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December 2021


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Vote for the name the Newsletter



We have been collecting names for our monthly newsletter.  We have quite a list!  Now it is time for you to vote!  Here is a link to the voting post.  Read down the list of names and choose your 6 favorite names.  Then vote for your favorite names in your order of preference (1st – 6th).  We will then use a point system to determine the top ten most popular names.  Next month we will have the final vote from the ten finalists.  Should be fun, so have a look and take a moment to vote.  By the way, if you have a good name it’s not too late.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the voting post and place your name in the reply box.  If we like it enough it just might appear with the ten finalists next month.




Post on the front page.



Have you noticed the Status Updates?  ON the front page of the HotAirBalloonist.com community in the right hand column there is a “Recent Status Updates” bar.  This area is located directly below our Facebook feed.  The Status Updates area displays updates from our membership.  YOU can post a quick note for others to see quickly and easily right on the front page of HotAirBalloonist.com.  Think of it as a public twitter feed for ballooning.  Swing in and post a note for other Balloonists.  There are two ways to post on the feed.  Directly on the front page of HAB or in your profile area.   Status updates must first be turned ON for your account.  It is very easy to do.  There is a video tutorial LOCATED HERE that will walk you thru the process.  Turn on your Status Updates and post a note on the front page of HAB today!


Cold Weather Flying



Things are getting cold and the flakes are starting to fly!  Are you ready for winter flying?  I know during the winter months many Balloonists do not go out much.  I remember flying up in Michigan as much as we could in the winter.  We called them Phogg’s Frosty Flights.  I also remember some seriously cold (Below -0) flights.  Winter flying can have some challenges but they can also be extremely fun and quite spectacular for those willing to take on the challenge.  Here are a few things to consider,


  • Warm or Pressurized propane.  Cold fuel can be hazardous in several ways.  Most importantly is reduced fuel pressure resulting in poor burner performance!  This can also cause issues with pilot lights failing or getting blown out easily by cross winds commonly found in winter wind sheers.


  • Make sure the chase vehicle is FULL of fuel.  When flying in cold weather the ground team will be staying warm in the vehicle.  This means running the engine the entire time you are flying.  If you are in an area with snow there is the added possibility of getting stuck and a full tank of fuel may make the difference between a warm or very uncomfortable wait till help arrives.


  • Dress properly and make sure your crew and passengers do as well.  Lots of layers are a great way to dress.  You can always take a layer or two off if you need.  Make sure your lower half is especially well insulated.  While flying, you are basically standing still in the basket.  You are not active and creating a high rate of blood flow or body heat.  Lower extremities can get super cold easily.  There is nothing worse than cold feet on a flight.


  • Have extra crew.  After a flight on a real cold day let your ground team start the pack-up of the balloon.  Get the pilot and passengers into the warm vehicle for a few minutes.  They have been standing still in a cold balloon for a long time and a little time in the warm vehicle will do them good.  The crew (who has been in the warm vehicle) can start the pack away process.  Once you have had a few moments to get thawed out you can go out to help them finish up!


  • Choose your weather carefully.  On many days in the winter the winds can pick up quickly after sunrise.  In the winter, when the trees lose all their leaves, there is much less friction against the atmosphere.  Many days the winds will pick up quickly after sunrise.  There will also be many days were the cold dense air will settle near the surface and cause a severe wind shear to develop in the 400-600 ft range.  Be cautious of this layer!  Your balloon can skip off of this layer when trying to descend for landing.  The cross wind can extinguish pilot lights and even cause the side of your balloon to cave in enough that you could burn the mouth!  Wind shears are no joke!


  • Take a thermos of coffee.  Many times after a flight you may find yourself far away from the comforts of urban sprawl (or a 7-Eleven).  After a cold flight a nice warm cup of coffee can be a wonderful slice of comfort for a frozen soul.


  • Best of all, a flight in the winter can help keep you current!  Unless you have several thousand hours (and even then) it is easy to become “out of practice”  I remember flying passenger flights in the spring in Michigan when the weather would become flyable (yet sporty) and we were dealing with months of very little flight time.  This was a great recipe for incidents.  Get some flights in during the winter to keep your skills sharp.


Getting a Medicalfetch%3EUID%3E.INBOX%3E6641fetch%3EUID%3E.INBOX%3E6641



If you have never had a medical, (Like Me) it can be quite confusing.  Where do I go?  Who do I see?  Will I pass? What happens if I don’t pass?  What are the Amed.pngrequirements?  There are a ton of questions.  The best advice I can give you is asking around among your local pilots and see if one of them has been thru the process.  See if they can help give you some tips and advice on where to go and what they will ask.  I have done some research on the FAA website and found scattered information.  Much to my dismay the form for finding an AME (Airman Medical Examiner) did not work.  I did find the form 8500-8 this form states,  


The FAA MedXPress system allows anyone requesting an FAA Medical Clearance or Medical Certificate to electronically complete an application. Information entered into MedXPress is available to your FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) for review at the time of your medical examination.



We also found a nice little informational PDF about medications located here.  We would love to have YOUR INPUT on this topic.  Do you have your Second Class Medical?  How did you go about getting it?  Tell us more about your experience.  Start a topic in the Balloon Medicals Forum inside the FAA category on the HAB site.  I know my brother Jon Thompson took his medical and had some issues with the stress test, Maybe we can get him to write our first topic in the new Balloon Medicals Forum.  Please keep in mind that this category and Forum are private (Members Only) areas of the HAB site.  You must be logged in to see and to make a comment.






We have been working with the people from AirData.com.  We now have our own discount code.  If you are planning to use a Drone to get your winds aloft (instead of using a helium balloon and compass) you will need an account with AirData.com.  HotAirBalloonist.com has now received a discount code for 20% off of any of their paid memberships.  Just use the discount code BALLOON20 at checkout and receive a 20% discount!  If you have not already downloaded the DroneWinds presentation YOU SHOULD!  Remember all files are FREE for download by MEMBERS!  So log in and go to the “Download Center” Click on the Tutorials & Presentations and you will find the DroneWinds link.  Currently it is listed as one of the current favorites and easy to find.  There are over 85 pages of information about using a drone to check your winds aloft before you fly instead of using a helium balloon. 


Balloon Cups              


Have you had a look at the new balloon cups?  For those of you who are unaware, after flight champagne cups are available at www.Balloons-andBeyond.com.  These balloon cups are custom made with real balloons in COLOR on the sides of the cup.  They have the Balloonists Prayer written on CupAni.gifthem! The cups are available for purchase online and shipped out the same day!  The cups are dishwasher safe and inexpensive enough to allow your passengers to keep as a souvenir after the flight.  Stop in and have a look or better yet order some today.






Do you provide Balloon Services?  You may ask what we mean by that, fair enough.  Do you repair balloons?  Do you fly rides?  Do you do advertising like a Re/Max balloon or a local banner advertiser?  Do you make products for Balloonists?  Do you fly a balloon?  Do you operate a safety seminar?  I could go on and on but I am sure you get the idea.  Do you have any relation to Hot Air Ballooning then we want you on the Hot Air Balloonist Member Map.  Even if you are not a member you should have a pin in the map.  This is simply the best way to find anyone or anything balloon related in the world!  Honestly.  Have a look at the member map.  Stick a pin in the map if you do not have one there already!  Tell your friends who may not get the HAB Newsletter!  Tell them about the Member Map and have them get on it.  The HAB Member Map simply allows you to find anyone anywhere who has anything to do with Ballooning on one very easy to use map.   If you have not had a look at the HAB Member Map in a while go take a look!


There is still time!  Can you say NPRM?



HEY GANG!  This is important!  If there is nothing else my little newsletter does I hope this is it.  I hope this single paragraph gets you off your butt and on the computer to help save our sport.  If you do not realize what is going on right now with the FAA and the potential devastation it could cause for our sport you are either DEAD or living under a ROCK.  Do I have your attention now?  Do you have a 2nd class medical?  Do you want one?  If we do not get together and speak up you’re going to need one!  Here is what you should do.  First, Go to the HotAirBalloonist.com site and read my letter to the FAA about my opinion on the proposed 2nd class medical requirement.  I do not care if you agree or not.  Just read it because it may give you some things to think about.  Next, go to the FAA link and write your own opinion on what they should do!  If we do not get together and speak up they will do whatever they think the public wants without any regard to what it will do to our sport, hobby or family business. 


Here are the links.  My Opinion / Reply.   The FAA Website for posting your remarks.


PLEASE DO THIS!!!  I was on the site today only to find 16 postings.  That is correct our sport with thousands of pilots could only manage to make sixteen responses to a potential new law that could destroy nearly every aspect of our industry.


Do you know  ADS-B?



You should!  There is even more regulation on the way.  Contact Scott Appleman or  Adam Magee about the new regulations coming our way.  Here is a link were you can learn a little more about potential electronics you may be required to have on board your balloon.









At the Thompson Compound



Many of you may remember that I am recovering from a pretty nasty stroke.  I am happy to say that I am doing well.  We do have other challenges here at the Thompson Compound my son Noah was diagnosed this year with Leukemia.  I want to say “Thank You” to all of the Balloon Community for the support and words of encouragement for our whole family.  I am no longer flying full time but doing my best to help any Balloonists in any way I can with my work on the internet and other projects here in the shop.  My son Noah (The real Superhero) is responding well to the treatments for his leukemia and we are over 300 days into his treatment with nearly 500 days to go.  If any of you are interested in his journey you can see regular updates and photos on his website at SuperNoah.pngwww.TheAmazingNoah.com.  Have a look and become a subscriber to his YouTube channel @NoahsHeroes.  As always if you need any help with the HotAirBalloonist.com site I am thrilled to be of service.  Just send me an email at Info@HotAirBalloonist.com with your needs, questions or any request you believe I can help with and I will do anything I can to be of value.  While I am still battling some minor health issues I am very fortunate to be able to work online and try to share my years of experience in a beneficial way.  As I love to say…


Thank you for all you do for the Balloon World.



Jeff A Thompson


A Balloon Site built by Balloonists for

Balloonist's Become a Member Today

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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