Competition Director in Colorado

I am currently in the US on the way to Boston for a week at our head office. I decided that on the way to Boston I would swing through Denver to hang out with my friends Chris and Anna for a couple of days. Chris is part of a new group of balloon pilots that have set up a competition ballooning club that are learning to be competition pilots. He asked if I would run a training seminar and be the director of their weekend flight. I graciously obliged.

After a 3am wake up, we drove an hour to Colorado Springs to meet up with the 14 pilots that were going to fly that morning. The winds were uncharacteristically calm and waffley, so none of the locals could really provide me with insights into what the weather was going to do. So I ended up setting an Fly In, Maximum Distance Double Drop (with loggers) and a Judge Declared Goal. I was pretty sure that whatever happened people would be able to at least get a result on a couple of the tasks.

The winds were so variable, that half the field took off in the north and the other half took of in the south. I spent an hour standing at one of the targets getting depressed that nobody was going to make it to either of the targets. But luckily some balloons eventually came of the horizon and nailed the target. It was a great morning and was really interesting to see how well these beginners could do. I think I certainly challenged them, but they coped well.

After the flight I had to download all the tracks and sort out the results for all 14 pilots and 3 tasks. It gave me a great appreciation of what the scoring team has to do at a nationals.

The seminar went well. Lots of interested people and interesting questions. They appreciated it a lot, because it is difficult for them to get any help and support of the US competition pilots.

So even though I had fun, I definitely decided that I would much rather be a pilot than a competition director.


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