Are you interested in being a crew member? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or click HERE to fill out an application.
Is flight crew for you?
Do you love to watch the balloons inflate, take flight, and to CAREFULLY chase them to watch them land wherever the gentle breezes take them? Then being part of a chase crew is for you! Come join us for three fun-filled, hard working, action packed days. It’s a chance to make new and lasting friendships and lots of memories. A dedicated ground crew of two to six people for each balloon is needed to make every flight a success.
*Pilots and flight Crews MUST respect landowners fields…and must stop and ask permission and directions and the best approach to get to balloon.
Is crewing an easy job?
The crew is responsible for helping the pilot prepare for the flight. They help to setup the equipment by unloading everything from the trailer. They then roll out the envelope and lay the basket on its side. The propane tanks and burner are attached. A couple of members of the crew hold open the envelope while it fills with cold air (from a large fan). Once inflated enough with cold air they hold the skirt (base of the envelope) open as the burner is used to heat the air. While all of this is happening a crew member is holding onto the rope that is connected to the top of the balloon. This persons job is to provide weight so that the balloon doesn’t pop up too quickly. They then follow the balloon from the ground and communicate with the pilot to ensure a safe landing. It is hard work, but extremely rewarding. Best of all, there is always the chance that the pilot has room and says “Hop in!”.
The pilot and crew relationship is vital to a safe flight. All members move in the same direction, especially after they are briefed by the pilot on flight objectives. A good inflation and safe flight is not luck, but a well planned operation that includes all members of the team.
Every pilot has preferences for pre-flight procedures and will thoroughly instruct the crew before inflation. Some pilots will name an experienced handler their Crew Chief (CC) to facilitate communications and task distribution.
The chase vehicle and crew are extremely important to a balloon’s safe landing. This is the general crew’s goal and can extremely difficult to achieve at times. The chase crews primary job is to arrive at the projected landing site as fast as possible. The crew, pilot, and passengers must then deflate the balloon, fold it, and pack it back into its container. The gondola, burners, and envelope are then loaded aboard the chase vehicle for the return to launch site. All this must be done according to the manufacturer’s recommendation to ensure that the balloon will be in an airworthy condition for the next flight.