It is just after sunrise, the air is still, the morning dew lingers on the grass. A few of us are busy unloading -first a wicker basket and a burner, then a fan, and a large canvas bag. We open the bag and attach the cables to the corners of the burner frame on the basket. As we walk away, pulling the bag we unveil the bright colors of the envelope stretching out behind us.
The fan is started and air slowly lifts open the envelope and the balloon begins to come to life. Once the balloon is fully inflated with cold air, the pilot turns on the burner and begins to heat the cold air. This kaleidoscope of color lifts itself off the ground until it is standing upright in all its grandeur.
The pilot motions for his two lucky passengers to join him in the gondola and the adventure begins. As they gently lift-off, we look up and view their ascent from below.
The passenger’s view from above is breathtaking and even more intriguing is that their destination is unknown. A little over an hour later, the balloon touches down “featherlight” in an open field. The pilot opens the parachute valve and the balloon slowly starts to deflate. What a great way to start a day!
There are many sides to ballooning. Some balloonists fly to share their love for the sport with family and friends; or to compete against fellow aeronauts in navigational tasks at balloon events; or to take paying-passengers for rides; or to travel throughout the country as part of an advertising program to promote a company and/or product either with a conventional balloon or special shape.
Hot air ballooning began more than two centuries ago, but has actually been a sport for less than fifty years. Developments in fabrics, burners and fuel systems have made lighter-than-air flight a reality for everyone who wants to experience drifting with the winds.
The Lindstrand name has been synonymous with pioneering many of the technical innovations which advanced the modern hot air balloon into the superior system it is today. In July 1994, Phil Thompson started Lindstrand Balloons in the U.S. Having been in balloon manufacturing since 1983, he saw this as the opportunity to bring the most technologically advanced system to the United States.