Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Some two hundred years ago the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph Michael and Jacques-Étienne were the first men ever to learn how to fly.

On 21 November, 1783 Pilâtre de Rosier and an army officer, François Laurent d'Arlandes became the first human beings to engage in free flight. The launch took place from the grounds of the Château de la Muette in the western outskirts of Paris. They flew about 3,000 feet above Paris for a distance of some five miles. They landed outside the city walls on the Butte-aux-Cailles.

This year Skybird and her crew, along with two other balloonists celebrated with an anniversary flight. The launch took place on the outskirts of Libuse, LA on a very chilly (30 degrees) morning. Cheers went up from the assembled ground and chase crews as Shadeaux Dancer, Ski Lift and Skybird leapt into the sky with barely any heat applied and we chased merrily across Pineville, across the Red River and through Alexandria en route to safe landings for all three balloons.

A massive (and legendary) annual celebration took place after the after-flight ceremonies.

Today I've taken the liberty of launching our blog, having already been handed the reins to the Bayou Balloon Adventures website. Hopefully as time goes on we'll add insights and posts from others of the ground crew, from our passengers, and from our pilot and Skybird's owner, David Miller. I'll share stories from my own experiences learning the fine art of hot air balloon piloting and hopefully I can entice stories from anyone and everyone we encounter on our flights.

For now we send out our fondest wishes for a continued speedy recover to Jim Crosser, our Groundcrew Chief and Head Bottle Washer. He just had his hip replaced (he likes to refer to it as "his new butt") and is doing marvelously well, even to the point of helping at the anniversary launch, though I doubt seriously we could have kept him away. The long and convoluted chase would have been a nightmare without him!

Check back with us soon, we're just beginning!

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