LOOKING FOR SOMEWHERE TO LAND

LookDown26, 30785 bytes
People came out of their houses and waved and shouted up to us as we passed low over the town. We could hear them clearly and they could hear us too, as the ballon is virtually silent when its burners are not in operation.

MindTheTree27, 29191 bytes
As we flew across Warwick looking for somewhere to land, we came close enough to this tree for the basket to brush against it. Apparently if really pushed for space a pilot can deliberately do this, allowing the balloon to swing forward so that a quick yank on the red hawser that controls the main vents at the top of the envelope will allow a controlled descent into the space right next to the tree. Our pilot had once pulled off this stunt and successfully landed in a layby, where police obligingly arived to cordon him off minutes later, but we knew of a bigger target a bit further north, so we flew on low above the town.

BetweenTrees28, 17742 bytes
As we neared the ground the wind carried us between these two trees, towards our landing place, and we ducked into the basket with our heads against the padded lips of the compartments we were in, feet and arms braced, ready to return to earth...

Deflating30, 19505 bytes
Phew, we were down - the ballon bounced twice, before settling to earth, and it was a while before Roger gave us permission to emerge from our crouched positions, low in the basket. He warned us - belatedly - that there was a risk that the basket might yet be caught by the wind and overturn, but this did not happen. The envelope rapidly deflated, and we straightened up. Soon we were able to get out, two by two from opposite sides, without fear that the others would be swept back up into the air.

More pictures... Packing up after the flight