to fly over the North Pole in 1897. 
The remains of the explorers were recovered 40 years later.

Early attempts to fly nonstop around the world by balloon were unsuccessful. This goal was finally achieved in 1999 by the Breitling Orbiter 3.

Balloon Long Distance Competition

One of the several competitions held during the Fiesta was a long distance flight. A small group of gas balloons launched on Saturday evening. The winner of this competition landed 4 days later in Labrador, over 3000 miles from Albuquerque. The winner from last year, a couple from Albuquerque, landed near the northern border of Vermont and New Hampshire. They shared their experience on the local TV station. Very brave couple.


Touring in New Mexico

In addition to viewing daily morning balloon ascensions, evening glows and fireworks, we toured with the Adventure Caravan group to Albuquerque Old Town, Santa Fe Plaza, Sandia Mountain, and Acoma Pueblo.

Acoma Pueblo Sky City

This physical and spiritual homeland for the Acoma people looms atop a mesa nearly 370 feet above the desert floor. The history of the Acoma people and the Pueblo dates back to as early as 1100 AD. Acoma has over 300 structures made of adobe (mud brick) and sandstone.


Ladder access to the kiva                                               Streets of sand and rock


San Esteban del Rey Mission                                                      Cooking oven

Construction of the San Esteban del Rey Mission and Convento began in 1629 and was completed in 1640 by the Acoma people.


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