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August 2022

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The HEAT of the summer!

August is one of the months of the year we dread here in Florida.  As with many parts of the country the temps are getting tough on a balloon.  Not only is the heat of an afternoon flight tough on a balloon but the UV of mid-summer is damaging as well.  Here are a few things to remember when flying on those Hot Summer Flights.

Make sure you have WATER.  A cooler full of other goodies is nice, but water is the best for keeping you, your crew (and your passengers) hydrated.  Heat Stroke is no joke!

Make sure you do your load calculations carefully.  Loading a balloon to the limit can not only damage your fabric but your balloon will be slow and sluggish. We all know how “Springy” a balloon gets in the winter because of the cold temps, well the exact opposite happens in hot summer conditions.  The balloon will be much slower to respond!  Being a little under loaded gives you the benefit of being able to give the burner that slightly longer blast needed, if you are “Coming in Hot” on a tight spot for landing.

Pack up quickly.  Every minute your balloon is out in that intense UV, it is aging.  Remember you don’t have to be flying a balloon to take life out of the envelope.  If you doubt me, take your balloon out and lay it in the yard for a few hours each day, by the end of a month it won’t pass inspection.  UV KILLS YOUR FABRIC!

With reguard to the above point.  Hurry up & take your time, if you do not have enough crew to pack your balloon up in short order do not over heat yourself trying to stuff it in the bag in a hurry.  Yes you want to put it away as quickly as you can but not at the expense of YOU!  Stay Hydrated and have extra crew if possible!

Watch your fuel.  When it is hot out you will burn fuel at a faster rate.  Keep an eye on it.  Do not pass up a good spot to land because that fuel may not last to the next spot.  Time the tank.  Take a moment and use your smart watch and actually time your fuel usage.   This will give you a good idea of how much fuel time you have left on board.

Watch your envelope temp, especially the first few moments of the flight.  When you lift off you are at full load, you are full of fuel and passenger weight.  After about 10 to 15 minutes of flight you have started losing weight from the fuel you have burned (and sweat) and your envelope temperature should start to fall some.  But the first 30 minutes of that summer time, evening flight can be an envelope scorcher.

I am on the way to IOWA!

Yes,  As you are reading this I am about to hit the road with my parents.  We are heading to Iowa for the National Balloon Classic.  The primary reason for the trip is so I can attend my father’s induction into the National Balloon Museums Hall of Fame.  There will be lots of proud tears for sure.  While I am there it is my hope to be able to say HI to so many old friends and families that, quite honestly I never thought I would be able to again.  My Wife Gina and children will be staying here in Florida.  Noah is still under treatment for Leukemia and we do not want to take him away from his medical team.  I am hoping to get a flight while I am at the National Balloon Classic and maybe a Flight Review.  It has been over a year since I have made a flight.  I will also be available to help any Pilot with the KML map files for use with the HotAir.app.  I will be updating the files from last year and placing them on the HAB site in the download center for anyone to use if they wish.  Those files are most likely already online and ready for you to download.  I will be keeping them updated all week long and we will again be using the “Follow” feature on the HAB site to keep as many pilots informed of all the changes to the map.  If you are attending the National Balloon Classic and would like to be set up for the “Follow” feature, just find me (I will be hanging around the Pilot Compound most of the time.  For those who do not know what the follow feature is CLICK THIS LINK and watch the video.

Found some nifty apps

AloftIcon.jpgLast month we talked about a couple of apps we have found while doing our research for the Drone Winds project.  For those who would like to review any of our past newsletters can be found in the “Welcome All” category on the front page of the HAB site.  For a link specifically to last month’s newsletter CLICK HERE.  I am interested if anyone has downloaded and tried out those applications.  Specifically the “ALOFT” app.  It seemed to me that the information bar with weather and other items at the bottom of the screen would be very helpful for pre-flight information.  I was wondering how it has performed out in the field.  If anyone has tried it please post your review or comments in the COOL APPS topic inside the Hot Topics sub-cat.

HAB on YouTube

Many of you may have spotted the banner running on the HAB site about our new account on YouTube.  We now have a YouTube account!  We are adding various videos to the account and more each day.  We have created several “Play Lists’ where you can choose the items you wish to view.  We have started to load our Video Tutorials about how to use many of the features on the HAB site and other balloon videos.  One of the benefits for the HAB site is that we can embed our YouTube videos directly into the topics on HotAirBalloonist.com and they will play for you without having to leave the HAB site.  For example: We have a tutorial about how to start a topic in the Download Center.  In the past you would go to the Download Center and download that video to watch it.  Now you can go to that topic in the download center and watch it right in your browser without having to download anything!  This applies to any topic a member may start anywhere on the site!  If you have a YouTube video you can post the URL inside your topic and it will play for others just like the How To Start a Topic tutorial CLICK HERE to see what we mean.

National Balloon Classic PILOTS!

If you are flying in the National Balloon Classic and would like to be subscribed to the Map Files for the event on the HAB site please send me a note.  I will make sure your account is following the 2022 maps and you are informed anytime a new file has been uploaded.  For those who were not part of the event last year.  The HAB site has a feature called the FOLLOW FEATURE.  It MapUpdate.pngcan be used to follow just about anything on the site.  When you follow something on the site and there is a new post or file uploaded you receive an email notifying you of the change.    This feature is extremely helpful for event maps that may change daily.  Last year we had 45 pilots who were following the map files for the classic.  Many received their email updates before the pre-flight pilot briefing ended.  Updating your map files takes about one minute! (We timed it)  Here is a short video that shows you the process.  That is a pretty easy way to make sure you always have an up to date map while you are flying and especially for an area with a complex PZ map like the National Balloon Classic.  Text me your name & email at 407-670-5000 or send me an email with your information and I will make sure you are “Following the Classic Map files for 2022.

The Hot Air app

Just a reminder to all of those pilots who use the HotAir.app.  There is a 107 page tutorial on the HotAir.app available in the Download Center of HotAirBalloonist.com.  If you are new to the app the tutorial presentation is a must.  Even if you have used the app for a long while there may be things in the app that you did not know it could do.  Did you know you could place a waypoint on the fly or AirDrop your KML file to someone?  Yes there are 107 pages of great information and best of the entire download is FREE for HAB members.  Just log in and go to the Tutorial Presentations section of the Download Center.  We have pinned the HotAir.app tutorial on the top of the list so it is easy to find.  OR JUST CLICK HERE.  Remember membership has many rewards, encourage your fellow pilots to consider becoming a member of HAB.  One of the cool features of the HotAir.app is the Glympse is the Public Hastag.  During the National Balloon Classic include the Hashtag #NBC in your To: section of the Glympse bar.  This will allow others to watch you fly by entering the URL  WWW.Glympse.com/!NBC into any browser.  I promise LongTap.jpgI will be watching!!  Another new feature on the HotAir.app is the inflight “Long Tap”  This feature allows you to place a waypoint on the map while you are in flight.  For example if you have just dropped your marker on a target and want to see the track you need to the next target all you do is place your finger on the next target and hold it there for a few seconds and the HotAir.app will place a waypoint in the map and draw a line from your position to that target!  You now have a “Road to Follow” to your next target.  You can view the Distance, Bearing and ETA at the top of your map screen and simply hit the “Clear” button to delete.  Check out page 7 in the HotAir.app tutorial for more information.

As I have said several times here in this month’s newsletter I will be at the National Balloon Classic most of the week.  I am happy to help anyone I can with not only the HotAir.app but with downloading files and using the HotAirBalloonist.com site.  Just seek me out and use me!  There is no doubt it will be a very emotional time for our entire family and a super special occasion for us all.  I want all of our friends and ballooning family to know how much you are each appreciated by all of the Thompson Clan and….

Thank you for all you do for the Balloon World. 



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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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