LIFE LESSONS LEARNED WHILE BALLOONING BY KIM VESELY allooning is a great ƒvery balloonist has been there, or Ballooning makes yo a bette ie. teacher. soon will be. I remember spending a Žh, some of my friends are going to We’re not talking  year one morning over the sewage treat contest this one . . . soon after I got academics here, though ment plant in ˆas ‰ruces, going up and my pilot license, I took aloft a normally ballooning is both science down trying to find a wind layer going talkative friend who didn’t say a word B and art and a wonderful somewhere – anywhereŠ  suitable as the whole flight, and then after I landed starting point for teaching both. Rather, a landing site. ‹rustratingŒ Žh, yeah. allowed, almost as an afterthought‚ ballooning is a great teacher about life. Smelly, too. ‘nd I couldn’t do a thing  “–ou fly better’n you drive.” But seri It develops responsibility, discipline, and about it but wait for the wind to change. ously. šo fly a balloon successfully, ust character. Sure, some people learn this ƒventually, a breath of wind did material as in driving a car successfully, you have  i’e, and we got to a decent landing site. to think ahead and anticipate potential stuff hang gliding or uilting or a thou sand other noble pursuits. But there’s We ust had to wait it out. problems. ‘naly’ing what’s coming nothing uite like having to problem ‘s astronaut “im ˆovell, the com up on the road ahead, thinking about solve a thousand feet in the air – you’d mander of the troubleplagued ‘pollo what you’d do if something une›pected better figure it out ‘cause it’s a long way ”III flight, famously noted, you can panic  happens, and leaving a margin for er down. and bounce off the walls, but in the end ror minimi’es the potential for trouble ere are ust a few of the lessons you’ll be right back where you started – behind the wheel and in the air. „Žf  and you still have to solve the problem. course – here’s the knockonwood line learned over ­€ years pursuing balloon ing on the ground and in the air‚ So you might as well be patient. – behind the wheel and in the air even if Ballooning teaches patience. In a  Ballooning teaches flexibility. ˆike you leave that margin for error, some balloon, you go where the wind goes. all aviators, balloon pilots launch with a times stuff happens. ‰runch.‡ ƒnd of story. It’s true you can go up and flight plan‚ launch here, fly for an hour Ballooning teaches yo to leae a down to find winds going different di in this direction „or directions‡, and land magin o eo ‘bout that margin rections and speeds at different altitudes there. –ou take off, and—voilàŠ  halfway for error – it’s one of life’s most valuable „in a balloon, it’s how the pilot “steers”‡.  through the flight the wind direction lessons. In driving, it means not follow But no matter how much you wish the changes. So much for the flight plan. So ing too closely. In ballooning, it means balloon would go this way, if the wind’s you’d better have a plan B, and ‰, and ™ leaving enough room when you land so going that way, it is what it is and you’re . . . because what goes up must come if the wind changes direction suddenly, stuck with it. down somewhere. you don’t get pushed into something 83 PICTURE PERFECT

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