The Eagle Eye
By Denise Mundy
There were 5 Balloonists out at Eagle Roost Airpark on Saturday, April 5th. The weather was perfect. The winds were calm, the sun was just coming up when the balloons inflated and launched. Over a dozen residents of Eagle Roost served as crew for the balloon pilots. This involved laying the balloon envelope out on the ground and using a large fan, inflating as much as possible until the pilot was able to use the burners to continue the inflation which allows them to stand the balloon and basket upright. Passengers were loaded and the flights began.
Chief Pilot, Scott Trieber who is from Casa Grande invited the pilots, organized the launching and flew his own balloon (the yellow one that said "Bullet" on all sides). The balloons took off around 7 am and flew about 30 to 45 minutes. Debbie Nelson also from Casa Grande, flew her own Balloon. It was a smaller multi-colored balloon with darker colors.
Chad Cassell of Phoenix, brought a larger balloon and basket that could take up to 4 passengers. He took Mike Hopkins, Jeanette Eisert, and Janet Riffle all of Eagle Roost. They ended up landing in front of the Lee and Carolyn Jones's hangar over at Valley of the Eagle Airpark. His balloon was the large patch work, lighter multi-colored balloon. After the ride the passengers enjoyed champagne and a story well told about the origins of ballooning.
Scott Nichols of Phoenix flew the red balloon that read Spirit all over it. Kathy and Dennis Huwe from Valley of the Eagles were part of his crew and they each got a ride in the balloon.
Rick Kauffman of Apple Valley, CA brought his new balloon, a pretty red, yellow and blue. He also was able to take on a passenger Nancy Rochester, also from Eagle Roost. They flew the highest and longest while Nancy took dozens of pictures.
We also had a power parachute pilot join the balloons.
Upon landing the crew helps to pull the balloon down with the aid of air escapes from open vents in the balloons. Then everyone helps gather up the balloon envelope and puts it back in its container.
Spectators, crew, and pilots all enjoyed breakfast at Lee and Carolyn Jones's hangar where they joined neighbors and other visiting pilots for the Jones’s ‘Spring Bling’ Breakfast.