Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Flight of the Sog 2

The whole balloon.
Originally uploaded by Wosog.

We flew for about an hour, floating over Perth and out into the countryside. It was amazingly quiet, the only noise being the intermittent blast of the burner heating the air to keep us from plummeting to the ground. Because the weather was hazy we only flew at 500-700 feet. I believe they usually fly at around 3,000 feet, but I'm sure Andre said they could go to 5,000 feet.

Andre is not the most talkative of people, but he's a pretty interesting guy, and, as you can see from this page on the Virgin website, he's a very experienced flyer----not just of balloons. I noticed that the balloon had a gps (global positioning system), and I said to Andre that it must come in handy when his team had to complete the task of finding the balloon after it landed. "Do you know what gps stands for?", he said. "No.", I said. "Go phone someone.", he replied".

As we drifted out into the country, he pointed to a stretch of land to our left. Not all farmers are delighted, it seems, when the ballonists land in their fields. "The woman that owns all the fields along there is mad.", he said. Apparently, after he landed in this woman's field earlier in the season her son stabbed the virtually new £80,000 balloon in several places as well as attacking his landrover with a baseball bat and threatening him and his crew with a gun!