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The Magic of Hot Air Ballooning



While any outdoor activity can stir the poet in us, ballooning is the premier stimulant, not merely because it sweeps us off the ground, but because it pulls on all our senses. A touch of wind against the face. The thrill of inhabiting a globular sail snatched by invisible currents and pulled toward an unknown destination.

Picture a flight of balloons crossing a southwestern landscape. The multi-colored envelopes hold no steady pattern but rearrange themselves like a living kaleidoscope. They float against a backdrop of blue sky, a distant purple haze and the brown of ancient mountains slowly crumbling into the quiet desert floor.


With a mere hint of technology, the balloons sweep passengers above the mountains to reveal plateaus once nurtured by the Anasazi and across deserts once conquered by "desert rats" who encouraged reluctant mules on a quest for gold and new land.

At evening's rest, the balloons assemble in a circle and glow against the blackness like the shields of a knightly court gathered by decree of the wind-a court waiting for you to add your sonnet of praise to the growing list of tributes for a sport that blends science and pageantry.

For more information, contact the Balloon Federation of America, a non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to the safety, enjoyment and advancement of the sport of ballooning and the promotion of friendship among balloonists worldwide. Membership is open to anyone interested in the sport.

Members receive Skylines, a monthly newsletter that covers technical developments, changes in FAA regulations, listings of competitive events, classified advertisements, minutes of association board meetings, committee reports and interesting feature stories. They also receive Ballooning, a full-color, quarterly magazine, that among other things, illustrates the beauty of the sport of ballooning through color photography.

The association promotes continuing education by allowing members to use at minimal cost film, video and reference materials from its library as well as through sanctioned, local and national, safety seminars.

For more information, contact Balloon Federation of America:
P.O. Box 400
Indianola, IA 50125
(515)961-8809.

Excerpted from Woodall's Plan-It·Pack-It·Go...