Grape_Bullet.gif (1221 bytes)  Concord II  Grape_Bullet.gif (1221 bytes)

This was our second year putting up the "bunch of grapes" cluster balloon at the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival.  This year's Concord II was 128 rather than 156 balloons, and had  a looser, more natural and somewhat "pointier" shape than last year's Concord.  The festival lived up to it's nickname of "Fog Festival" although the sun appeared to be shining up above the clouds....

inflation

Starting at 4 AM, in the dark.  The balloons are huge, shiny and wonderful -- seven months is too long to go without flying with helium balloons!

Launch JW02.jpg (11245 bytes)
Judy Wagner
Launch RJ04.jpg (18640 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Launch RJ01.jpg (20300 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Launch RJ02.jpg (21205 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Launch RJ03.jpg (19804 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Inflation RJ01.jpg (20590 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Inflation RJ02.jpg (24684 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz

 

Grape_Bullet.gif (1221 bytes)

 

Launch DE01.jpg (22652 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

Grape_Bullet.gif (1221 bytes)

 

 

bouncing around

Waiting for the fog to clear enough to fly, I adjust the balloons and ballast so I'm almost weightless, and do some slow-motion leaping around the balloon field.

Jumping XX01.jpg (23332 bytes)
Louise Hendrickson
Jumping RJ02.jpg (15192 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Jumping RJ01.jpg (16293 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Jumping LH01.jpg (11620 bytes)
Landis Hendrickson
Launch DE02.jpg (18281 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Jumping DE01.jpg (17374 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Jumping DE03.jpg (14786 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

 

 

 

Jerry XX01.jpg (20330 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz

on top of Jerry's balloon

Ernie laughs at me when I say I want to climb on top of Jerry's hot-air balloon -- but Ernie is no fun anymore since he started teaching school full time.  But he knows me too well, and up I go on Jerry's crown line.

 

Jerry DE01.jpg (28755 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

 

Jerry RJ02.jpg (17567 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Jerry RJ01.jpg (19890 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Jerry DE02.jpg (11085 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Jerry DE03.jpg (11124 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Jerry RJ03.jpg (14001 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz
Takeoff DE02.jpg (12160 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

 

 

aloft

It's hard to hold on while I'm hovering on top of 'Hot Rocks', especially when Jerry
vents a lot of hot-air out the top.  Finally, I decide not to wait for Jerry. 

Takeoff DE04.jpg (14125 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Takeoff EH01.jpg (12257 bytes)
Ernie Hartt
Takeoff DE03.jpg (11843 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

I let go
of the
crown line,
and
up
I
go

Takeoff DE05.jpg (7823 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl
Takeoff DE06.jpg (11745 bytes)
(c) Dean Ekdahl

It's overcast, and I spend half an hour flying around Lake Skinner, just under the cloud ceiling.

  Takeoff JN01.jpg (17444 bytes)

Takeoff LH01.jpg (5098 bytes)
Landis Hendrickson

 

Takeoff RJ01.jpg (10881 bytes)
(c) Robin Jutkiewicz


shadows and clouds

Finally the clouds seem to be breaking.

High DE01.jpg (6350 bytes)

 

 

I
float
up
through
a hole
in
the
clouds


(while retaining visual
reference to the surface, per
FAR 103.21) 

 

 

(c) Dean Ekdahl (3 images, left)
High DE02.jpg (5055 bytes)
High DE03.jpg (4046 bytes) High JN04.jpg (5695 bytes)

I see
my shadow
in a "glory":
a circle
rainbow.

High JN05.jpg (5919 bytes)
High JN01.jpg (6039 bytes) High JN06.jpg (4708 bytes)
High JN02.jpg (6464 bytes)

Up
above, the
sun
is
shining,
and
everything
is
blue
and
white.

High JN03.jpg (6727 bytes)

 

landing

The clouds break up.
I land back in Lake Skinner park where I took off, and a ranger drives up to lend us a hand.

Landing JN01.jpg (21565 bytes)
Ernie Hartt

It's a beautiful morning.

Grape_Bullet.gif (1221 bytes)

 

Concord II

Ernie Hartt, Crew Chief
Jerry Sebby, Inflation Systems 
Dave Lynch, Safety Officer
Mark Franklin, Supervision
Landis Hendrickson, Supervision

Chris Ballinger
Janis Ballinger
Lindy Crom
Vicki Crom
Susan Dawson
Doaa Aboul-Hosn
Kristina Lynch
Kim Lynch
Robin Mc Williams
Helen Quayle
Larry Vandenberg

Photography: Dean Ekdahl, Ernie Hartt, Landis Hendrickson, Louise Hendrickson, Robin Jutkiewicz, John Ninomiya, Judy Wagner
Launch JW01.jpg (33649 bytes)
Judy Wagner
It was quite dark and I wasn't sure who showed up -- but I know there were more than I listed!  Please let me know (ninomiya@earthlink.net) if I've left your name out!
Thanks to: Gary Hardison, Rusty and Cherise Manning, Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, Cameron Welding Supply

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