Inside the Basket - Melissa Bond, Balloon Fiesta Safety Officer and Balloonmeister for Fiesta de Los Globitos
As Balloon Fiesta’s Safety Officer and Balloonmeister for Fiesta de Los Globitos, Melissa Bond helps to coordinate the safe launch of the remote controlled balloons during Balloon Fiesta. In this month’s Inside the Basket, she shares more about how she became involved with Balloon Fiesta, what these types of balloons are and how you can learn more about them.
1. Give a brief overview of your position with Balloon Fiesta and how you became involved with the organization.
I have been a Navigator for 28 years. Starting in the warehouse counting merchandise and engraving name tags. Then I became a safety officer in 2000. And the Chief of Safety for three years and then moved to Assistant Balloonmeister for three years. In 2022, for the 50th event, I was a safety officer and Balloonmeister for the remote control balloons.
2. What is your favorite part about being involved with Balloon Fiesta in this role?
I love seeing the smiles on everyone's faces. The children and the adults get super excited to see the small balloons. I love seeing it through their eyes.
3. Remote control (RC) balloons made their official debut at Balloon Fiesta during the 49th event. What are they and how do they differ from traditional hot air balloons?
The Globitos or RC Balloons are a remote control hot air balloons. They operate like the big balloons with a burner controlled via a remote which is in the hands of the operator. There are some that are replicas of the pilot's big balloon or maybe a design that the owner/operator liked. Globitos started popping up several years ago as people would tailgate.
4. What items do you consider when coordinating RC balloon flights at Balloon Fiesta?
The Globitos are a quarter of the size of a real balloon. We do pretty much the same planning as big balloons. We don't require lots of crew. Tarps are laid out to protect the envelope, baskets have burners that are operated by a remote. Planning our flights may require more propane tanks if we want to have longer flights. With the small tanks we can get a good 20-minute flight.
5. What advice do you have for those interested in becoming an RC balloon operator?
I invite anyone who is interested to come out and visit with anyone. We love to share and show the little balloons. If you don’t know someone, search for remote control balloons on Facebook or the internet and contact them. They will be happy to talk about the remote controlled balloons. Come and check them out.
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