Unfortunately, weather conditions at White Sands prevented balloonists from launching their balloons on Saturday during the first day of the White Sands Balloon Invitational.
Launch time for Sunday, September 22, 2013 was 7:00 a.m. and the weather was perfect at the Alamogordo Balloon Park on LaVelle Road. Twenty-two years ago, Ed Brabson and the late Aubrey Dunn Sr. started this event on a bet.
"We put together a program for tourists called 'Sunbird.' We were discussing events to put on, then somebody bet Aubrey and me that we couldn't get clearance to fly hot air balloons in this air space," states Ed. "But we did. I didn't win anything but a lot of hard work every year, but it always puts a smile on my face."
Ed also said it takes coordination between the Holloman Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range, the Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ranchers, the city and the Federal Aviation Administration.
"It takes a lot of manpower and we have 15 or 16 volunteers on a committee that work year round," Ed further said.
|Smokey Bear is always on hand at these events and the kids love it|
|These ladies in stripes are the launch directors|
|Testing the flame output|
|Mona Johnson, pilot of Casa de Sunshine balloon being interviewed|
|First balloon to launch is Swiss Cheese|
|Unloading Casa de Sunshine from the trailer|
|Balloons in various levels of airing up|
|Holding the topline rope to control the balloon as it rises|
|Up up and away in their beautiful balloons.....|
|Mona and crew attaching the burner|
|Mona attaching the burner gas lines in the basket|
|An unusually shaped balloon sporting a cityscape|
|So colorful and exciting to watch|
|Carla walking around taking pictures|
|The Casa de Sunshine almost ready to come upright|
|Looking straight up into a balloon|
|Several colorful balloons ready to launch|
|There were at least 50 balloons taking part|
|The Casa de Sunshine ready to launch|
|The Casa de Sunshine flying high|
|The Snoopy airplane balloon|
|Smokey Bear Balloon|
|L to R: One of the launch directors, Ed Brabson, and Carla|
|A launch director giving the thumbs up for launch|
|Four balloons in various levels from start to finish|
|This lovely animal is Lily enjoying the festivities|
|The sun coming up over the Sacramento Mountains|
|This crew is letting the balloon out gradually from a cart|
Doug and I collaborated on the photography this time.
This is all I have to say for now.