JACKSON TWP. – As balloonists and spectators gathered early Friday morning for the media portion of the flight 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic, there was something noticeably missing from the sky: balloons.
The flight was canceled for the second consecutive year after it became apparent that wind conditions were not conducive to safe flight patterns. That didn’t stop pilots and balloon fans from enjoying the fun designs and bright colors of the more than 50 balloons at the event.
Hot Air Balloon Classic 2021:Balloon Classic kicks off at Kent State/Stark campuses
Balloon Classic pilots could still inflate their balloons on land near the campuses of Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College. Some stayed on the ground while others hovered slightly above, attached by cables.
More balloon events are scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
Mike Lorentz, one of the pilots, said he was disappointed he couldn’t fly his balloon, a colorful patchwork of fabric named “Wasting Time”, although he understood why the decision had been made.
“I looked at the weather report a bit this morning and was concerned about the direction (of the wind) because it was towards Guangzhou, and it would be rather slow. If you can’t get past the city, there’s no there’s no place to really land in the city,” said Lorentz, of Marlboro Township. “It’s just not worth going that way, which is too bad because we want to fly and not stay on the ground.”
He added that although he would have preferred to fly, being grounded allows spectators to see the balloons up close. Those in the crowd were able to easily witness the process of raising a hot air balloon into the sky, albeit much lower than normal.
More to come for the HOF Balloon Classic 2022
As the balloons swelled and took shape, Michele Clark kept her eyes glued to the pitch. Clark, from South Euclid, has been a participant in the Balloon Classic for over 35 years and remains fascinated with the aircraft.
“I caught the virus very early,” Clark said. When she was in school in 1984, she was part of a friend’s crew who owned a hot air balloon. Although she could never buy one, she joked, she always loved seeing them fly and reliving her experiences.
Among the crowd were several couples who brought their children to enjoy the media theft. Ashley Arbaugh and Derrick Schweizer had attended the Balloon Classic for about 10 years before having children. This year, they came as a family to enjoy the festivities.
“I was a little disappointed when I saw they weren’t going to fly, but it’s so exciting to see them because you don’t often see hot air balloons,” Arbaugh said. Schweizer added that the couple’s eldest daughter, who is 2.5 years old, is determined to want to ride in one.
Become an aeronaut
Although some may assume that working with hot air balloons is complicated and hard to get involved with, Lorentz said, all it takes is a little commitment and anyone can be on the right path to become a balloonist.
Lorentz compared the training to get certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to become a pilot to the requirements to get a driver’s license. There’s a sequence of steps people have to go through to get certified, and it usually starts with being a crew member.
“We’re always looking for aircrew and people to help us, and someone who’s definitely interested in getting into aviation or becoming a pilot, you know, we’ll take it,” he said. declared. “It always helps to team up for a while before you start instead of just going out, buying a system and then trying it out because it’s very labor intensive.”
Emily Mouser, from Canton, has been a crew member of Lorentz for years and recently obtained her private balloon license, which means she can carry passengers but cannot derive commercial benefit from them. She plans to try for her commercial pilot’s license in the near future.
She has been around hot air balloons all her life, and she finds hot air ballooning to be peaceful. It’s in his blood, she said.
Like Lorentz, Mouser encouraged anyone interested in hot air balloons to get involved. For her, it’s easy.
“If you’re interested in balloons and you see one flying, go get it,” Mouser said. “And when he lands, say, ‘Hey, can I help?’ because they’re going to say yes, and you’ll learn so much.”
If you are going to:
friday july 29
- 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Dropping targets, hot air balloon education area, children’s inflatable play area, skydivers
- 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Balloon launches (weather permitting)
- 6:30 p.m.: Live music by SWAGG
- 8 p.m.: Donut contest
- 8:30 p.m.: Live music by New Wave Nation
- 9 p.m.: Night glow
- 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.: Balloon take-off (weather permitting)
- 8:00 am: Up, Up & Away 5K
- 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Target drop, hot air balloon education area, skydivers
- 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Balloon take-off (weather permitting)
- 6:30 p.m.: Live music by Chris Kraft
- 8:30 p.m.: Live music by Dustin Kines
- 10 p.m.: Fireworks
- 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.: Balloon take-off (weather permitting)