Hot Air Balloons to Fly over Lake Travis in August
With summer in full swing and the start of school around the corner, it’s that time of year again! On Saturday August 11th, 2012, residents of Lakeway and visitors to Lake Travis will look up to catch a spectacular sight— hot air balloons taking off on their annual flight from Mansfield Dam. The beautiful multi-colored balloons, which will lift off around sunrise, are part of an annual August flight sponsored by the Central Texas Ballooning Association. Want to catch the action? Grab your kids or camera and head to Mansfield Dam before dawn! The entrance to the park is off FM-620 immediately west of the Dam. The balloonists meet at the west end of the dam a half-hour before the sun rises. Curious about hot air ballooning? Below are some frequently asked questions, with answers compliments of the Central Texas Ballooning Association! Quiz your spouse, friend or balloon-loving child! For more information, call (512) 481-CTBA. Ballooning FAQ “Each balloon flight is a unique experience. Flights in the Austin area are usually at dawn, when the winds are the calmest. Usually balloons are launched when the winds are less than 8 mph. Because balloon pilots have very little control over steering the balloon, they fly wherever the winds blow them.” –CTBA What are hot air balloons made of? The envelope is rip-stop nylon, and the gondola is usually made of wicker. How big are balloons? Balloons range from 30,000 to 800,000 cubic feet. The most popular are about 75,000 cubic feet and are six to seven stories tall. How do you go up and down? The balloon ascends by adding heat from the burner, and descends by opening the deflation panel at the top of the envelope or by allowing the air in the envelope to cool slightly. Do you use any instruments? Balloon instruments include an altimeter, variometer (rate of climb) and a pyrometer (temperature gauge). What kind of fuel do you use? Propane. Most balloons carry at least 30 gallons. How high do you fly? From treetop level up to several thousand feet. Can you fly any time of day? Flights are usually at dawn or just before sunset, when the winds are the calmest. How long is a flight? Usually one to two hours. Is it cold when you are flying? It is not much colder than it is on the ground; only about three degrees cooler per thousand feet of altitude. How long does it take to inflate a balloon? About 15 to 20 minutes. Is the sport regulated? The pilots and balloons operate under FAA regulations. Is the balloon ride quiet? Except for the periodic operation of the burner, it’s so quiet that you can talk to people on the ground. How can we get a ride? Commercial pilots can be hired for rides. Most balloons can carry two to four passengers. Email the CTBA if you would like to be referred to our commercial pilots. The Austin REALTORS® at Regent Property Group appreciate organizations like the Central Texas Ballooning Association for sharing the beauty and science of modern ballooning and for keeping Austin weird! Our REALTORS® also help homebuyers stay on top of the Austin real estate market. On the lookout for a Luxury Home or condo? From Eanes ISDto Great Hills, we are here to help. Check out Austin Home Search! The CTBA is non-profit corporation founded in 1984 to promote, develop and aid the art and science of hot air ballooning in Central Texas. The Association provides friendship and camaraderie in group ballooning activities in Austin and the surrounding area. They welcome new members! Dues are $15 per year for an individual or a family. Meetings are held on the second Monday of every month at Tres Amigos Restaurant (at the intersection of Highway 290E & 183S). Anyone interested in the sport of ballooning is invited to attend!