Many people assume that if they see a hot air balloon descending into a yard or field that it is "crashing." This is (generally) an incorrect assumption. Balloons fly with the winds and while the pilot has precise control over altitude, (up and down) the actual flight direction is up to the winds. From time to time the wind may be blowing in "Layers," which does provide some "steering." Therefore, balloons land where the wind takes them; frequently on private properties, such as fields, backyards, even parking lots. As we deal with landowners nearly every flight, we are careful to avoid damaging their property, including crops or livestock, during the landing process. It is our objective to minimize the effect of a landing/recover and of course, ALWAYS be courteous to the landowner. Chase crews are instructed t request permission before entering private property and to ascertain where they can/can't drive their vehicles.
For all of us in ballooning, the landowner is a critical part of our activity. Given the will of the winds, we use those opportunities that are presented to us as we fly.
If a balloon does land on your property, feel free to approach the basket. Some additional hands & "weight" are always welcome, while waiting for the crew to arrive. This also provides an opportunity for the pilot and landowner to chat. It's a great way to learn more about ballooning.
To those who have allowed our balloon to land on their property we say, THANK YOU!
A card is given to property owner when a flight ends. They encourage landowners to provide feedback on their experience with balloonists. At the end of the year, all cards are entered into a drawing for THANK YOU prizes. The cards are then returned to the balloonist as part of a critique process.
Additionally, the landowner committee will become involved in certain issues concerning problem resolution. Pilots should be very aware of the need to maintain good landowner relations and notifies other local pilots of prohibited areas, as appropriate.
Upon our landings, we always try to show our appreciation in one form or another. If the winds have calmed down enough, we will offer a chance to view their property from a whole new perspective first and then if time permits and with landowner permission take a few onlookers for a chance to experience the balloon and the aerial views.
Upon our landings, we always try to show our appreciation in one form or another. If the winds have calmed down enough, we will offer the landowner a chance to view their property from a whole new perspective. If the time permits and with landowner permission, of course, we'll take a few onlookers for a chance to experiacne the balloon and the aerial views.
For the “true” ballooning experience we ask that those who partook of the free lift, stick around and to please help up pack our beautiful balloon away. It’s a sad time for the pilot, but the sooner we put the equipment away the sooner we get to celebrate and toast to a spectacular flight. We could have cheese and cracker, fruits and veggies. We’ve even had the landowner offer up hot cocoa or coffee and offer a fresh baked good of their own! That’s when the pilot knows they have a great landowner and can’t wait to show off their skills and land back there AGAIN!!!
After the celebration, we’ll see that the landowner gets a personalized “A Very Special Thank You!” card (right) from AE Balloon Flights (autographed copies for a great hosts...ha, ha). And they, as well as the help, will be able to add to their “baseball card” collection a trading card (above) of AE Balloon Flights.
For a little farm animal humor. This was a spoof I found on the internet. Those who have been up so far, you will know that most of the time we fly over or land in and around farms. However, many of you will be unfamiliar with the animals therein and not know exactly how to deal with them or what to expect. For this purpose here is an introduction to livestock.
For those of you who have yet to see sheep close up, you will soon realize that there is a minimum distance inside which they no longer appear picturesque. It's quite hard to frighten a sheep (I find the best way is to shout "MINT SAUCE!" in a very loud voice), but when scared they gather together and the whole group starts to spin. It's not clear why they do this, but it could be that they got the idea from watching G-Force out of Battle of the Planets and are trying to recreate the whirlwind's destructive effect on the invading balloon. This, of course, has no effect on the balloon if it's safely up in the sky, but does damage the sheep themselves and any object that gets in their way. But try telling the sheep this, will they listen? - OOH NO, sheep are notoriously stubborn - once they've got a idea in their heads there's no shifting it.
Generally, the stronger the surrounding fences - the more highly strung the cows therein:
(average instability of cow) / (wall strength) = a constant(ish)
Watch out for light brown Guernsey which are technically regarded as 'out to lunch'. When scared, cows will bunch up and move towards the balloon. The frightened cow, however, could easily be mistaken for one that is exceedingly happy to see the balloon, as it will jump, skip and run round and round and out the field. It's been said that a cow can loose a days worth of production of milk if frightened.
Sometimes a little "over-friendly", bulls have a particular fondness for suede coverings and may try and mate with the basket. If there are cows in the field the bull will send then over first to investigate before making it's move. If the bull decides it doesn't like the suede coverings this result in the even trickier situation of the bull mistaking the basket for a rival - and the could quite easily have an eye out.
Very easily frightened (Have you seen any pigs renting horror films at the video shop recently? I thought not: I rest my case.), a scared pig will bolt and stop for nothing, be it walls, farmers, agricultural machinery or any other animate or inanimate object. It is thus especially important not to frighten pigs as they will tend to flatten the surrounding area, or at least try - most pigs have yet to realize that in a head-to-head charge with an iron gate, it's not going to be the iron gate that's nursing a headache the size of Brazil for the following week.
Also easily frightened, though they are sensible enough to jump over the objects to get away from the balloon, rather than attempt to run straight through them - there's such a fine line between stupid and clever.
Poultry have a deep-rooted resentment for balloons. This probably arises out of jealousy because they can't fly. When they spot the balloon they'll move in the opposite direction in disgust, trampling over each other and forming pyramids in the process, which isn't too good for the birds on the bottom, especially if they haven't been circus trained.
Goats are odious creatures. If you see a goat, especially a tethered one, tell the pilot immediately so they can fly as close as possible to it with burners blazing. That'll teach 'em.