Posts Tagged ‘Shelburne VT’

Northeastern Pioneer Aeronauts Reunion

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Just back from a fantastic weekend, a reunion with around 100 folks who are the pioneer hot air balloon flyers from the late 60’s and 70’s who flew the early days of hot air ballooning in the Northeast. We had folks attending who were mainly still in the NE, but also who came from North & South Carolina, Colorado, California and Florida. It was a great opportunity to renew old friendships, share old tales, and just talk. If interested, you can check-out some of the bios and pics sent-in for the online Year Book. As a bonus, Dr Clayton Thomas was inducted into the Balloon Federation Hall of Fame at the Saturday afternoon event by Mick Murphy, representing the BFA.

In this photo is Ande Rooney from Port Ewen NY, Gil Foster from Stonington CT, myself, Chris Mooney from Woodbury CT, and Rick Pollock from Shelburne VT.

There have been a couple of books written on the “Pioneer Days” of ballooning by fellow Aeronauts — Tom Smith, “The Pioneer Days of Hot Air Ballooning”; Fred Williams, “Memoirs of an old Fat Balloonist”–I’ve got to quote you the Foreword by Brian Boland. “Fred is a BIG guy. When an individual who is bigger than life comes crashing into your world, it leaves a lasting impression. My encounter with Fred in the mid-70’s was one of those defining moments.

“It was at the 2nd Glens Falls balloon meet. …A buddy an I were flying along and began to notice that all the other balloons were landing. We climbed to take a good look and saw forest forever…saw a farmer below. I yelled down ‘What’s it like up ahead?’..’trees’. We dumped in for a last field landing,…”

“…we looked up to see a green and white balloon rapidly following our path. …’Ya gotta land HERE’…He may have already realized this as within moments the whole balloon changed shape…and he came in like a meteorite.”

“Then there was a huge rebound and what seemed to be a well-deflated balloon yanked the burner and then the basket walls and finally the basket floor for one last 20-foot balloon hop. Somehow, somewhere, the intrepid balloon driver managed to turn off the burner(but only after burning away a lot of said balloon).”

“We ran over, and there amidst the separated basket walls, floor, and heavy steel tanks was the largest balloon man I’d ever seen. It turned out there was another guy under him that I couldn’t even see! That’s my first real memory of meeting Fred Williams.”

And then, Fred just goes on with stories like this thru a prolonged hot air ballooning career in the book. We ended up naming a “Shit Happens” award at the Adirondack Balloon Festival after Fred’s caper on that memorable flight detailed by Brian.

Here’s an old pic of me from 1979 on the set (this scene never made the cut) of Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories”. A generator that ran the lights, took up most of the room in the basket – no such thing as miniaturization back in the 70’s. Actually did a couple of flights with a running generator and only room for 1 – 10 gal tank of fuel. The flights were interesting, since it was North Shore Long Island, very near the LI Sound @ Planting Fields Arboretum. Those tales are for another time.


Hot Air Balloon Ride Flying Weather and Recent Flights

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

How about that Memorial Holiday Weekend weather! For what was forecast to be a rather wet and stormy weekend, it ended up pretty nice for everyone. Unfortunately, we got snookered on doing some flights for folks with the lousy weather forecast, but, we had an unexpected beautiful day on Monday to visit and have lunch with friends, Rick and Roseann from Shelburne VT, and our son Eric, up at the Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury VT.

Tani and Rick in front of the Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury from a previous visit.


The gang enjoying good times at the Two Brothers Tavern, Tani and Roseann, Rick and Eric.


View of the bar area, me, Rick and Tani.

Now for the hot air balloon ride portion of our Memorial Holiday weekend post. The Saturday morning flight got canceled because the cold front that was supposed to pass overnight, hadn’t, and appeared to be on our doorstep during the morning flight-time. So, we delayed flying our morning pacs that came all the way from Dublin, OH to fly with us, to the afternoon flight.

Teresa and Brian from Dublin OH on the afternoon hot air balloon ride over beautiful rural Washington County.

On Sunday morning, which originally was forecast to be a wet and stormy day, we again had beautiful flying conditions to fly a nice couple that came up from the Bronx to go on a hot air balloon ride with us.

Ray and Meena on the Sunday morning balloon ride.

And now, the hot air balloon ride flying weather forecast for the coming week. So far, we haven’t received a drop of rain, even tho NWS had forecast it to be wet and stormy for most of the weekend and into the mid part of the week. There has been some rather big storms passing just to our north this morning, along a warm front that appears to be just north of Lake George. A cold front is forecast to pass thru our area this afternoon with a bang, then we get some clearing late on Wednesday, with probably windy weather on Thursday, flyable conditions on Friday, and for now, wet conditions overnight on Friday into Saturday, and possibly early Sunday. We’ll see how it all plays-out as the week goes along. As we found out this past weekend, a forecast is just a forecast, and you never know for sure until the day of…

For those that like to try to plan and keep track of the weather trends, the CPC (Climate Prediction Center) is forecasting rather wet and cool conditions for the northeast for the 1st 14 days of June. Just click the hot link above and move your mouse pointer over stuff and you’ll see their current advance forecasts.