Aeronautics-lovers gather in Hamilton once a year, they are professionals and those who are just keen on aeronautics. The event’s name is “Balloons over Waikato”. The word “Waikato” may be not clear to you, actually it is the Maori name of the place. Last year there was a strong wind during the event, and the balloons were carried away in the direction of the river. As chance would have it, we were late, and were stuck in the morning traffic hold-up in Hamilton (!).
This time it turned out much better. We left early, came in time and viewed the whole show from balloonists’ (a really beautiful word) briefing until the very moment when the balloons’ got beyond the horizon.
To continue with what has been said please view five dozens of pictures with comments below. They are interesting, you will like them.
Before dawn, around five-thirty in the morning, the show participants gathered on an artificially illuminated glade.
Some brought gas apparatuses in trailers, others used carriages to deliver them to the place of the event.
The signs with the balloons’ photos posted about and the table on the information display showed to the participants their arrangement on the glade and the priorities established.
This is a logo of the annual festival “Balloons over Waikato”.
After a short briefing, and analyzing of the weather report and a wind rose, it was commanded to unload the balloon gondolas.
As one of the organizers have noted, the New Zealand festival is one of few places in the world where one can freely observe the launching process of hot air balloons. It has been emphasized that there is no such possibility in the USA. Perhaps it is an important information.
All gas apparatuses are to be tested before the launch. A masculine activity.
In the center of the glade there was set a radio cabin to broadcast the show.
That guy proposed to burn gas “on-camera” and was really pleased with the result.
The day was breaking and people both old and young started gathering on the glade.
As for this “brutal Gandolf” I planned to keep it for one of the posts on any of the following themes: “Russia is shit”, “There is no God”, “Mortgage for louts”.
Gondolas are being transported about the ground.
Spectators started to spread checkered blankets for picnics across the grass.
That’s how a hot air balloon looks when folded.
It was dawning. The first to take the air were professionals: the companies providing tourist services. Three quarters of an hour cost 300 NZD.
The inscription on the orange trailer is “An egg a day is now OK”. The fact is New Zealanders watch the cholesterol level. Doctors recommend to eat not more than a dozen of eggs a week. Perhaps there even exist some low cholesterol eggs which are “harmless”. A ready advertising hot air balloon looks this way.
After the sun rose the television screw from Morning News came.
Hot air balloon show is a family holiday.
Hot air balloons, even being semi-inflated, are really huge structures and an awfully ineffective transportation.
For the balloon cupola not to be moved by an accidental wind gust and the flame not to burn a hole into the balloon’s shell, one of the crew members usually holds the balloon by the rope tied to the top of it.
I liked that a single man was able to hold that huge construction with wonderful ease.
One by one the balloons took a vertical position.
The moment, when an enormous balloon stops being a shriveled cover and starts gaining the shape, can be compared in effectiveness with the moment of taking-off.
As I have already mentioned the spectators were allowed to observe the process in the immediate vicinity with the air vehicles.
The balloon with a nice inscription “hamilton” was the first to take the air.
This is one of my favorite photos in this report.
It is very important to watch the shell’s thin material not to be melted by the flame.
The person in the orange vest on the left is holding a fan to inflate the balloon’s shell which is still “lifeless”.
It seems to me that “web-marketing” in the Ultrait company brings in good return. More than thirty balloons participated in the show in 2012. Every year the organizers promise more participants, higher flights and more powerful balloons.
The very moment when a balloon is to be hold because it has already risen but has not tear-shaped yet.
A Kiwi guy with a mustache is watching the process of hot-air-balloons’ launching.
Pilots, one by one, take the air in their aircrafts.
The shape of the balloon on the left is a kiwi-shape (it’s with its back to you). The balloon on the right, as you see, is a kangaroo. And for some reason it is in mittens. The loudspeaker’s voice said that it was the first launch of that huge balloon, and that such balloons were very hard to make.
There is enough room in the sky. We didn’t have even the slightest feeling that the balloons could collide. But half a year ago, in January 2011, while landing, a balloon hooked a power line, caught fire and crashed down. 11 people were killed in that awful tragedy. No one survived.
If we don’t dramatize the event it’s spectacular.
A small-sized balloon of a single pilot was the last to take the air. There, in the right hand corner, you can see a kiwi-balloon facing the camera.
Over a period of one hour all the balloons left the take-off area and vanished into thin air. Especially skilled balloonists promised to get back by means of their balloonist’s intuition.
I hope you’ve liked my photo report and believe it to be interesting enough to share it with your friends. Thanks.