Picture above courtesy of Jami Nielsen – FOX 46 Charlotte
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STATESVILLE (WSIC) – Hot air ballooning is a mix of science, skill and family.
The Carolina Balloon Fest celebrates 45 years in Statesville this weekend. Matt Lidinsky took WSIC to the skies Friday morning.
Matt’s entire family is in Statesville for the weekend, making the trip from New Jersey. We set-up near the I-40 / I-77 cloverleaf in Statesville for Friday morning’s flight. The basket and balloon envelop come out of the trailer, connections are made, then it’s time to inflate.
Matt’s Brother Mike helps with set-up before leading the chase operation to meet the balloon when it lands. With hot air added thanks to the burners, it’s time to fly. Balloons fly at sunrise and sunset because of the weather conditions. Friday’s picture-perfect sky and ideal weather meant a great flight for WSIC Engineer Frank Horvath and FOX 46 Assignment Editor Jami Nielsen.
On the ground, chasing a balloon is an art of it’s own. Mike employed his cell phone, radio and an eye on the sky to monitor his brother overhead. Today’s conditions were just right, allowing the balloon landed in the same spot where it took off from.
Matt and family will do this up to six times this weekend depending on the weather. Organizers of the Carolina Balloon Fest expect more than 35,000 people to visit the event.
Parking is on-site Friday. Saturday and Sunday, only those with prepaid VIP parking passes will be able to park on-site. A free park-and-ride shuttle is available for all other patrons at the Iredell County Fairgrounds in Troutman.