May 27, 2007

Crown Line Cam

Ballooning this morning - I chased a flight from Berlin to Cheshire, in a rare wind to the south and west. Intrepid pilot BB (Balloon Boy) wisely had us meet at the commuter lot on Rte. 10 - we drove to Sage Park in Berlin for the launch, and landed at a driving range back on Rte. 10 in Cheshire. Nice flight, nice track which took the balloons right down the Shuttle Meadow reservoir. (good photos were taken, I am told)

My photos - from the crew perspective. A more conventional landing shot above. Below, the more innovative "crown line camera" perspective, as I pulled the balloon over with my right hand and snapped some pictures with my left. The Crown Line is the long rope that runs from the top of the balloon (i.e. - the crown) to the ground - its used during inflation to keep the balloon steady and pull it open, and at deflation to drop the balloon in a specific place, and to start to squeeze the air out.

Most passengers and onlookers do not get to see this perspective - usually clustering around the basket. It's a view I know well. In the winter, the warm air escaping from the balloon is a bit of a treat, in the middle of July, it't like opening a 105,000 cubic foot oven.

I think I have torn my rotator cuff over the years, tugging down large balloons via the crown line. I am sure this morning's antics - one armed crown line wrangling while I snapped photos with the other arm) did not help. But it was not a windy day - so not too much risk.....

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