Hot Air Balloon Team Report

Carolina Balloon Fest

The Jasper Engines & Transmissions Hot Air Balloon Team was at the Carolina Balloon Fest over the past weekend in Statesville, NC.

On Friday morning, the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon participated in the media flight. We flew out of downtown Statesville and flew over I-40 and I-77 for rush hour exposure.

Friday evening’s flight was cancelled due to high winds.

On Saturday morning, a competitive flight was held over Statesville and over I-77.    

On Saturday evening, the flight was again cancelled due to high winds. The winds did calm enough, though, to have an incredible glow with a crowd of over eight thousand spectators and coverage from Charlotte, NC.

Sunday morning was the final competition flight and, after flying, the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon secured a 3rd Place podium finish.

A short video of the approach to the target can be found here… https://www.facebook.com/Kim.McKinney1/videos/10209116754014046/

Overall, it was a great weekend for the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon Team in Statesville, North Carolina.     

This was our last scheduled event of the 2016 Season. We are looking forward to 2017 and celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Jasper Engines & Transmissions.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872  
www.bigredballoons.com


2016 Indiana Balloon Festival

This past weekend was the 2016 Indiana Balloon Festival. This event is put on by the Kiwanis club of Bloomington. The proceeds from this event goes to support Riley Hospital for Kids.

Friday evening the pilot briefing was held at 5:45 PM. Rain was still in the area and the flight was canceled. The glow was still scheduled for 8:00 PM. A line of storms was to the southwest, and we were watching it carefully. The glow was held in conjunction with live music. The entertainer was Lee Greenwood. It was a fitting tribute to 9/11.

The wind had tapered off, and we decided to inflate the balloon for the crowd on hand. No sooner than when the balloon was stood up, the balloon meister informed us of a tornado watch. With eyes on the radar, we were able to glow for about 30 minutes before lightning was then visible. No bad weather was ever encountered in our area.

The next pilot briefing was 6:45 AM. The rain and wind was still imbedded in our area and the morning flight was canceled. 

Throughout the day, the skies continued to clear, but the wind was very breezy. The next pilot briefing was held at 5:45 PM. There would not be any flying due to the wind. The wind was forecast to settle down by dusk giving us hope for the glow.

By 8:00 PM the wind was still strong but the conditions were OK to inflate for the large crowd that had gathered. We passed out many balloon cards and by 9:00 PM the winds had died off.

The next morning was clear and the flight was a go. We had a good flight to the South of town.

This event was put on for a worthy cause. We are glad to be a part of it. Our next event will be towards the end of October as we will be flying in the Carolina Balloon Fest.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872 
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Jasper Strassenfest Hot Air Balloon Race

This past Friday was the Jasper Strassenfest Hot Air Balloon Race.

The Balloonmister called me around 12:00 noon to say that Jasper was getting hammered with storms at that time. He indicated he would make a go-no-go decision at 3:00 and call me back.

By the 3:00 PM hour, most of the rain had moved out of the area and the decision was made to hold the event.

We arrived on the field around 6:30 PM. The field was very wet from all of the rain. We meet our passengers that would be flying with me - Nicole Green and Whitney Craig.

After the paperwork was out of the way, it was time for the pilot briefing at 7:00. The decision was made not to fly, as rain was still on the radar. The organizers asked us to do a static display for the large crowd that had gathered for this event.

As you can tell from the tipped basket, it was still very windy but we did manage to stand the balloon up and pass out some cards. We also gave the kids and their parents some photo ops in the basket before the balloon was inflated.

Our next event will be the Indiana Balloon Fest here in Bloomington on September 9th-11th.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872 
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Indiana State Fair Hot Air Balloon Race

This past Friday was the opening of the Indiana State Fair. The Hot Air Balloon Race was back on schedule this year for opening day.

A pilot briefing was held the night before to update all pilots on safety procedures. The Friday morning pilot briefing was held in the infield at 6:15AM. A decision was made to delay the launch by 15 minutes to see if some rain near Lafayette would dissipate, which turned out to be the case. The decision was made to launch the balloons.

The hare balloon was launched and reported back to the air boss that visibility was reduced to haze. The decision was made to cancel the launch of the other balloons. All of the balloons did a static display for the large crowd on hand, however.

The glow scheduled for Friday evening was canceled due to rain in the area and windy conditions.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872 
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Ohio Challenge

This past weekend, the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Hot Air balloon took part in the Ohio Challenge. This event is held in Middletown, Ohio in conjunction with a large festival.

The weekend started Friday evening with a master pilot briefing. The task that evening was a fly out from the airport and return for a glow. The winds had been breezy all day as a cold front passed by bringing in cooler air. We were assembled in the field to fly, but the winds were too strong and the flight was canceled.

We were asked by the air boss if we would like to inflate the balloon for the crowd before the glow was to start. It was very windy but we did manage to get the balloon up. Only two balloons inflated, and the strong winds canceled the glow. We had the crowd all to ourselves.

The next morning, the weather looked better and a four part task was called. We would be flying into the airport and then flying on. It was a good flight, as we flew for over 10 miles over all of Middletown.

The evening was to be a fly out and a glow. The winds were still strong and the competition was called off, but we could fly out if we choose to do so. We had a good short flight and hurried back to glow for the large crowd.

Sunday morning was a three part fly in task. The winds had died down enough for us to fly in to the airport and then fly on.

This was a good event as about 40,000 people attended the event on Saturday evening.

Our next events will be the Indiana State Fair and Jasper Strassenfest.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

2016 Kentucky Derby Hot Air Balloon Festival

This past weekend was the 2016 Kentucky Derby Hot Air Balloon Festival. The Festival had 25 balloons in attendance.

The Festival was scheduled to begin with a new event - a charity race with local celebrities flying with the pilot. The celebrity winner of the charity race would receive $1,000.00 to be donated to their favorite charity. The race was canceled due to rain and fog. A drawing was held to give the money to one of the charities.

The next event on the schedule was a glimmer on the Ohio River. The wind howled all afternoon. At 5:00 PM, the wind was 17kts/ gusting to 24kts. We gathered on the great lawn of Waterfront Park for another briefing. The wind was forecast to die down. We were to glow from 8:30 to 9:30. It was truly amazing and the wind did subside enough to let us get the glimmer in. 

The next morning’s briefing was held at 5:00 AM. The weather looked good for the Rush Hour Race. We assembled and drove out to Bowman Field. The morning race was a hare and hound race. A little after 7:00 AM, the balloons were launched to chase the hare balloon. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon scored on the target for a second place finish.

Friday night was the Balloon Glow. It was held at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The winds were forecast to be light with the rain holding off until well after the glow.

A record crowd of over 80,000 people were in attendance. We handed out all of the balloon cards we had. WLKY covered this event with a live TV broadcast both from the air and the ground. This was viewed by a large TV audience. We drew a good position on the field and were the backdrop for much of the ground portion of the Live TV coverage. Here is a link to the TV coverage: http://www.wlky.com/news/watch-wlky-covers-kdf-great-balloon-glow/39295502.

Saturday morning was to be the Derby Balloon Race. The rain had moved in overnight and the race was canceled. All scores from the previous flight would count towards the overall winner.

The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon finished second overall.

This event is one of the top three events associated with the Derby festival. We received much media coverage and Jasper Engines & Transmissions was very well represented.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this prestigious event and for your continued sponsorship.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Carolina Balloon Fest

The Jasper Engines & Transmissions Hot Air Balloon Team attended the Carolina Balloon Fest in Statesville, NC, over this past weekend.

The weekend started out perfect with a great media flight. Friday morning was clear as we flew over downtown Statesville, across I -77, and followed I-40 during rush hour.

We flew a reporter from gocarolina.com and channel 9 Charlotte on this media flight and had great exposure.

The weather continued to perfect Friday evening with a great launch and flight out of the airport and a huge crowd of over twenty thousand in attendance.

Saturday morning was another perfect flight over the county. We flew over I-40 and into the airport to a huge crowd where the JASPER balloon took 4th place out of 55 balloons.

Saturday evening was a record setting crowd at the airport. The estimated crowd was over fifty thousand. The event was sold out, and they were turning people away. The winds were such that only a few balloons were able to fly. The JASPER balloon was the first one inflated and was the first to launch to a roaring crowd.

After the flight, we hurried back to the airport for the glow. It was a perfect fall evening with a record setting crowd.

Sunday morning was the final flight and again, another perfect morning. The Jasper Engines & Transmission balloon was the first one in the air and the first one to the airport with a very large crowd in attendance. The flight was across the county for the perfect end to a perfect weekend in Statesville, NC.

Here is a short video of the Jasper Engines and Transmissions balloon inflating.

https://youtu.be/oNACB0BjcTw

This was the last event of the 2015 season.

Thank you again!

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Indiana Balloon Festival

The 2015 Indiana Balloon Festival was held this past weekend in Bloomington.
Friday started out as a rainy day, but by the time the pilot briefing was held at 5:30, the rain had stopped. The clouds were still very low, so the first flight was canceled. We reconvened at 7:45 to look at the weather for the glow. The weather had improved so the glow was on.

The next morning was clear. The pilot briefing was held at 6:30AM and the flight was a go. We flew to the south of town to open fields.
Saturday evening was going to be a big night for the Festival. We were to fly and glow. The pilot briefing was held at 5:30. The wind had picked up throughout the day and was holding on well into the evening. Several attempts were made to inflate the balloons for the crowd. The wind would not die off and both the flight and the glow had to be canceled.
Sunday morning was once again clear and the wind had finally died down. The pilot briefing was at 6:30AM and the flight was a go. We once again flew to the south of town. A good flight was had by all.
We did make the front page of the Herald-Times Sunday morning.
Our next event is the Carolina Balloon Fest on October 16th-19th

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

Indiana State Fair Balloon Launch

This past weekend was the Indiana State Fair Balloon launch, the opening event for the State Fair. The governor and his wife were on hand to watch the launch.
The pilot briefing was held at 6:15 AM, and the launch was a go. The winds were out of the east and would take us out towards Speedway, IN. Sixteen balloons assembled for this beautiful morning flight.

This was not a race event. We had a good flight to the west and landed in a park just before Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Friday evening was a balloon glow. It was another beautiful evening for this event. Many families were on hand and we handed out many of our balloon cards.
Our next event is the Indiana Balloon Fest September 11-13th in Bloomington, Indiana.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

 Jasper Strassenfest Hot Air Balloon Race

This past Friday evening was the Jasper Strassenfest Hot Air Balloon Race. The Jasper Engines & Transmission Balloon was in attendance as well as 16 other balloons.

It was a beautiful warm summer evening. A good crowd was on hand for this blue moon event.

The pilot briefing was held at 7:00 PM and the flight was a go. Our flying guests this evening would be Mike & Katey Schaefer

The hare balloon launched, and we were soon in hot pursuit. The winds would take us east from the launch site directly over the Jasper Engines & Transmissions headquarters.                                                                                                                

Unfortunately none of the balloons were able to get to the target. We flew about 5 miles to the east and landed in a hay field. It was a beautiful evening to fly.

The next event will be this coming Friday. We will be flying at the Indiana State Fair.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com


2015 Ohio Challenge Balloon Fest

The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Hot Air Balloon Team participated in the 2015 Ohio Challenge Balloon Fest the weekend of July 10-12.

We started out early Friday morning with the media. WKRC TV, was on site to do 3 live TV spots at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30.

The flight was cancelled Friday evening due to rain in the Middletown area. The crowd stayed for the balloon glow and the fireworks. The glow turned out perfect and the crowd of spectators was estimated at around 20,000.

Saturday morning turned out to be a perfect morning to fly. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon flew for 2 hours over Middletown, with lots of great coverage over the Butler County area, as well as being one of the few balloons to make it back to the airport for a good score and a big crowd. Exposure for Saturday morning was estimated 5,000 people.

Saturday evening turned out to be an outstanding evening for ballooning. The competition was cancelled due to light wind, which allowed all the balloons to launch and hang out around the venue. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon flew into the venue, landed next to the crowd line and stayed inflated until the glow. The JASPER Balloon spent close to three hours in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000 spectators.

The flight was cancelled Sunday morning due to thunderstorms in the SW Ohio area.

The Ohio Challenge broke last year’s attendance record by 30%, the largest crowd in Ohio Challenge History.

Our next stop is the Jasper Strassenfest in Jasper, Indiana on July 31st.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com

 

2015 Kentucky Derby Great Balloon Race

This past weekend was the 2015 Kentucky Derby Great Balloon Race held in Louisville, Kentucky.

The event started with a master pilot briefing on Thursday afternoon. This is a mandatory briefing attended by all pilots and the FAA. Twenty-eight balloons were entered in this year’s event.

The first event was to be a glimmer on the waterfront of the Ohio River. A supplemental pilot briefing was held on the field. It was very windy but all agreed to put the balloons up, if possible. The glimmer was scheduled for 9:00-10:00 PM and a good crowd was on hand for the evening. The winds calmed down a bit and the glow was on. Eighteen balloons were selected to participate in this event.

Friday morning started with a 5:00 AM pilot briefing. The weather was looking good, and the flight was a go. We headed out to Bowman field for the launch. It was a cold, crisp morning. Take off time was set for 7:15. It was to be a hare and hound race. The US Bank was the hare balloon. With gentle winds, the balloons were launched.

The hare balloon laid out the target, and all of the hound balloons gave chase. Twenty-three of the 28 balloons scored within 100’ of the target. The Jasper Engines & Transmissions Balloon was 3’ out which was good for a fifth place finish in the rush hour race.

The position draw was held at noon. This determines where we will be staged for the glow on Friday night. We were told that bad weather was moving in for Friday night and all day Saturday. The decision was made to move the Derby race up from Saturday morning to Friday evening. This meant we would fly a hare and hound race then hurry back through rush hour traffic for the glow.

We met at Bowman field at 5:15 for the Derby Race. The winds were still very strong, with a lot of thermal activity in the area. It was at the pilots’ discretion whether or not to fly. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon choose not to fly. With the current conditions, only about 10 balloons chose to fly.

We headed back over to the Kentucky Fairgrounds for the evening glow. The winds were still breezy but were forecast to calm down. The glow was scheduled from 9-10. The warm spring evening saw 68,000 people in attendance. We handed out many of our Hot Air Balloon cards and made many smiles. This link will lead to a video of the glow from Channel 11news in Louisville
.
http://www.whas11.com/videos/news/local/2015/04/24/great-balloon-race-challenge-glow/26348959/

The Jasper Engines & Transmissions Balloon is always a crowd favorite.

 

Carolina Balloon Fest

The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon participated in the Carolina Balloon Fest this past weekend in Statesville, NC.

On Friday morning, there was a media flight which took place near the intersections of I-40 and I-77. There was a lot of exposure on both interstates during the morning rush hour.

On Friday evening, the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon flew a sponsor flight over downtown Statesville, also during the evening rush hour, for a large amount of additional exposure. A good crowd was on hand.

The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon enjoyed another good flight Saturday morning across downtown Statesville and along I-40.

The Saturday evening flight was cancelled due to some gusty winds. With a crowd of over 10,000 spectators in attendance, the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon was inflated and stood alone in the crowd with all eyes on it only. A balloon glow followed with our balloon front and center.

Sunday morning there was a final competition flight in the Statesville area with the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon being only 3 of 56 balloons to be competitive, making it to the festival site as a crowd favorite.

On all of the scheduled flights, the festival site is also home of several NASCAR team hangers. The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon was in the air during 3 of the 4 flights as such team owners and crew for Jimmy Johnson, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were able to see the balloon as they flew out of the airport on their way to the race in Talladega.

The Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon is always a crowd favorite at all events it attends.

This was the last scheduled event of 2014 for the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Balloon.

Warren D Smith
812-327-8872
www.bigredballoons.com