How to drive a balloon

Do you have a driving license? Do you afraid of height? So maybe you are strong enough to fly with a wind driving an air balloon.

Parachutes in the sky

My first experience connected with air transportation was more than 10 years ago when parachute competitions were held?  on small airdrome. Tiny flight AN-2 took us to 2 km height and I could make some photos straight from the open door!  As safety belt we used simple rope connected me and some hook on the board of the flight. It was competitions on the accuracy of the landing,  so jumping people should reach the circle on earth hardly visible from that height. They jumped and disappeared into clouds. I received enough adrenalin even sitting near that door.

 Cappadocia balloons by Anna Korbut

Driven by the wind

Later flying in regular international Booing flights I enjoyed fairy tale figures made from clouds, "map" of the ground and new countries flying to me. But for sure you can't open the window on 10 km height and feel fresh air. Only sometimes eddying make you feel the atmosphere.

Flying in air balloon is something completely different: you not only feel the wind, you are moving by it. All decisions about direction and speed are not only in your hands but tightly coupled with different weather conditions. I didn’t take any course on the driving balloon but learned something during my first flight. There are some places in every country where you can observe balloons, but in Cappadocia, they have crowdy balloon party every morning. So let’s go there and see.

 Cappadocia balloons by Anna Korbut

Giant fireflies

Early in the morning, when it’s dark and cold, cars drive balloons to open fields, small buses gather people and take them to starting point too. You can never lift up balloon vertical at once, firstly all these huge textile balls are lying on the ground like a patch-work quilt. In front of them, huge fans are placed, they are blowing air inside. After some time it’s possible to start heating the air and process becomes more interesting. Enormous flows of fire with loud sound light and heat balloons. Now field looks like full of giant fireflies, flashing and shining with different colors. The heating from burners are pleasant, but smell and sound keep you far away from it.

 Cappadocia balloons by Anna Korbut

Rules

Sooner or later air inside balloon become warm enough to take it up and place vertical, now its time for people to get in and listen to short rules of safety. There is nothing special, mostly “don’t jump from the cabin and listen to the captain”. The only rule that disappoints people wishing to control process – you never can select clear direction, you can only try to control moving of balloon by getting in up and down and taking new winds.

 Cappadocia balloons by Anna Korbut

Wind forecast

On every height you have some new wind direction, they go with different speed also. Just before the flight people let off the small balloon to see how it will fly and make some forecast for the flight.

Under control

It's time to climb into the cabin and wait for going up. Fire is now pouring more often and intensive, fortunately, we are protected from it with strong metal bar. Our captain and "skipper" are young girls, they actively preparing engine and talking with control center by phone. You can't take off without permission. Finally, we  gasp that already flying,  rise was really smooth. Yeesss!

 

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