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Balloon Flying Service of Oregon     |     PO Box 3305  Salem OR 97302     |     (503) 363-9799
August 31, 2014 Boise
Passengers: Joe O’Neill, Molly McClung & two sons, Brett, Lance

We got weathered out yesterday due to a low pressure (storm) moving into the area (had to turn on the wipers on for the 6AM drive to the park) and making upper winds unstable. The storm really hit the park hard later that evening (last night) with tents blown down and limbs scattered over the launch site. Scott Spencer and his army of volunteers managed to put everything back in order and at the pilot meeting we were told of a “once in a lifetime” chance to do a Mass Launch of 50 balloons.
Putting that many “gentle giants” in the air at the same time is tricky and requires pilots to be aware of what’s happening in a 360* environment, not only side to side but above (which you can’t see) and below. The balloons have been spread out more today and our location on the edge of the field becomes a bit “crowded”. We have a large balloon (carries 4 people here in Boise/ 5 in Salem OR) so we have always moved to the edge of the field. The “gang” gets the balloon out and ready to fly as I’m in the briefing tent getting all the details on the Great Launch. I will do a crew payout for Molly & her boys and Joe our Boise crewman to even out the load (best to fly with some weight in the basket) this morning. The drill is to get all the balloons up and ready to liftoff for the 7:30 mass lift. We get every one on board and wait for the command…then the most thrilling day in my 26years of ballooning takes place….liftoff with 50 other balloons. The plan is to hold the lift at 200 feet per minute for at least 3/5 minutes then catch whatever breeze you happen to find. As long as all pilots keep to the plan we will be fine and no bumping or banging, it works as planned and we are in a sea of beautiful color no matter where you look. Thank heavens I have Molly onboard as she is a “veteran” rally crewperson and has a huge camera that is clicking as my camera hangs around my neck because I have to FLY with all these aircraft in such close proximity. As we get to about 4/500 feet I find a breeze that will get me some
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