Jump to content

Ballooning And Caching


Ballooner
Followers 2

Recommended Posts

I have been a balloon pilot since 1990 and have used a GPSr while flying since 1998 or so. I still use my original Garmin GPS 12. It is tough enough to survive many "sporting" landings and even survived immersion in the Rio Grande in the bottom of the basket during a splash-n-dash.

 

I discovered Geocaching in March 04 when I accidentally found a cache while hiking. The two sports really go well together. We travel to many out-of-town balloon rallies and go caching during the non-flying, non-partying times.

 

I have been contacted by the editor of "Balloon Life" magazine to do an article about geocaching and ballooning. I am looking to see how many geocachers are also balloonists including (pilots, crew, observers, event volunteers, or other interested parties) are out there. I would like to get your stories about how and where you have combined the two activities for the article.

 

Include a pic of your balloon in the post if possible. Fair winds, Soft landings, and Happy hunting.

Edited by Ballooner
Link to comment

In 1983 (I think) I was named the national rookie of the year after nearly winning the US nationals in Indianaola, Iowa; I ended up 7th in the competition, and was invited to join the US team for world competition in France during the bicentennial of manned flight. With a commercial, lighter than air with airborn heater, liscense, I accumulated around 500 hours of flight before I decided it was too expensive.

 

My balloon, named Daydream, was a small Barnes (three person). I will try to dig up a photo and I would be happy to cooperate with your project.

 

I was as obsessive about ballooning as I am about geocaching. :o:D

Link to comment

Wow, it's good to know Balloon Life is still around.

 

Back in '95 or so at Fiesta I was bragging about my new GPS to 30 or so pilots and it showed me going 483mph. It was a disaster. I told Magellan somebody could get hurt standing still that fast. :o They finally refunded my money for that fine piece of equipment but I think it set back using GPSs with balloons for years, there were some big name pilots watching and nobody was impressed.

 

Once I borrowed an Okie lawyer's balloon then sent him a track of my 21mph launch and 0mph landing. WooHoo, those were the days! I got some great tracks of balloon flights not to mention flying to the target during Key Grab. Never understood why more pilots didn't use them...

 

Now I don't fly much and GPS is everyday stuff. I'd relegated the GPS to a drawer for years, giving up on preaching the benefits years ago. I checked out Geocaching back in '01 or so after Clinton took SA off but there wasn't a single cache in NM and I didn't have the imagination to place one myself.

 

'Bout the same time as you I took it up as a way to get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. I couldn't believe all the caches there were and now it's a great hobby. Makes me think, makes me exercise and gives me a reason to get out of the house.

 

We're probably going to do some caches in Gallup come December in conjunction with the rally. Bet we'll see you there, huh?

B

Link to comment
I don't see how you could use a balloon to cache with, but then again I don't know much about balloons.

 

Except for this adventure Caching from a balloon we don't actually use the balloon to find caches. At out-of-town rallies, we usually leave the balloon packed up at the motel and go caching in a normal land based vehicle. :D

The Roping The Wind hot air balloon Adventure Flight Team went out early Sunday morning, December 28th 2003 and wrapped up the year by breaking a couple of my personal records: distance and duration! We lifted off at 8:15am from the community of San Tan (Queen Creek), SE of Phoenix, for a flight of 3.3 hours and 91 miles.

My own personal distance record is about 45 miles in just over an hour (you compute the speed) over Battle Creek, MI.

 

My good ballooning buddy and trainer flew solo from the north side of Indianapolis to just SW of Cleveland in about eight hours. He was flying a 290,000 cu. ft. Barnes with many extra fuel tanks; he dropped his empty fuel tanks as needed. I drove one of the three chase trucks to support that effort.

 

As far as caching from a balloon, obviously it is not practical. For those non-ballooners, it is possible (within limitations) to steer a balloon very precisely; that is the basis for most competitions. The best idea is to leave the balloon parked at the motel. :oB)

Link to comment

I'm not a balloonist but a balloon enthusiast and make the Adirondack Balloon Fest every year in Glens Falls, NY, at the Warren County airport. After attending this years early Saturday morning lift off we did several caches in the area. There are quite a few caches in the Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Lake George area and many are in very scenic spots. Check them out and be sure to attend next years Balloon Fest.

Link to comment
QUOTE=Airmapper,Oct 15 2005, 10:21 AM]I don't see how you could use a balloon to cache with, but then again I don't know much about balloons.

 

Except for this adventure Caching from a balloon we don't actually use the balloon to find caches. At out-of-town rallies, we usually leave the balloon packed up at the motel and go caching in a normal land based vehicle. B)

That is AWSOME!! I didn't know it was up on a cliff. Beats the heck out of rock climbing.

 

I did figure you would go caching while at an area, not in the balloon. I was just curious how they used a balloon to find a cache, now I know. :o

 

Did I mention that was cool? :D

Link to comment
There are quite a few caches in the Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Lake George area and many are in very scenic spots. Check them out and be sure to attend next years Balloon Fest.

NY is quite a drive from Albuquerque to attend a balloon rally. I tend to stay around the SW states unless someone wants to sponsor me and pay the expenses. I hear it is a great area to fly.

Link to comment

Howdy all,

 

I think this is the first time I have ever posted on the geocaching.com forums. I usually stay within Arizona with geocaching and just keep up with the geo-scene there. But a fellow cacher showed me this thread... and well I just gotta post! :lol:

 

I see my little geocaching/balloon thing has been in the forums a few times before! ;)

 

Yes it is possible to actually geocache by balloon. I have done it! ;) Balooner, I would love to be a part of your 'Balloon Life' article too!

 

I have been a hot air balloon pilot for about 13 years now and have about 1100 hours of flight time. Today I fly balloons commercially for a living. I have my own ride company and also fly for other companies from time to time. In addition to flying commercially, I love adventure flying. We enjoy getting out and doing flights over mountains and over some of the small towns around Arizona. I have also done a few long jump flights here in the state.... the longest being just under 100 miles (I hope to try and break that one this winter again!). I used to fly competitively, but havent been active in that aspect of ballooning in a couple of years (although do plan to do more of it again sometime).

 

I started geocaching back in January of 2002, when we found our first geocache. I was checking out the Garmin.com website and saw a link about geocaching and clicked over to gc.com and within an hour or so... I was out the door with my GPS! Today, I have found about 1850 caches and still am very active in the game. I enjoy getting outdoors and hiking and such. Hiking and wilderness caches are my favorite types of caches.

 

I use GPS daily in ballooning, outdoors (hiking and such) and just driving around town. I have been using GPS since I first started ballooning. Mapping GPS's are almost a necessity in competition ballooning and adventure flying.

 

With all that, it was natural for me to want to try and combine hot air ballooning and geocaching. The way I had envisioned doing it was to try and fly the balloon to a geocache and land as close as possible to the cache, hopefully close enough to reach out and grab the container. If not, a crew member on board the balloon could walk over to get it and bring it back to the basket to sign the logbook. But that didnt seem proper. So the thought of doing this went on a long time and I never actually did it. But last December, I found the perfect cache that would truly allow us to get a geocache by balloon... in fact, it required the balloon. The cache is called 'Shiver me Timbers' (GCHPF8) and is located on top of a tall rock pinnacle. The area the cache is in is very rugged and you can only hike to this particular rock pinnacle. There are numerous rock structures in the area and it is a popular rock climbing area. This general area is on a somewhat steep sloping mountainside near a copper mining operation (not currently active). To get to the cache site, you have a short hike from a narrow paved road (that leads to the mines) along a hiking path and then up a slick rock wash. Perhaps just under a half mile (straight line it was 0.30 mile from truck to cache). About 500' or so from the cache site, you have to do some boulder hopping and work your way thru some thick manzanita bush patches. Once at the location, you have to rock climb (with ropes and such) up there to get the cache. This is where the balloon comes in! :blink:

 

So I called up a fellow cacher (AJ.JR) and asked if he would be interested and we took a drive up there one day to scope it out. Something else interesting about this cache is that it was still up for a first find, even after having been posted for over 10 months or so. So that was more fuel to want to get this cache soon. We scoped it out and I figured it could be done. Two weeks later, I rounded up 5 crew members (3 of which are active geocachers) and together we drove up early one morning to go for the cache. We inflated the balloon on the narrow paved road and then I hopped in and stood the balloon up and each of my crew guys grabbed a handle and began walking the balloon to the cache site! Meanwhile, I enjoyed the low level ride! :lol: We had to manuever the balloon over some tall trees here and there, otherwise it was a rather easy process. A bit tricky in the boulder hopping area, but the wind was very calm and made walking the balloon rather easy (easy for me to say!). Once there, we began setting up 125' tether ropes and trying to find some good ground objects to tie them off to. We ended up using only one solid anchor (a small pine tree in some rocks) and then the crew all held the other line (this would also serve as a manuevering line). Only two lines and only one was tied off, but we made it work. Then, I took the balloon up solo to set the ropes to my liking and to the altitude of the top of the rock. Once set, I came back down and AJ.JR hopped in and we ascended to the top of the rock. It took a few minutes to get the basket up against the rock and then being able to reach out and grab the cache... which we still had to find. It was a small altoid tin hidden in a crevice on the top side of the capstone of this rock pinnacle. There was a small niche in the rock that I was able to allow the corner of my triangular shaped basket (Balloon Works 65) to wedge into and I could then allow the balloon to cool a tad bit to be heavy enough to 'sit' in that niche. There is also a chain used by the climbers that AJ.JR held onto to keep the basket tight to the rock. Then he used his hiking stick to move some small rocks to expose the cache. He couldnt reach it though. So, he ended up holding on to the buckle loops in my jeans and I reached out to try and grab the cache.... all the while maintaining altitude control of the balloon. I reached a bit farther than I felt comfortable doing but was able to get two fingers on the cache to bring it back into the basket. We both signed the logbook (me getting the official first find!) and then returned it to the proper hiding spot. I then descended back to the ground and took another lift for Flatiron and Rugerdog to both get the opportunity to claim a find on this cache.

 

The whole process took about a 1.5 hours or so. We started at pre dawn light inflating the balloon and walking it in there. I wanted to get done early enough so as to get the balloon back to the truck before the wind picked up. If the wind picks up, the balloon acts as a large sail and it is virtually impossible to walk it.. particularly in this area and terrain. It would have to be deflated and the equiptment walked out (over 600 lbs worth). Fortunately, winds remained calm and we were able to walk the balloon back to the road and the truck. The whole deal was well orchestrated and went very smooth.

 

Not only did we get the first find on the cache, but very likely the first geocache found and retrieved with a hot air balloon.

 

Another fellow cacher, Taylor's Tomb Raiders, had been watching this cache for quite some time as he is a rock climber. But he didnt have gear. So he had to wait for some friends from California to come over with gear to make the climb. They did it like a week or two later and found we beat them to it! :blink:

 

I would love to try this again sometime but havent found a cache that would require a balloon yet. I am always up for a challening, especially a balloon related challenge.

 

Anyways, it was alot of fun and still kinda cool to look back on. It was a very rewarding experience... not only because we found the cache, but also because we were able to plan this out and then actually execute it successfully with the balloon... a bit of a challenge in itself.

 

Well that's my $2 worth. It is great to see that there are a few other balloonists out there that are geocachers as well!

 

Scott

Team Ropingthewind

Link to comment
Just wow! :blink:;)

Add another just wow! That sounds awesome and unique!

 

On another note, there was a caching event this year at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta though I doubt any ballooers could have attended. I don't think anyone thought of balloonists can be cachers too! I think maybe next year (though I can't afford to be there but I do know the guy that held it) instead of a breakfast event, it becomes a lunch event.

 

Terri

Link to comment
I see my little geocaching/balloon thing has been in the forums a few times before!  ;)

 

Yes it is possible to actually geocache by balloon. I have done it! :blink: Balooner, I would love to be a part of your 'Balloon Life' article too!

Hi Scott, were your ears burning? When I thought of this topic I searched the forums for "balloon" and found a link to your adventure. It had not occured to me to actually retrieve a cache from a balloon but now that I think about it .......????

 

Your's is an amazing story. If you didn't have the pics and witnesses, I don't think many would believe it. I will definitely include your story in the article with your permission. This might even be a good follow-up article of its own. I will email you through your profile page.

 

I have just under 1000 hours of pilot time. (My crew is counting every minute for the milestone to be reached so they can "christen" me.) I have to work a 'real job' for a living but do some commercial rides and training on the side.

 

Av8nDv8 was one of my instructors way back when and this has piqued our interest. We are on the look-out for a suitable cache around NM to try this system. Stay tuned! :blink:

 

Don Boyer

Belen, NM

Link to comment
On another note, there was a caching event this year at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta though I doubt any ballooers could have attended.  I don't think anyone thought of balloonists can be cachers too!  I think maybe next year (though I can't afford to be there but I do know the guy that held it) instead of a breakfast event, it becomes a lunch event.

 

Terri

I would have liked to have attended that event but as you said, all the balloonists in the area had another priority that morning. A lunch event next year would be better. Maybe we can hold one at the Fiesta field. There is a parking and entry fee but we might be able to figure out how to get most in with our various participant passes. ;)

 

Don Boyer

Link to comment
On another note, there was a caching event this year at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta though I doubt any ballooers could have attended.  I don't think anyone thought of balloonists can be cachers too!  I think maybe next year (though I can't afford to be there but I do know the guy that held it) instead of a breakfast event, it becomes a lunch event.

 

Terri

I would have liked to have attended that event but as you said, all the balloonists in the area had another priority that morning. A lunch event next year would be better. Maybe we can hold one at the Fiesta field. There is a parking and entry fee but we might be able to figure out how to get most in with our various participant passes. ;)

 

Don Boyer

That would be fun!

Link to comment

Hey, a thread on ballooning in the geocaching forum!!!

 

Who would have ever thought it?

 

Hi to all on this thread.

 

I was sent this link by a local cacher who knew I fly balloons when I’m not scouring the landscape for caches. It’s great to see that I’m not the only one out there with both hobbies.

 

I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada and I fly a Cameron O-77 with a Garmin eTrex Vista attached to the upright. I’ve had my pilot’s license since Dec 2002. I fly the Calgary Balloon Clubs balloon for recreational fun. I have about 80hrs under my belt but I’ve been involved in the sport since 1987.

 

I don’t know of any other balloon pilots who also geocache on a regular basis. I put on a small cache event a few years back at one of our balloon events in Drumheller, Alberta. A few other pilots/crew participated but none have taken up the sport. Some of the pilots around here fly with GPSr’s onboard. I never fly without it. I think I have a track log from every one of my flights.

 

Like ropingthewind I’ve been trying my hand at some long distance and duration flights. I hold the Canadian record for duration (8hrs, 10min) and distance (278km – 172miles) in the AX-7 category. My distance flight was cut considerably short due to poor planning and a Canadian military base with an active artillery range. Other Canadian pilots have flown further than me but they’ve never gone though the process of documenting their flight. I don’t think anyone has flown longer than 8hrs in an AX-7 though. I’m thinking of attempting the distance again this winter.

 

We have a great area up here for record type flights. Steve Griffin (also a cacher), David Hempleman-Adams and Bill Arras are a few of the pilots that have attempted/completed record flights up here.

 

I started caching in March of 2002 as practice for using the GPSr while flying the balloon. I’ve flown over a few caches during my balloon flights but I’ve never bothered to try and find the cache. I’d feel bad punting a passenger out the basket to snag a cache for me. I have a few cachers that come out and crew for me from time to time.

 

Great to hear that there’s some caching going on at the Albuquerque Fiesta. Who knows I may get back down there some day? Caching is a great way to spend your ballooning down time.

 

For info on what goes on up here have a look at Calgary Balloon Club. I’m a co-webmaster for this site. Nothing special but it gets our club on the internet. The website has some info on the record flights and some pictures from our club events.

I also run a Canadian Ballooning Forum. Check it out!

 

Here’s the balloon I fly…

 

our_balloon_cgatg_4.jpg

 

Steve aka balloonatic

Link to comment

Hi Balloonatic. I guess that I knew you were out there somewhere. I wanted to use the name Balloonatic when I signed on with GC but it had been taken :D . There is also a couple in the NW US who use the name Balloonatics but they have been inactive for a long time :D .

 

Welcome to the discussion. If you would like to add an international flair to my proposed Balloon Life article, please tell us about geocaching in Canada. Do you do it any balloon rallies or what about caching when you are a## deep in snow in the winter? We can cache and fly down here in New Mexico all year round. We only get a couple of inches of snow and its gone the next day. :D

Link to comment

I've always wanted to try a cloud hopper. (Single person baloon) :ph34r:

 

Anyone done that? :ph34r:

 

I first heard of them in the movie Green Ice, but recently some travel show with a really annoying nearly anorexic Englishman did a segment on cloud hopping in Fiji or sumthin'. It looks like a real hoot and might even have geocaching aptitude. I dunno.

Link to comment

I've never had the pleasure of flying one, but I did help launch one at the world championships. For a crowd pleasing demonstration, my friend flew his hopper (an early model with no basket; he sat on the propane tank) to the top of a traditional balloon which was already in flight. Then, standing on top of the big balloon, with his mini-balloon inflated over him, they flew across the field and tarmac at the Battle Creek, MI airport.

 

I have also helped launch a traditional style helium balloon for the Gordon Bennett races.

 

And, I have helped launch an old fashioned, one man smoke balloon. The pilot was attached by a harness and wore a parachute for his escape to the ground when the heat wore out.

 

If geocaching would have been around in those days, I would have been dangerous. :ph34r::ph34r:

Link to comment

One of my most interesting ballooning experiences was in Kenya in 1997. I was part of a tour in the Serengeti. One option on the tour was a sunrise balloon flight. I met the pilot the night before and after trading ballooning war stories, he graciously offered me the optional flight for free.

 

Having spent many hours in a balloon by that time, I opted to participate in the ground crew/chase activities instead of flying. I figured the experience of chasing a balloon, on the ground, with a crew that spoke no English would be a real hoot. It was (while chasing the balloon, we observed lions, gazelles, wildebeests and hippos), and after grounding the three huge balloons, the crew fixed us an elegant champagne English style breakfast on clothed tables in the middle of the Serengeti. They fried the bacon and eggs on a makeshift stove, fueled by two of the propane burners.

 

At breakfast I had the honor of sitting with the head pilot and another interesting gentleman. That other interesting gentleman, a member of the tour, was the person who first introduced me to a thing called a GPSr. I received my first GPSr for Christmas that same year. :ph34r::ph34r:

Link to comment
I've always wanted to try a cloud hopper. (Single person baloon) :lol:

 

Anyone done that? :ph34r:

I flew a cloudhopper in Albuquerque several years ago. It had a parachute harness with a 10 gal. propane tank strapped to my back. There was also a small plastic seat that barely fit my fat butt. The rig was very uncomfortable. I had over 600 hours in basketed balloons prior to this flight but the view straight down through my legs was rather unnerving.

 

We had a perfect ballooning day with "box" winds. A box is a wind condition where you can fly one direction down low and then ascend a few hundred feet and get an opposite wind. Ride that past your starting point and then descend to catch the lower wind back to the launch site. (See this bug page for a better discription of The Box) That day the box kicked in at about 500' AGL (above ground level) and I did it twice in 20 minutes. :ph34r: The balloon owner then got rigged up and flew the box himself.

 

That was a real rush and I would love to do it again. Unfortunately that hopper moved away.

Link to comment

This hopper is sitting in a balloon shop here in Calgary. It's owned by Keith and Jeff Laurie. I've been invited to fly it when I can get a day off work and a good weather day.

 

I've never flown a hopper before but I've tried the harness on for fit. Looks a little spooky!...Can't wait!

 

Keith has two tanks rigged for the hopper so one pilot can fly the balloon then another pilot can fly a second flight.

 

Notice the Aussie registration...Jeff works in Austrailia and got the balloon as payment for some flying he was doing down under.

rainbow_cloud_hopper.jpg

 

Checkout Steve Griffins' hopper...it's silver mylar with an inner liner of clear mylar. This is the one he set the AX-2 world record in!

gb110204%20016.jpg

 

Here's David HA's AX-5, not quite a hopper but an amazing little balloon all the same. This ones sitting in the same shop as the first hopper. Think he would mind if I took it for a spin? This one got close to 30k feet last winter. I think he's coming back this winter to try the altitude, distance and duration records again.

enoughsenough_044.jpg

 

Steve

Edited by balloonatic
Link to comment
Here are a couple of shots of my old balloon, Daydream.

My CB/radio handle was basket case.  B)  B)

 

I trained a student who had one very similar to your's.....and about as old. It was amazingly still flying but porous as a lace curtain. TBW (Barns) does not require a porosity test for airworthiness. This was a 77,000 cuft balloon that would only fly 50 minutes on 30 gallons of fuel. She was almost constantly on the burner just to keep it flying. :lol: As a comparison, my 5 year old Aerostar 90,000 cuft with 250 hours still gets about 3 hours flying on 30 gallons.

Edited by Ballooner
Link to comment

This topic has got me to thinking; it’s about my two favorites things in the world (OK, I really have three, my other favorite thing is canoeing). The more I thought, the more I found similarities between ballooning and geocaching. When I think back about my ballooning experience, I remember feeling like I was part of a very special community, just like I feel now with geocaching.

 

Here are a few similarities between geocaching and ballooning:

 

Awareness Piloting or crewing a balloon requires disciplined attention to your surroundings just like successful geocaching.

 

Navigation This one is obvious.

 

Adventure Well, so is this one.

 

Mystery My favorite saying back in those days, “It doesn’t matter where you’re going as long as you’re on your way.”

 

Magical Balloon muggles are just like geomuggles; they ask lots of questions with big grins on their faces.

 

Community Geocaching and ballooning are both activities that involve family and friends and thus a real community (worldwide).

 

Game/Sport/Hobby/Competition? Yes.

 

Outdoor Activity It’s tough to argue this one. B)B)

Edited by sept1c_tank
Link to comment
I trained a student who had one very similar to your's.....and about as old. It was amazingly still flying but porous as a lace curtain. TBW (Barns) does not require a porosity test for airworthiness. This was a 77,000 cuft balloon that would only fly 50 minutes on 30 gallons of fuel. She was almost constantly on the burner just to keep it flying.  B)  As a comparison, my 5 year old Aerostar 90,000 cuft with 250 hours still gets about 3 hours flying on 30 gallons.

Yikes! I hope it wasn't mine (there were only a few of those made); I know where it's been! :lol:B)

Link to comment

I like sept1c_tank's post... geocaching and ballooning do have alot of similarities... with that, they do go together very well. As has been mentioned before on this thread... when at an out of town balloon rally, geocaching is a great way to pass the time.

 

Cloudhoppers: Never had an opportunity to free fly one, but did get to go up and down on a tether rope with one just this past year. This was a homebuilt and had a roll cage type seat with the tank under the seat. The setup is great and would allow for a breezy landing as your body is all within the roll cage. It was a nice setup. I would like to free fly it someday.

 

I see several have posted pictures of their balloons. I have 4 balloons, 2 which I actively fly. All 4 are Firefly/Balloon Works balloons. A 65k, two 77k's and a 90k. The balloon we used with the geocaching stunt was a 65k. Here is the picture of the 65 while JR (Team AJ.JR) was reaching out of the basket and holding on to the chain on top of the rock pinnacle. He is using a hiking stick to move some rocks to expose the cache container. But he then couldnt actually grab the cache. Moments later, I held onto this chain while AJ.JR held on to a buckle loop on my jeans and I reached out for the cache (all the while trying to maintain level flight with the burner!!).

 

Scott

Team Ropingthewind

 

(Photo courtesy Glenn Buckles)

 

oakflats7.jpg

Link to comment
Here is the picture of the 65 while JR (Team AJ.JR) was reaching out of the basket and holding on to the chain on top of the rock pinnacle. He is using a hiking stick to move some rocks to expose the cache container. But he then couldnt actually grab the cache. Moments later, I held onto this chain while AJ.JR held on to a buckle loop on my jeans and I reached out for the cache (all the while trying to maintain level flight with the burner!!).

I'm green with envy. B)

Link to comment
hey there balloonatic!

 

did you seen my log at the 5 star royal empress travel bug hotel from sep 4th?

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/log.aspx?LU...22-389661715072

 

I re-directed LORbit to this thread as well... we will see if he will post something

Sorry, no I didn't...

 

That wasn't me flying the striped balloon. I don't fly in the city. I like to take the balloon out in the flatlands east of Calgary. Usually Langdon.

 

The striped balloon was probably Keiths (Rainbow Balloons).

Link to comment

As far as the triangular basket goes... there is a reason it is perched on the side of the rock like it was...

 

Obviously, we could have reached the cache easier with the flat side of the basket up against the rock. But, there was a small niche in the rock that was perfect and just slightly deep enough (maybe a few inches or so) that I could 'rest' the corner of the basket on it and that allowed me to get the balloon slightly heavy and still have it stay at a constant altitude. That plus the one tether rope off the right side of the picture is being held by 4 crewmen on the ground. They are also working that rope as a manuevering line to get the basket up against the rock. From there, they just kinda wrapped the rope around the side of the rock to help hold me in place. Again, there was only one tether rope actually tied to something on the ground (and even that wasnt a great tie off!). That is the rope going off the left side of the picture. That rope went over a ridgeline (that runs off the rock) to a small pine tree in some rocks on the side of the slope. The tether ropes are run thru a metal ring in the restraint harness just above the basket. So I was able to adjust the ropes from the basket. Once at the desired altitude, I tied the ropes off where I wanted them. So we were quite snug against the rock. It wasnt gonna move much as long as the wind stayed calm. I just had to give it some heat to keep it level at that altitude. The corner of the basket in that niche helped to hold it a bit steadier. It was a bit precarious of a position to be in however... I kept thinking that if a breeze came along, what would have happened? I could picture the envelope deflated on the other side of the rock and the basket hanging there! ;):(

 

Scott

Team Ropingthewind

 

oakflats6.jpg

Link to comment
Real balloon baskets have four corners by the way... ;)

Heeeeeeer we go!

Excuse me? You probably cache with a Magellan, though! :drama::):(

Nope...I have and old beat-up eTrex Vista.

It's scratched, dented, has the right upper button torn off and the screen has a LCD horizontal line missing.

 

I don't have a problem strapping it onto the upright when I go flying!

In fact, I'm kinda hoping it falls to it's death so I have an excuse to get one of those niffty 60CS's.. :(

Edited by balloonatic
Link to comment

Hi Everyone,

 

I don't usually peruse the national forums, but this post caught my eye. I'd like to point out our own Northern Virginia cacher, GLM, who is a commercial balloon pilot. You can contact GLM through the geocaching website.

 

Great posts, and fantastic pictures. I've never been in a balloon, but I hope to change that someday.

 

Cache Well,

 

Airsafety

Link to comment

Ok, I have had enough prodding that I decided to pop in. I don't, and never have, owned a balloon myself. I have been very fortunate to be able to get my licenses by flying other people's balloons.

 

In 1981 I fixed a couple of radios for a friend of mine. He then said that they weren't his radios, but that the person that owned them would give me a balloon ride for fixing them. I accepted. Just like caching, that is all it took. Soon after that first balloon ride, I then became involved in chasing. I soon started trading chase time for pilot time.

 

In 1983 I earned my Private Balloon license. I had saved enough money from doing crewing at promotions, that I attended the 200th anniversary of ballooning in Albuquerque in 1983. What an experience for a new pilot. Here I was in the air with 600 other balloons!

 

Not too long after that, let's just say I thought my ballooning was comming to end as the pilot I was with, was having some troubles.

 

Once again I got lucky and met up with a guy who owned more than one balloon, but he was the only pilot in his company. You may even recognize his name as he has won several awards and has been featured in lots of verious articles in magazines. Kevin Peoppleman After he took me for a check out ride, we worked out a deal between us where as he would finish me up on my commercial license and I would then fly for him.

 

Wow, what a ride! Once I got my commercial license in 1985, I was using every hour of vacation leave to do ballooning.

 

I started out flying a Raven AX-6 with an Aluminum basket. Then flew a Raven AX-7 with the same basket. During my training to commercial, I was flying Raven and Aerostar AX-7, AX-8B, AX-8, AX-9, and Barnes AX-7 balloons. That alone is a feat that some long time pilots never get a chance to do. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to fly all of those different balloons without ever owning one!

 

From the time I started flying commercially, I have also flown an Eagle AX-7, and various other Balloon Works balloons. I have flown the NTW Balloon as hare balloon out of the Ohio State Fair as well as other events. I have flown the Coke Balloon, Remax Reality Balloons, and a few other commercial logoed ballons that I don't remember at the present moment. I have flown in the Pittsburgh Regata Balloon Race several years in a row. The first year I did that, I tied for 1st place, which I was very proud of. I came in second in the tie breaker of throwing beer cans at a trash can from 30 feet or so. The years following that I flew hare balloon in the Regata.

 

I have also trained 2 students to completion of earning thier commercial licenses. What a challenging and rewarding job that is!!!!

 

One added note here, you will get no answer from me as to whether baskets should be metal, triangles, squares, or rectangles! There is merit to all of them and I have enjoyed every one. All I'll say is, Don't knock it till you try it.

 

Now to keep this forum on track, in 1997 I had a bunch of gift certificates for my favorite store of REI. I used those gift certificates to buy a Garmin II+. I then used that to keep track of my flight path(after the fact). Since that early unit didn't have any mapping built in, I would have to download the track into a Delorme map program to see where I had flown. I didn't really start caching till after I stopped flying, so there really has been no mix of the two for me.

 

I'd have to check my log book for an exact year, but there came a time in my life that my parents health was failing and I found myself using my leave to take care of them as opposed to being able to fly, so I was only flying about once a year at a place where I got my start. The Flying Circus in Bealeton Virginia. I still attend that festival which is on the 3rd full weekend in August every year as I consider that a "Family reunion of balloonist" rather than any type of competition. It's just a very laid back type of event that is fun. I usually get a flight or two in to keep me current.

 

That pretty much sums up what I have done in ballooning. Even though I'm not activelly flying anymore, I still dream about all the flights that I have done. If the winds are calm and the sky clear, I look up and say to myself, "What a beautiful morning this would be to be in the air". I miss it very much. Lots and lots of memories of wonderful times.

 

Gary

Edited by GLM
Link to comment

V-I-cacher encuraged me to write something in to this thread.

 

I am a hot air balloon pilot since August 1988 and became a commercial balloonist in 1990. My first GPSr was a Garmin 45 XL – and I have it still in use! In late spring 2004 I noticed about geocaching the first time (lesure magazine in bavarian television). I choose „LORbit“ as my geocaching nick name because I like to be a bit in low orbit (definitely below the GPS satellite orbit). Since summer 2004 I frequently visit the fresh foundet event cache „Stammtisch“ (GCJAHB).

 

The most active geocachers here in my home area have fun by setting really tricky multi stared caches. But especially when I am abroad I prefer searching the drive in caches (which also costs me at least 30 minutes usually). Due to my job I come arround and enjoy logging geocaches on the way to or nearby my airwork area. But I also have allready fund geocaches physikly in three different continents on my holydays (e. g. Kenya in Africa and Kappadokia in Turey). Sometimes I take crewmen or friends whith me when I do geocaching. I also joyned other geocachers for some hunts. But the most time I exersize my hobby on my own. In the fast growing geocaching community here in northern Bavaria I am the only hot air balloon pilot as far as I know.

 

Off course I do ballooning in almost every of my vacations and I still prefer ballooning far more than geocaching. But when the weather is not good enough for ballooning I find some additional time for geocaching. Bad weather also spoils the outdoor activities for the most muggles. So I can do my stash hunts almost undisturbt!

 

I never tried to reach a geocache by balloon, but I know one that would be a nice task: GCAF4A http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...10-4ff18140f57f

 

When I found Travelbugs I try to take them with me by at least one balloon ride and take air born pictures from them for there TBs logs. I resume that all geocachers aprichiate those extra journeys of there Travelbugs. Off course I bring the Travelbugs back to geocaches after those hot air balloon rides. I never lost such a Travelbug!

 

And when the wind gently passes me by a recognizebal cache I like to make pictures for there geocaching web sites. Of course I do not release real spoiling pictures and so the cache owners are also pleased to see there cache locations from such rather unusual perspectives.

 

As I have no balloon by my own I do not know about transmitting a single picture. Of course I can e-mail you half a dozend pics from different balloons I have flown with in the last 12 months. Intrested? But I think you (Ballooner) will find suitable pictures for your article in my gallery http://www.geocaching.com/profile/Default....bf-602b6d2692db .

Link to comment

;)

Wow!

 

You've got some fantastic pictures in your Gallery on your Profile page!

I'm at work now so I don't have a lot of time to have a look but I'll view them later tonight.

 

I've often wondered how the camera works for the pictures of the basket while airborne. Obviously the camera is on a rope hanging from the top of the balloon but...

 

How is the camera kept pointed in the right direction?

How is the camera triggered? Remote?

Is the camera stowed for a fast landing?

What kind of camera are you using?

 

Steve

Link to comment
Intrested? But I think you (Ballooner) will find suitable pictures for your article in my gallery

Very nice pictures. It has been 33 years since my college German classes and all but a very words and phases are lost in my receding brain matter. I wish I could read more of your logs.

 

I am also interested about how you got the pictures of the basket while it is flying. Either they are from another balloon close by or you have suspended the camera on a rope and have some way to aim and operate it. So let us know how you do it.

Link to comment
...I am also interested about how you got the pictures of the basket while it is flying. Either they are from another balloon close by or you have suspended the camera on a rope and have some way to aim and operate it. So let us know how you do it.

It's definitely a camera attached somehow to the balloon. I'm going to guess that it is a wide angle lens, making it look as if it is farther than it is from the basket. It is probably hanging from the skirt on two tethers (for stability) and is within reach of the photographer. Since, as you know, the balloon provides a very stable platform for photography, the photographer probably simply sets a timer device, steadies the camera for a couple of seconds, then poof (!), you have a photo. Sometimes he may have to shoot several frames to make an acceptable shot. However he is doing it, his photos seem to be very consistant.

 

That's my guess.

 

I waant to know, too. :(:(

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 2
×
×
  • Create New...