The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico in early October for 9 days, with about 750 balloons participating. It is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world — but that’s not what makes this event special.
So then, what makes this event spectacularly special?
The cool Albuquerque morning temperatures in October and the Albuquerque box! The “box” is a set of very predictable wind patterns that can be used to navigate the balloons — at low elevations the winds tend to be southerly (from the south), but at higher elevations they tend to be northerly.
Balloonists use these winds to navigate in a vertical box – this is beneficial to ballooning because then the balloon can take off and land in almost exactly the same spot. Balloon pilots do not have a way to steer their hot air balloons. While they can control where the balloon flies vertically (by heating the air in the balloon to go higher), they rely on the wind to determine their direction.
Here are some exclusive pictures from this year’s event from WeatherBug’s very own Alan G… ENJOY!:
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-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team