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June 2022

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Welcome to SUMMER

Ask a Pilot

We have a new section on the site for both Pilots and crews. The new category is called “Ask HAB”.  There are two new forums inside the Ask HAB category where the general public (and members) can ask questions.  The “Ask a Pilot”, and “Balloon Crew Questions”, are forums that have been created for, not only members to use, but the general public as well.  Hopefully over time this category will create a great section on the site were anyone can come into the site and see questions and answers from previous visitors.  This will be a Ballooning FAQ for everyone and encourage participation from our membership and the public.  We want to encourage visitors to ask questions from our membership.  Our membership are undoubtedly the most qualified to answer those types of questions.  Feel free to post something if you wish.  You do not need to be logged in to use the new forums. 


We now have an account on YouTube.  Currently we are positing many of our “How To” videos here but will be adding more and more videos including presentation and other helpful ballooning files and videos.  Become a subscriber on the HAB channel today. HAB on YouTube

Map Creation

More and more of you are using navigation programs to fly with.  The HotAir.app is one of the most popular apps out there.  Many of these flying apps are capable of using KML files for uploading custom made map files of your area.  KML-PZ2.jpgKML files are also heavily used for balloon events and competition.  With the airspace regulations in some cases they are almost required to fly with like in the Albuquerque area.  HAB has many of these files available for download in the Download Center.  The HotAirBalloonist.com site actually has a tutorial on how to use Google Earth to create your own KML map files.  The video  tutorials on how to create custom map files are FREE to members and we hope you will take advantage of this.  If you have created a map of your flying area and you would like to make that file available for others in your area please send it to us.  We will create a folder for your area and send you a link that you can share with other pilots in your area where they can download your file directly into their application on their device.  If you have an event or a flying area and you would like us to make a map for you please feel free to contact us and talk to us.  We have years of experience making maps and flying with maps and would love to help you!

Missing events

I was looking at our Events Calendar for the month of June.  There are a bunch of events in June, Hudsonville, Bluff City, Galena, GTBR, Temecula, Carson City, Helen GA just to name a few, but I found an oddity that maybe you can help with.  I found NO EVENTS on the weekend of June 11th and 12th.  I cannot believe that there are NO events happening on that weekend so if you have an event or know of an event please let us know so we can put you on the calendar!  Every year we try out best to search the web to find as many events as we can and post as much information as we can but we are not perfect and can always use your help.  

Helium Shortage

Looks like Helium may be in short supply again soon (if not already) there have been some serious issues that may lead to shortages, or complete lack of supply and if you can get helium it may be at a premium price.  Just do a search for Helium Shortage and you will find a bunch of articles about it.  This would be a very good time for you to have a second look at our Drone Winds project.  Using a drone to read the winds aloft prior to a flight is an exigent alternative to a pi-bal.  The costs for a drone vs. helium may soon favor the drone and once you have your drone setup you will never again need to search for a supply of helium or latex balloons.  Go to the HAB site and log in and download the Drone Winds.  You can find the Drone Winds presentation in the Tutorials Presentations section of the Download Center.  Remember (as always) downloads are FREE for members.


Well the Balloons-andBeyond.com site has been expanded.  The site started off as a place where you could purchase the new “Balloon Cups” for your after flight champagne ceremonies.  CupAni.gifThere is now a new page on the site called Gondola Gear.  Here you will find the beginnings of items for your basket.  We will be adding more items as time goes by but for now there are Document pouches, Radio Holders, Tank Covers, Droplines, and Zippered upright covers.  Bookmark the site so you will be able to return in the future and see the new items that have been added and order a couple of sleeves of the “Balloon Cups’ to take with you to your next balloon event. Balloons-andBeyond.com/Gondola-Gear


I am no longer flying commercially but miss it so very much.  I am up most mornings well before dawn and working at the computer.  I have enjoyed (very much) watching live feeds on Facebook of some of IMG_1703.PNG  your flights.  I would like to ask those of you who use the hot air app a favor.  Next time you start the app for a flight.  If you are using Glympse and the Glympse screen comes up, type in #hotairapp.  Then for those of us who want to watch along we can go to any browser and type in www.glympse.com/!hotairapp and be able to track your flight in real time!  I have done this on many occasions and even had my crew use it to track me in flight when they can not see me when I am down low.  You can add that hashtag to your send list and then each time you fire up the HotAir.app it will automatically log you into the system for others to see.



Hot Air Notables

Once again I would like to point out a category on the HotAirBalloonist.com site that is worth your time to have a look around.  The Hall of Fame committee has spent a tremendous amount of time creating a section FULL of biographies on Notable Balloonists.  There are over 270 biographies with tons of photos and volumes of information and history about our sport.  I wish to make a personal shout out to my father Jim Thompson who has posted a majority of the bios on file.  His efforts will serve as a historical record for all of us going forward.  When you have a moment please take the time to visit the Notable Balloonist’s section and have a look around.  If you know someone who you believe should be included, send us an email at Info@HotAirBalloonist.com or Jim@ThompsonAire.com with your email and we will get in contact with you for more information.

Drone Waiver

I am re-submitting my waiver to the FAA for a waiver for using a drone to read the winds above the current 400 ft limit.  I have learned many valuable lessons from my first attempt and I have begun to create a framework that I believe will be repeatable anywhere.  As more and more pilots begin to use drones for weather information it is my hope that we can, soon be able to get our winds aloft on our own in real time pre-launch without the need for latex balloons, helium and the guess work involved with the traditional method we all have used for so long.  I will keep you informed in future newsletters.  In the meantime please be safe, stay healthy, have fund and

Thank you for all you do for the Balloon World.

Jeff A Thompson




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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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