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Balloon Flying Service of Oregon     |     PO Box 3305  Salem OR 97302     |     (503) 363-9799
September 9, 2011
Passengers: John & Debra McDonnell, andMike Garber (crew p/out)

Today we start another “blast” (a bunch of flights back to back) with four days in a row. I call for the Brooks site as the forecast call for calm surface winds then 3/5 from the NNW up top. We have a short load today so it will be “payday” for our first year crewman, Mike. We pay our crew (partially) with a ride when space is open, along with about anything they want (except $$) We get the balloon out of the bag and start stuffing in the cold until it’s full and ready for the heat to make it stand tall. I call for the passengers to get on board and we are off the tarmac leaving Cecil all by himself for the chase. Just off the deck I get a push to the west and we are over the hops right away. I have way to much shove from the east while I check the upper winds so it will be a “down low” flight today if I’m to stay on the right (east) side of the river for Cecil to get to us easily. Even low I still have a bit of a east push but it is much slower so we play in the trees a bit and by a slough we get a back draft and we double back over the track for a bit. That back track (take a look at the TRACK) holds only briefly then we are again heading toward the “R” word (not allowed to say that word in front of Cecil) and I’m looking hard for a spot to park next to the gravel operation on the island. We landed here about 2 weeks ago and I have a chance to hit it again just as soon as we clear the flower seed nursery that we are kind of stuck over. Cecil is on the ground behind the trees waiting for us as we get a shove to the west and will not be landing on this side of the river today. I tried but the east breeze got me and it will be a West Salem landing today. We were in this area just a few days ago and I have plenty of friendly farmers over here so the LZ is not a problem today, even with Cecil not being able to “pave” the way. I have a choice of several huge fields and pick the cleaned wheat field as the shot. There is a BPA massive feeder line cutting the two fields but not a problem as I have good steerage wind up top. We clear the lines and I set the shot for a no bump landing, just float it in. I keep it standing so Cecil can get an eye on us and our hostess, Irene Schlabach the land owner comes out to say hello. We get the balloon deflated and ready for the pack, the passengers do the sit and we are on our way back to the airport for the picnic.
I get the story started, the toast is done and the certificates are presented. Time to sit down and get conversant about the morning activities, I think that Mike had a really good “first flight” with many more to come.

John: “What a great experience and a wonderful birthday surprise!”
Deb: “…and me TOO!! So much fun, more, more, MORE!”
Mike: “Great flight, great Pilot, but then I’m totally biased!”

A BIG thank you to today’s Crew (I can’t get in the air or back on the ground without’um)
Cecil & Mike

Average Speed: 4.0 MPH
Distance Flown: 7.2 Miles

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