It was our second try at getting on the hot air balloon: the first booked flight for October 10th was cancelled due to bad weather. November 4th, our rescheduled flight day, turned out to be the coldest of the week. Inflating the balloon turned out a little longer than expected, due to the shifty cold winds, but the wait was worth it.
The balloon goes where the wind blows, which makes the landing, or crash-landing -- according to the FAA, any landing without the use of propeller is a crash-landing -- my favourite part. We landed in the tight spot of an unsuspecting someone's front yard. Surprise, strangers!
It was amusing to watch cars stop in their tracks, hit the hazard lights, dogs barking maniacally, screaming children and people coming out of their houses. Most of them had a handheld device. I had imagined that Pottstown folks would have been used to hot air balloons all year round.
"This is better than dinner," said a resident of Douglassville who assisted in deflating the balloon. (This man had also helped lift me out of the basket.)
The pilot and flight crew staff were not kidding when they said that a landing like that deserved some champagne to celebrate. And surprise, passengers, you get to keep those champagne glasses!
What a memorable evening.
Here's the video of the entire event, filmed by The Hubs using a tiny handheld camera, all summed up in a concise 11 minutes:
5300 feet altitude;
18 mph maximum wind speed;
54 minutes of flight; and
distance of less than 4 miles travelled.
P.P.S. We were in such great hands of the US Hot Air Balloon team. Now I want to have hot air balloon rides in as many places as possible.