Until Wednesday, October 5th, three mass ascensions had taken place during the Fiesta which will go on till October 9th, Sunday. Each mass launch had more than 550 beautiful balloons taking off in waves creating a delightful panorama as they glided at different heights and positions in the sky. During inflation and before launch time, there were spectacular sights on the field too.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta,(AIBF) 2016. All photos taken by The Balloon Journal on 5th Oct.2016
As balloons can fly safely only when winds are calm – up to 10 miles an hour—unfavorable weather grounded flights on Monday, so pilots were asked to inflate the balloons for static display on the field.
Wednesday ascension saw the official “Flight of Nations” with balloons from 20 countries carrying their flag emblem and rising to their national anthem.
The US women’s National Championships also kicked off Saturday. Pilots who are in the cross-country gas balloon race “America’s Challenge” could not take off on Wednesday due to problematic weather in the Midwest. They are scheduled to launch today.
When the festival kicked off Saturday, people had to wait for an hour in lines to board park and ride shuttles to the launch field.
To make it easy for the security and families, police are urging people to pack only what is needed. “Don’t bring the kitchen sink,” is what an official said. The other mantra is to “Tag your Tots,” so lost children can be immediately connected to their guardians.
On Sunday two balloons hit power lines. One balloon knocked out electricity in surrounding areas. No injuries have been reported.
Last year, the Fiesta drew in about one million visitors and $177 million.