Wind, Rain and Shopping Malls
We just had another day of not flying. The weather set in overnight and wrote off any hopes of ballooning.
There was a vague hope of flying this morning, so we met up with Team USA just before 6am but the pre-frontal winds picked up and it was game over. By lunchtime it was pissing with rain and it ended up being another day of cruising the shopping malls, buying bits and pieces.
The front moved through pretty quickly but has left us with some heavy wind and rain. As I am typing this (before crashing for the night) the radar is showing scattered light showers. It should clear by morning, so the only question should be if the wind will drop.
We did have to register for the event this afternoon. That involved standing in a queue of pilots for 45 minutes (flashbacks of Disneyland) and then the spend 5 minutes showing all your paper work to prove you are who you say you are, that you are a pilot and that your balloon is legitimate. There is always a few nerve-racking moments in that queue where your gut tells you that you have forgotten some piece of paperwork, even though you know you have checked numerous times. Fortunately it was all in order and now we can compete.
It hasn’t been such clear sailing for the Japanese Team. They have an issue that their ballooning federation is not recognized by the Japanese aviation authority, hence it is not recognized by the rest of the World. The US FAA decided a couple of weeks ago that the Japanese pilots did not have legitimate licences and their balloons were not certified to fly in the US.
Fortunately Team USA found a solution, where they bought all of the Japanese pilot’s balloons (for a couple of dollars) so they could get them certified and registered as US aircraft. Then they got the Japanese pilots to get their US student licences which allows them to fly solo in an US aircraft. So the FAA were inspecting their balloons this morning and when I last saw them this afternoon, the US registration certificates were starting to be issued.
Kath’s Aunt Liz and Uncle John came down from Canada today to join us for a couple of days. Kath has not seen them for about 20 years. So it was nice to catch up with them and have dinner. We found another nice restaurant in the center of town. Once again we got beaten by the massive size of the US servicing. Sean and I shared a massive Taco pizza that could have fed the entire table. Short of turning this into a food blog, here is my daily food photo.
So hopefully we will get a flight in the morning. It is the first official practice flight, so we have to meet at 6am for a practice briefing. This will give the officials a chance to practice running some tasks and a chance for the pilots to practice flying some.