Balloon Launch - Saturday, April 13
One of the oldest and most beautiful forms of flight was first "test-piloted" by a sheep, a duck and a rooster! In 1783 the Montgolfier brothers loaded this menagerie aboard a balloon and launched it up, up and away! Later that year they themselves took to the skies in a balloon made of paper and silk.
Modern hot-air balloons are showcased early Saturday morning with a spectacular balloon launch. Pilots participating in this launch are part of a unique group of seasoned air-show veterans from around the world.
Hot air balloon pilots carry an FAA issued pilot's license in the "Lighter than Air" Category. In addition to passing the traditional written tests, a pilot is specially trained in balloon mechanics, safety, procedures, and the unique flight characteristics of balloons. Rated as either Private or Commercial, pilot competence can only be attained by extensive experience in actual flight.
Balloon events at SUN 'n FUN include limited daily demonstration flights from the Ultralight field by commercial firms - usually at 7:00 a.m. Saturday is the "big" event! Balloons will be launched in a traditional "Hare and Hound" race. As the name suggests, this event involves chasing a single balloon after it takes off. This balloon acts as the "hare" and floats in the air for a short while before other balloonsare allowed to take off. The balloons that follow are the "hounds", and the winning balloon is the one who lands closest to the "hare". This is a sight you won't want to miss, but you'll have to get up early.
The Balloon launch (weather permitting) takes place between 6:30-8:00 a.m., Saturday, April 13. Check out the BALLOON GLOW during the night air shows!