A Hot Air Balloon Ride

September 19, 1992

As a gift, Bill gave me a two person certificate for a hot air balloon flight. It was a gift for an exciting adventure with only one downside: Bill and I had to be at the launch site before dawn. The best thermals for ballooning are at dawn and at sunset. Coincidently, the launch site was an open field in Plainfield, directly behind the nursing home where my father was living.

Inflating the Balloon

A hot air balloon is a big bag filled with hot air and attached to a passenger basket. Since hot air is lighter than the surrounding air, the balloon and its basket are buoyant. To go higher, the pilot heats the air in the balloon. To go lower, the pilot allows to air to cool.

balloon Bill helped hold the balloon as it started to inflate.
balloon As the pilot heated the air, the balloon inflated more and more.
balloon Yes, that is an open flame.

Over Plainfield

By the time we became airborne, the sun was up and we were treated to an aerial view of the village of Plainfield.

balloon Our chase crew, the pilot's wife, followed us in the black truck.
balloon We flew past the nursing home where my father lived. His room was in the right wing as seen in this picture. The next day, I asked Dad if he had seen us take off. He said, "No, it was too early in the morning to be looking outside."
balloon View of Plainfield and the Plainfield commercial center
balloon Lake Renwick in the distance, Lake Renwick is an old, gravel strip mine that was rehabilitated to be a nature area.
balloon A park with a baseball field below and the high school in the distance.
balloon We skimmed the tree tops not far from where I once lived, annoying several dogs.
balloon Then we flew over Lake Renwick, leaving Plainfield.