Monday, August 04, 2008

The landing

Well the story has gone to air on 60 minutes and here for those who missed it is the final part of the story showing the balloon landing.

I will have to try and get the full scene from Glenn and Heather and cut that together some time because there should be more to it than was used on the show.

Anyhow, it shows most of the action including the tree that I was using to slow us down a little (well that is what I am saying after the fact...) and some of the final drag once we made it into the clay pan, then back out the other side.

The interesting thing was that a few hundred meters past that tree, the ground dropped about 60 feet into the clay pan I was aiming for. At the time we were doing somewhere between 15 and 30 knots. 32knots was the number I last saw on the GPS at about 100 feet.

Truth be told I wanted to just clear the tree and the little cliff and touch down on the near side of the clay pan. With the balloon so lightly loaded (you can see how empty it is in the shots) if I had started a climb to get over the tree we would have been off into the sticks again before I got it on the deck.

Once it became apparent that we were going to skim the ridge and had lined up the tree, there was little choice but to hang on and just go through it and make sure that we flew over the cliff rather than drag down it.

The rebound threw us up a bit higher than I hoped and while venting the whole way we overshot the first half of the clay pan before touch down with the Lite Vent fully open.

The final drag was about 200m with sticks, bushes and rocks going everywhere.

Great fun.

I expect the full story will be available on the 60 minutes website in a day or two and I have a copy here that I will probably put on line in the near future with fingers crossed that Channel nines lawyers don't come after me :)