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This newsletter we will talk about Map Files.  Do you have map files?  Do you use Map Files?  Do you make Map Files?  Do you have a place where you store, share and can find Map Files?  If you answered yes to any of the above you should be interested in the HAB Download Center. 

We already have many maps

HotAirBalloonist.com has many maps online and available for download for Balloonists like you!  We also have a bunch of video tutorials and presentations about map files and how to make and use as well as download and upload them on the site.  Here are some direct links to those files should you want to review.  Uploading Files  Downloading Map Files  Making Map Files  Hot Air Map Files 


Currently, the following memberships can upload map files in the “Launch and Land (MAPS & GPS Files)” section.  Balloon Museum, BFA Board, Event Organizers, Pilot, Repair Stations, Ride Operators.   If you have map files that you would like to share with other pilots in your area and you have one of these memberships feel free to log in and upload a map file for your fellow pilots.  There is a video tutorial above with instructions on how to upload files.  Remember to give your file a good name that should include the location, Year and type of file.  You will have the opportunity to add much more information in the description section of the upload editor.

Cats and Sub-Cats

IN the Download Center there are many Categories.  The Map Files are found in the Launch and Land (MAPS & GPS Files) category.  There are many files in the main category but the main category is also home to several Sub-categories.  Sub-categories are areas were you may have many map files for one event.  For example the National Balloon Classic in Indianola Iowa has many files spanning several years. There are GPX files for your GPS, there are KMZ and KML files used for different flying applications and even JPG files for map images.  There are also PZ files and Target files too.  If you have several files for a specific area or event and would like to have your own Sub-Cat just let us know and we will create one for you!

 Can we use the system but keep it private?

Sure you can!  The HotAirBalloonist.com system has the ability for you to start a club!  You can start a PRIVATE club of your own.  You can even have all the features of the HAB site inside your PRIVATE club!  Including your own Forums, Topics, Newsletters, Calendar, Image galleries and…..  Download CENTER!  Yes you can upload and KEEP PRIVATE your map files.  Create your own private club.  Upload your map files and then invite the members you want.  Remove the members at your discretion at any time.  Also you can take advantage of the FOLLOW feature within your club.  This way any time you upload a new version of your map all of your club members will be instantly notified!

Pi-Ball by Drone

Well, it works!  I have spent the last week learning all I needed to learn to have sUAS rating added to my certificate.  I have also learned the programs needed to use with a drone for reading winds.  This morning at sunrise I went out and launched a traditional pi-bal.  I watched the balloon begin to slowly float to the west over the trees and quickly turn to the right.  As it climbed I took readings as it moved to 305 then 310 then 325 and then 340 when I finally lost sight of it.  Best guess it was doing about 345 to maybe 350.  I figured maybe 8-10 MPH.  So I then sent up the drone.  Up 400 feet and back down. When I looked at the readings from the drone I was AMAZED.  The image here is from the drone report.  Almost exactly what I observed with the helium balloon.  Better yet was the wind information was (Most Likely BETTER) than my estimates. When you are dealing with slow wind speeds and the balloon is traveling directly away from you it is nearly impossible to tell how fast it is moving.  How many times have you gotten up in the air and found yourself moving a lot faster than you thought?  Me Too…  So I am here to tell you, IT WORKS!  My next task is to make some videos for the HAB site.  I want to video the drone process as well as compare the time frame.  The time a drone takes as compared to a helium balloon.  I also want to use the drone to follow the helium balloon to find out exactly what altitude does a ground observer loose site of the average 12” pibal.  I will also be making a complete cost comparison to show at what point are you better off getting a drone and getting rid of your helium balloons.  With the cost of helium lately you may be surprised how cost effective a drone may be!  Last time I filled up my 80 Cu/Ft tank it was $150.  I promise to have some nice video tutorials as well as some tutorial presentations up on the HAB site soon!

As I write this Fiesta has been flawless.  Thank you to all the participants for making this event such an amazing testament to the professionalism and skills of balloonists.  We wish you safe travel home when the event is over and….

Thank you for all you do for the balloon world.

Jeff A Thompson

P.S. Thank you Jetta Schants for presenting HotAirBalloonist.com a 2021 BFA Directors award for our HAB newsletters.  We are extremely humbled and intend to continue to support this amazing industry and balloon family to the best of our abilities.


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Jeff A Thompson.  Admin@HotAirBalloonist.com 407-421-9322

44 year LTA pilot, BFA member since 1977, BFA Level DA-8, Ed Yost Master Pilot. 6500 flights, 5650 Flight Hours

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