America's Challenge Updates
Inside the Basket - Henry Rosenbaum, Balloon Fiesta Balloonmeister
February 25, 2020
As Balloonmeister, Henry Rosenbaum works to keep pilots and Balloon Fiesta guests safe. He is involved in coordinating the flight operations of each day’s event-filled sessions during Balloon Fiesta.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, Henry gives a sneak peek of his role and how he decides when a green flag can go up.
1. Give a brief overview of your position with Balloon Fiesta and how you became involved with the organization.
I first attended Balloon Fiesta in 1996. I flew a special shape golf ball balloon in 1996 – 2000 and 2006. In 2001, I flew the Cargolifter special shape balloon for Sam Parks. In 2003, I flew AC Delco for Phil Glebe. I was amazed to be flying with 1,000 other balloons during the 2000 Balloon Fiesta.
I started volunteering in 2014 as a safety officer. I was one of 10 safety officials. I returned in 2015 and 2016 as a safety officer. In 2017 and 2018, I worked as the Chief Safety Officer overseeing 12 safety officials.
As Balloonmeister, I will be responsible for implementing and carrying out the operational decisions of the Director of Operations, Balloon Fiesta Staff, Balloon Fiesta Board and Public Safety Officials. This will include briefing all pilots and crew before each flight operations. With guidance from all Balloon Operations Official, we will maintain oversight of balloon operations during flight windows and evening glows.
2. What is the most difficult aspect of your position?
I find it challenging to provide my best performance for the entire nine days if I do not prepare adequately. In order to perform at the maximum level, I have found starting the event in the best physical and mental shape is very beneficial. Getting rest during the nine-day event is a priority during the event.
3. What isyour favorite part about being involved with Balloon Fiesta in this role?
My favorite part is serving with the men and women that manage, direct and control all of the balloon operations. Each person brings their ballooning experience, along with the professional experiences to create one of the most efficient management teams in ballooning. They all donate their time for the love of ballooning and the interaction with the guests of Balloon Fiesta.
4. What are three key items that you consider when coordinating balloon flights at Balloon Fiesta?
Ultimately, the safety for all navigator volunteers, staff members, pilots, crew members and our patrons are the highest priority.
Weather is a major factor, not only for the balloons, but for all the events that take place during our nine-day event. We have the best equipment, resources and weather personnel on site, around-the-clock.
Lastly, ensuring the Balloon Operations Staff, Balloon Fiesta Staff, Board Members and our Public Safety Officials are all working individually and together to make certain everyone is experiencing the time of their life.
5. What advice do you have for first time Balloon Fiesta guests?
Be prepared to see the most amazing balloon events in the world. Arrive early, following advice on Balloon Fiesta social media. Stay hydrated and dress in layers. Lastly, share your experience with others around the world. Everyone loves the balloons and wishes they could be there.