Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hot Air

So you got me started on hot air balloons anyway, didn’t you? Ok. Did you know that Albuquerque, NM is considered the hot air balloon capital of the world? Did you know that the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is held here every October? Well now you do. Which is why we have hot air balloons frequently flying over our home here at the Tumbleweed Crossing. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing really wrong with hot air balloons. In fact seeing one or even 300 in the air at a time can be quite an awe-inspiring site. I still like watch them and to take pictures of them. But in their own place, which does not include my home. And again don’t get me wrong there are a lot of very nice, considerate, responsible, balloon pilots who wouldn’t want to infringe on anyone else’s privacy. But then there are the pilots who don’t care. Most balloonist are intelligent enough to understand that not everyone wants a balloon flying over their home at 7:00 a.m. every morning. Most pilots are thoughtful enough to follow the rules and regulations set down by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). But others don’t. Which is why I frequently (3 or 4 times a week, if it’s not to windy. One good thing about wind is it keeps the balloons from flying.) get woke up by the dogs bouncing on my bed and barking as a hot air balloon comes flying over our house.
Balloonists say that their balloons are a ‘quiet’ sport/recreation. Not so. Not if you have good hearing and your dog has better hearing. Hot air balloons are kept aloft by heating the air in the balloon with propane gas. Every time the pilot hits the propane burner to add more hot air to the balloon it makes a very loud hissing noise – like a super-huge housecat hissing. I can hear this hissing noise when the balloons are as much as a half mile away, and my dogs seem to be able to hear it before the balloons can be seen as a tiny speck on the horizon.
Ok, you say, so the dogs bark for a while. Well it can take that hissing balloon as long as an hour to fly from where ever it is coming from, over our property, and then to disappear to where ever it is going.
And to make things worse is the matter of what horses or other livestock think of balloons. Now you have to remember that horses, ponies, and mules are animals that are food for other animals in the wild. Another words they RUN when frightened. And balloons frighten them. Wouldn’t you be frightened if a UFO descended from above near you? The horse is more scared than you would be in the same situation. I have heard of horses that became so scared they injured themselves and had to be killed, if they didn’t kill their self outright, and others who were crippled for life.
Thankfully my horses seen to ignore the balloon as long as it goes flying on across and doesn’t try to land nearby. I have had pilots that wanted to land in my field right next to the horses. How thoughtless could they be? Are they really that lacking in judgment? Yes, many of them are, especially if they don’t know anything about horses and livestock.
I have had balloonist think it was funny to see animals running in fear from their balloons. I have had balloonist make a game out of seeing how close they could come to my trees and pull the leaves from the tree. This is one very dangerous game for the balloonist and me. I have seen the chase crews (people in pickups, and other vehicles that follow the balloon to where ever it lands) brake every driving law ever invented.
All I ask is that hot air balloon pilots and their friends try to understand and respect the fact that they are flying over my home. It is were I live, and where the animals I love live. To those pilots that do understand and show consideration for me and what is mine –
I Thank You.

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