Many pilots who are registered for Balloon Fiesta sign up to participate in Albuquerque Aloft. Pilots tether or launch their balloons from selected school grounds in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho on the Friday morning before Balloon Fiesta.
Albuquerque Aloft has grown tremendously since the first event in 2005, and continues to bring the joy of ballooning directly to children in their school playgrounds. It is a great way to kick off the beginning of the nine days of Balloon Fiesta every October. Parents, students and teachers alike have the opportunity to meet the pilots and crew, and experience the excitement of watching and learning how a balloon flies. Albuquerque Aloft also provides city residents and guests a visual preview of Balloon Fiesta, as balloons launch from different sites around the city simultaneously.
Balloonists at selected schools may elect to fly from the campus or may remain inflated at the school site. Weather permitting; inflation is scheduled at approximately 6:45-7:00 a.m., with
launch scheduled for 7:00 -7:30 a.m. The simultaneous launch is coordinated by KKOB AM Radio, the “official voice” of Balloon Fiesta.
Schools are encouraged to invite parents and students to be on hand for the event, and groups at some schools offer refreshments for sale, adding to the fun. School requests for balloons are needed prior to May 15 of each year to properly determine if a balloon can inflate in the designated space.
Albuquerque Aloft is the only Balloon Fiesta event in which balloons launch from pre-designated sites outside of Balloon Fiesta Park. Below is a PDF list of the 2019 participating schools. The pilots that are scheduled to launch from each school are on the list as well.