MATT LEADER/Special to the County News
Photos from a balloon launch
We’ve all seen them floating gently on warm summer breezes in the fading light of early evening. We count ourselves lucky when we happen to catch sight of one, and when they first appear on the horizon we know that summer has arrived.
The 11th annual Red, White and Blue Balloon Rally last weekend at Letchworth State Park brought together over 25 hot air balloons— from single seaters to 10-person baskets. Balloonists made the trek from as far away as Florida and New Hampshire.
Sean Quigley of Portageville, who heads the rally as “Balloon Master,” makes the ultimate decision about whether or not conditions are suitable for balloon flights.
“Today’s conditions were absolutely perfect,” said Quigley shortly after landing from his one hour flight Saturday. Early morning and early evening are the best times for flight, as the heat of midday tends to cause turbulence and make flights unsafe.
Quigley, who has logged over 2,100 flights over the course of his 25 year piloting career, developed his interest in ballooning at a young age.
“I read about it in Popular Mechanics when I was 10 years old,” he remembers. “I used to send off little helium balloons with messages attached to them.”
Click on a thumbnail below to launch a slideshow by Matt Leader.