[balloon-makers] Wild Bills New Balloon !!!!
cpackdo at citynet.net
Mon Jul 8 17:37:14 CDT 2002
Its beautiful ! On July 3,4,5th I had the opportunity to crew for the
United States debut of the Canadian Maple Leaf Balloon built by Bill Whelan
and the Eh Team. They arrived at the 6th Annual Sunrise/BB&T Rotary Balloon
Festival fresh from a 12 hour drive bringing with them a beautiful 105,000
cu.ft.balloon with 10 foot red Maple leafs on a white background with red
accent panels. A look through the throat shows the attention to detail with
even the parachute being decorated with 3 foot applied Maple Leafs on a
red/white background . The top is a combination parachute/springtop which is
quite easy to pull ( I was able to pull the top on landing at two
occasions). This balloon was a real crowd pleaser and a crowd magnet as Bill
dropped small paper Canadian flags to the fairgoers below ( creating a small
stampede as kids young and old scrambled for the flags).
Bill, Gary and Carol were most hospitable and patient, educating us in
the techniques and fine art of crewing. The typical day was 95 F and 90%
humidity and light winds. I was able to witness a great dropline landing
into a postage stamp, tree lined pasture field with a smooth landing for the
passengers. They were having so much fun they didn't want to get out ot the
basket ( and in fact rode in the basket seats in the truck the short 2 to3
My 11 y.o. daughter helped crew Friday morning and when Bill asked if she
would like to go up it took about a tenth of a second to generate an
enthusiastic "YES !" She has talked about it for days The Eh Team was always
mindful of questions from observers particulary the interest of children.
While Wild Bill was piloting , Gary showed us the the finer points of
crewing and organization. Carol made us feel at home and part of the team.We
learned so much in so little time about rigging tips, balloon construction,
seam assembly, stickmen placement and set up and inflation techniques.
Thank you to the Eh Team Wild Bill, Gary, and Carol! We also met several
others who are interested in home building including the Balloonmiester for
the event Bill Whidden.
I came back "fired up" and ready to start my envelope.
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