Every once in a while, something happens completely unexpectedly. Yesterday morning, we just happened to be nearby this balloon landing and wrap-up. It happened just outside Columbia.
Every balloon launch and landing has to have a Chase Crew: People who assist the pilot in launch, flight, chase, landing, deflation and pack up. The chase crew follows the flight on the ground in a Chase Vehicle, which is a vehicle used to carry balloon to launch site and to retrieve it at landing site.
The crew begins the deflation process.
Slowly, the air is being released and the canopy is pulled to the ground.
The crew and passengers pitches in the roll-up process. The balloon is rolled in a snake-like manner and coiled into the bag.
Everyone gets to let out aggression by jumping and squatting on the bag to nestle the balloon into a more compact cargo.
Pilot Cliff Logan (left) and his chase crew member ready the basket for loading into the trailer.
Cliff Logan, Jr. is the owner of AE Balloon Flights, LLC. Cliff is a licensed pilot; an FAA licensed pilot must have “at least 35 hours of flight time as a pilot, of which 20 hours must be in balloons, 6 under the supervision of an instructor, 2 solo flights, 2 flights of at least one duration, and one flight to 5000 feet above the take-off point.”
Cliff’s manned free balloons are powered by a burner apparatus fueled by LP gas carried in containers. Here’s a good article from How Stuff Works explaining the dynamics of hot air balloon flight.
“All flights depart mainly from Jim Mack’s Ice Cream located between Hallam and Wrightsville, PA.”
A Columbia native, Cliff is a Columbia High School graduate.