They Took Flight: Hudson Hot Air Affair
By Kristy Johnson
The pink hues of dawn gave way to a frozen field of snow as we waited for the first balloonists began to appear. It was the 30th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair, in Hudson Wisconsin and the theme was “Pirates Fly’n the Croix-ribbean. Cute theme. They even had a pirate, though I was never able to catch him!
Let the Unloading BeginIt takes a lot to set up a balloon in the cold. The pilots could not do it very easily with out the ground crew. So, thank you to all who donated their time.
Let the Unloading Begin
It takes a lot to set up a balloon in the cold. The pilots could not do it very easily with out the ground crew. So, thank you to all who donated their time.
One by one the pilots began to arrive and set up their balloons. Organized chaos as baskets, fans and of course balloons were unloaded. There were ropes and people everywhere. This was my third time at the hot air affair and the only time I witnessed the balloons taking flight. The first time, I arrived late and was only able to see them from a distance and the weather was too bad for them to take off in the evening, but they put on quite of show for what is know as the field of fire. The second time I went, they couldn’t take off due to weather conditions, but as they say the third time was a charm.
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Once they started going up, they rose really quickly. I see balloons all the time going by in my neighborhood and they just peacefully go by. That is until the office staff hears them. Dogs really hate balloons. I asked one of the pilots about this. Apparently, my babies aren’t the only ones who do not like hot air balloons. He said they hear them all the time during flight. The pilot thought it had something to do with a high-pitched frequency that the burner makes. Maybe they are really excited about a giant ball in the sky and they are frustrated that they can’t catch it.
Up, Up and AwaySo many pretty balloons. One day I will take my own ride. When It's warmer that is.
So many pretty balloons. One day I will take my own ride. When It's warmer that is.
Barking dogs aren’t the only thing that a balloon pilot has to deal with. They do need to get a pilot’s license or airman’s certificate. According to the Hudson Hot Air Affair’s website, pilots will only take off if the wind speed is less than 6 mph, there is good visibility, sunshine or if there are clouds that they are at a high cloud ceiling. Hmmm…sounds like some of my drone specifications.
I was curious about balloons so I Googled them. In Google’s “People Ask” section Google told me that Hot Air Balloons travel with the wind and an hour flight can carry it approximately 15 miles. The balloon also flies at different altitudes. Although the balloon is at the mercy of the wind when it comes to direction, the vertical control of a balloon can be very precise. Most balloons can fly for about 1 hour depending on the outside temperature and the weight it is carrying. On a cold day with only the pilot flying, a 2-3-hour flight would be possible. Hot air Balloons can fly all year round with calm winds. There are plenty more tidbits about balloons and ballooning if you are interested, just use our favorite friend Google.
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The Hot Air Affair, is a three-day event, that includes geo catching, craft fair, fireworks, a 5K run/walk, museum tours, kite flying and so much more. It is usually the first weekend in February so plan your next years adventure to Hudson Wisconsin and check it out. Just remember to bring your warm gear and stop in at Keys Cafe. They had a great breakfast, and even had some gluten free toast for me.
Until Next time! Adventure on!!