National Balloon Classic Pilots Hit the Mark

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INDIANOLA, Iowa- The National Balloon Classic is known for its night glows, and mass ascensions, but in the morning, pilots are all business.  Pilots Thursday morning met to learn of the competition for the morning.  Due to wind from the west balloons were launched from west of Indianola.  The pilots had a task, to put markers on three targets in the area.

One target was in northwest Indianola, another was at the Balloon Field, a third was east of the field.

“The object of this task is to play the marker as far as possible from the X within the scoring area," said Balloon Meister, Bill Clemons.  "The rain washed the paint away, we believe you can still see the lines."

Under the best of conditions a competition like this can be difficult, as there is no way to steer a balloon, pilots only have control over their altitude, by using the propane burner to heat air to rise, or letting air out to go down.

At the balloon field the competition involved two markers, one to land on the X, and another far from the X.

Though it was a beautiful morning, several pilots chose not to fly, due to tricky winds aloft.

“Its real low and slow on the surface, but about 125 feet up it’s 29 miles an hour kind of sporty," said Mike Oberman, of Queen City, Missouri.

An evening flight is set for Thursday at 6:30 pm, gates open at 4:30 pm, admission $5 for six and over.

You can check the National Balloon Classic website here.

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