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Parts of the balloon and crew members responsibility for each part

There are several parts of the balloon that crew members will be positioned at during inflation and deflation. Please follow either the crew chiefs or pilots instructions for each position.

The Fan

Inflation Fan Operation

The fan is one of the most dangerous items on the launch field.

It needs to be handled with great care

The pilot will place and start the fan.

Know where the kill switch and speed controls are located.

Tie back long hair and secure loose clothing, lanyards, or dangling items.

Never move the fan when it is running.

Stand behind the fan with your feet firmly planted and both hands on the top rail.

Never tip the fan back while running.

If necessary to move the fan (for safety reasons, like basket flopping around), hit the kill switch first, then move it and restart (if directed by pilot).

When signaled by pilot, hit the kill switch, wait for blade to stop, then go to opposite side of the fan. Tilt the fan towards you with a foot on the base for balance. Move the fan out of the way and place up by the front tire of the chase vehicle.

Don't forget to load the fan before leaving the launch site.

One crew member will be positioned at the fan


The Throat

Throat Operation

The throat crew's job is to hold the mouth of the balloon open so the fan can fill it with cold air. Clear any debris between the fan and the envelope. The pilot will position you at your station. Place one foot inside the throat pulling to the outside so the bottom part of the throat is tight and flat on the ground. Try to keep any air from getting underneath the envelope. On the right side is a small white electrical wire that should not be stepped on. Hold the envelope by the ropes (with your gloves on) up in the air to allow the air to fill the balloon. This will get easier as the balloon inflates.

If it is a little breezy, the balloon may want to roll from side to side. Do your best to hang on, but if you need to change hands to a lower/higher rope, don't just "let go". Ease off of one while pulling on the other so the balloon doesn't roll as easily. Be sure to have your feet on the outside of the ropes to eliminate getting tied up.

When the balloon is "cold-packed" and the pilot is ready for hot inflation, he will signal you to gently release the throat, move around the basket, and put weight on the back of the basket. The pilot will then fire the burners and heat the air, causing the balloon to rise. As it rises, watch your feet and let the basket come up with the balloon. Keep your full weight on the basket while always keeping one foot on the ground at all times.


        The Crown Line                                                                                                                Crown Line Operation

A preferred inflation technique is inflating out of the bag. Check with your pilot if he/she uses a different method. In the "inflating out of the bag" method, the crown line person and at least one helper will slowly carry the envelope bag away from the basket as the fan inflates the balloon. Once the entire envelope is out, the crown line person (with pilot's help) will retrieve the crown line rope and extend it in a straight line away from the basket. Be careful not to pull fast on ropes that are in contact with the balloon fabric as it can cause the friction that can "burn" the balloon. The toter must take the envelope bag back to the chase vehicle.

After the crown line is straightened, the pilot will "set the top" by fastening Velcro tabs in place. The crown line person is usually in position at the end of the rope, but does not pull on the crown line yet. After all the tabs are set, the pilot will give a signal to the crown line person to pull on the line, which usually has a ski rope handle on the end.

Key Crown Line Points:

  1. 1.
    Don't put the rope around any part of you.

  2. 2.
    Make sure you have gloves on.

  3. 3.
    Pull with your weight- knees bent - pull hard and steady.

  4. 4.
    Act as an anchor, don't try to counter the roll of the balloon.

  5. 5.
    Keep pressure on the balloon as it rises until the pilot tells you to come in.

  6. 6.
    When signaled by pilot, disconnect the ski rope and hand the crown line to the pilot for connecting to frame.

  7. 7.
    Then put weight on the basket.

Pilot- Greg

(503) 510-7835

I’ll Fly Away Balloon Adventures

                                                                     Serving Central and Western Oregon