National Balloon Classic



The wind carried me off to the southeast of Indianola. After my intial acceleration coming off the field, my speed did not increase much as I ascended, staying in the 16 to 19 mph range. I released a few balloons to slow my ascent, but remained in a slow climb.


Jason Cross



The country was surprisingly pretty from above. The fields were different textures and shades of green, depending on the type of crop. There were wooded areas here and there. Small creeks were evident mostly from the trees and vegetation lining them, and many farms had large ponds.




I continued to rise to about 3000 feet AGL. It had been in the 80's and humid back at the balloon field, but up at altitude the temperature was pleasant. About twenty minutes into my flight, I could see the hot-air balloons starting to launch in the distance.



I watched my crew following in the truck. It was hard to tell one truck from another at that altitude, but I called out landmarks I thought they were passing via radio, and they agreed. I watched them work their way east and sometimes south on the grid of roads. I tracked their progress on the map provided by the Classic. I asked Marj to check the wind whenever they stopped, and she reported back that the wind on the surface had calmed quite a bit. With that news I was able to relax a bit, knowing that my landing would probably not involve digging a furrow with my face.



After a time I was nearing the edge of the map. I called down and said I intended to fly on, as long as I was not headed fora large river or the Grand Canyon of Iowa or other obstacle. Mark, one of the Classic volunteers who had joined my crew on chase, told me I was probably OK.