At 6pm in old town Winthrop, the sidewalks were packed full of spectators. Fans were roaring, and three hot air balloons were inflating to give a hot air balloon light show to the gathered crowd. This year’s hot air balloon glow in Winthrop was very special. Three balloons were inflated, and our good friend Jay, inflated one of the most interesting balloons anyone in the pacific balloon community had ever seen.
The 1972 hot air balloon was engineered by Don Picard, the father of modern day hot air ballooning. It also happened to be the 19th modern hot air balloon ever created in the US, with the N number showing N19. The basket was custom built for a very short man no taller than 5′ 2″. Jay is over 6′ tall which means the top of the basket comes up just above his knee.
For 25 years this balloon sat in a cold storage unit, and since 1972 has only been used 7 or 8 times. This specific balloon is also the only diamond weave balloon that Don Picard ever built.
Another pilot named Bill also from Seattle, inflated his custom home built experimental cloud hopper. Imagine a corvette seat with a 20 gallon propane tank under the seat, and a burner just above your head. This balloon was built for the true solo adventurer.
If you’re interested in joining us next year in Winthrop for a flight, you’ll want to send us an email, or give us a call quickly. Our Friday, Saturday, and Sunday flights for 2017 will fill up very quickly. www.seattleballooning.com