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Balloon Flying Service of Oregon     |     PO Box 3305  Salem OR 97302     |     (503) 363-9799
April 29, 2012
Passengers: Gary & Lisa Devlin, Marie & Dan Hoots

I call for out launch site out north (again) as this party was on the books for a flight just a week ago but Mother Nature was “fussy” and fogged us out. The pi-ball tells the story and I move us to Whittaker Middle School parking lot for the launch site. It is Molly’s Birthday so we bring her a “present” a quickie banner greeting out of the fabric from the now scrapped balloon “Highlight” which she crewed on for us in the early 90’s. The sun is up and the sky is clearing so we get to work on “Starship” for today’s flight. Molly and the boys along with Cecil get the top in. Time to add the cold air and get the balloon “pumped up” and ready for the passengers. After the “briefing” we are off the lot with a bit of a hook to the north? Not the way I want but as I get some altitude we get the north push and head to the south as planned. I have had thousands of passengers over the last 23 years of sharing this experience but have not seen such “dedication” to overcoming their “fear of flying” than Lisa. No doubt about it, it is going to take more than the “normal” few minutes to get her to the “relaxed” phase of the flight. We head down Cherry Ave toward the State Deaf & Blind School, which is a great LZ (landing zone) for us but not on Sunday as the gates are locked. We have moved toward the Parkway and toward the NEW Capitol Toyota/chev complex that is right on the lake and still under construction. The “gang” is staged close by but we have missed 3 LZ’s so far and they will be on the move again. We have crossed over the hour mark so I would like to get a “spot to park” soon. I take a shot at a school and get shoved off to the west so we will continue toward the Capitol Mall area. We have one more LZ that may work and that is next to the Catholic Church and MS Distribution with a BIG parking lot. As has been the rule this morning, Mother Nature is not helpful and we miss this LZ too. We are now heading into the Capitol Mall area and today is not the day to “play” here as all the parking lots are full and over half the Mall Park is full of tents. I’m thinking of using the patio area of the state Lands Building as it has street access and would be easy to get to the gear. I call for the gang to stage in that area and I move us over the trees by the creek for the shot. It is really tight and we will have to do some fancy work to make it in but is doable in these light winds. After the “gang” gets the drop line all we have to do is let the balloon POST around over the building and then fly down the rope for the catch. The deflate and pack up is a bit different than normal and we have picked up a LOT of “lookie loos” along the way. We get the balloon back in the bag and load up for the drive back to Keizer for the picnic.
I get the story started, the toast is done and the certificates are presented.

Marie & Dan: “We really had a great adventure today. Thanks to the pilot & crew for a safe and enjoyable trip.”
Lisa & Gary: “As first timers we had a fabulous time. I was scared to death, but the fabulous pilot and crew got us back on land safe & sound. We will be back again!”

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

Average Speed: 3.0 MPH
Distance Flown: 4.9 Miles

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