Balloon Race Rain Shaft

Wished I had a better camera with me, but was working at the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview Friday as a heavy, though tiny cell passed west of the airport. The lightning was gorgeous, and this shot from my camera phone doesn't do the rain shaft justice. It was gorgeous.

On the other hand, we had gone to get funnel cakes, and forgot the mast on our microwave truck was up. After we ran back, my photographer was praying that lightning wouldn't strike as he had his hand on the metal toggle switch to put down the mast... this as he was grounding the whole thing by standing on the moist grass. Heh.

No one killed.

[Broken External Image]:
I sure hope no one was dumb enough to launch their balloons in that weather.

I love hot-air ballons. My dad used to fly them all of the time when I was a kid. I've only been up a few times; twice here in Texas, and once in Colorado. Oh, and in Albuquerque when my mom was pregnant with me.

I remember being on the chase crew a lot as a kid where we'd follow the balloon and be there in the field to help them land smoothly. Perhaps maybe that is part of the reason I am so drawn to chasing tornados.

We still have a hot air balloon in the driveway at dad is such a packrat that when his balloon got too old and worn to safely fly, he just kept it in the driveway. It's been there ever since I was a baby.

But anyway, nice picture!
I love flying... though have only been in a balloon once back in 2000... one shaped like the sun. I'm nearly 6'5" so I thought I might have a bald spot from the burner. It was toasty.

We crash landed in an apartment complex because we couldn't get enough altitude to clear power lines. It was hilarious seeing Mr. Sunny (or whatever it was called) draped over these apt buildings.

On Friday morning the "Pandamonium" balloon (shaped like a giant panda) hit power lines and deflated. No one injured. With 75 balloons it seems like this happens every year.