Air New Zealand Activities

Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise

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Connecting Balloon to Gondola (Basket)

Photo of Melbourne Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise Connecting Balloon to Gondola (Basket)

We'd been picked up at our hotel in downtown Melbourne around 4:20am! ARRRGH! Everyone met at Rochford Winery, checked in, selected from the breakfast options and then were transported to "launch pad". There were 3 balloons going up. Each held 16 passengers plus the pilot. Now at the launch pad, our pilot (Brian) and another ground crew member connected the balloon to the basket! Brian definitely wanted to be sure he returned softly to the ground! That was good for us!

Photo by: Anonymous, March 2010

Getting Air Into The Balloon

Photo of Melbourne Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise Getting Air Into The Balloon

Now all connected to the basket, the balloon needed to have air in it. The ground crew set up a huge fan on either side of the gondola. Brian asked for volunteers to hold the balloon so it could capture the air. Several folks volunteered. He picked the first two who came forward. We didn't volunteer as we wanted to take pictures and video!

Photo by: Anonymous, March 2010

Getting The Balloon Off the Ground

Photo of Melbourne Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise Getting The Balloon Off the Ground

Note that the basket is on its side. After some time spent "fanning" air into the balloon, Brian hit the burner to heat the air. That, in turn, gave the air in the balloon a reason to rise off the ground... and, at the same time to lift the basket to an upright position.

Photo by: Anonymous, March 2010

All Passengers (and the pilot) Aboard

Photo of Melbourne Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise All Passengers (and the pilot) Aboard

The basket had openings on the sides and we learned those were to use as footholds to climb in. Tom and I were the last to get in and in so doing, we managed to get a corner. Four couples had corners, two other couples were in between on either side of the pilot. The support ground crew folks were trluly accommadating in taking pictures of folks with their own cameras, thus this picture! That's Tom & me in the middle.

Photo by: Anonymous, March 2010

Looking Back Down at the "Launch Pad"

Photo of Melbourne Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise Looking Back Down at the "Launch Pad"

As previously mentioned, there were three balloons going up this morning. From what we could determine, our pilot was the "chief" pilot and we were first up. What a delight to be able to look down and see our two sister balloons rising below us.

Photo by: Anonymous, March 2010

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