2010 Football HOF Balloon Race - Canton, OH July 30 - Aug 1
Friday AM - Media Flight
Several pilots who arrived in canton a day early flew in light winds this morning for the media flight. Below are some pics:
The HOF Balloon Race kicked off in it's traditional form as as both competition and fiesta balloons took to the air in light winds with little steerage. Event Director Maury Sullivan called a Fly-In and Watership Down as David Troutman, flying the Kent State University banner, flew hare.
Fiesta balloons took off from the field and the competition pilots ventured 1-2 kilometers northeast of the field to fly back in. Only a few balloons were able to get scores, but most made it over the event grounds to put on a good show. All the balloons hurried back to the grounds to set up for the night glow in front of a large crowd.
On board with Travis Vencel. Huge crowds are always waiting for the balloons in Canton
Pilots were greeted this morning by a three part task (Gordon Bennett, Fly-On, and Team Hare and Hound). The winds were light on the surface with relatively little steering, however the speeds did pick up into the 10+ knot range about 500 ft.
The Gordon Bennett was set up in a "beer pong" triangular shape where three "cups" or circles formed the outermost scoring area, followed by a row with two cups, and finally the head of the triangle was the closest to the "X" and the best possible result. The task sheet stipulated that baggies must be in two separate "cups" or circles in order to achieve a result. Event Director Maury Sullivan also allowed each team of three pilots to allow one pilot to carry two baggies in case they were the only ones to make the scoring area they would have had the ability to achieve a result. Check out the diagram for this task below.
The Fly-on task was a GPS measured result to predetermined targets and all three of the team members' scores were counted.
Finally the Team Hare and Hound concluded the morning with the Team Captain serving as the Hare and the other two team members the Hounds. Both Hound results were counted towards the task total.
Scoring a flight like this is complex but we'll get the scores out to you just as soon as they become available. We'll have plenty of pictures and videos from the flight this morning shortly.
On board with Travis Vencel Saturday AM
Event Director Maury Sullivan called a two-part task for the teams in Canton tonight (Fly-In and Hesitation Waltz). The Fly-In task was a bit breezy tonight with winds pushing 10 knots on the surface, but the speed tapered off you went up to under 10 above 1500 ft. Making things increasingly difficult for pilots was not only the surface wind speeds, but also the change in direction of roughly 40 degrees between the time pilots left the briefing and actually took off. Many of the balloons taking off early were forced to land in rather high winds as the winds didn't die down much until sunset. Scores were relatively good on the field (Fly-In) task, but surface winds were constantly shifting.
The Hesitation Waltz targets were a chore to reach. Pilots had to climb to 3,000-5,000 ft. in order to catch the right hand turn needed to obtain scores. Many pilots dropped baggies from altitude and quite a few were lost. Several pilots flew for over an hour and a half until it was nearly dark, while trying to complete the tasks and find a safe place to land. Check out the video below from tonight's flight.
We're still awaiting scores and will pass them on just as soon as we receive them. Thanks for your patience.
Below are a few picture from the infamous Saturday night tailgate parties in the hotel parking lot. Good food, drinks, and many a parking lot game are the tradition in Canton. You can find Event Director Maury Sullivan roaming from party to party acting as official judge and will award the best tailgate party at the Sunday awards brunch.
On board with Travis Vencel .
.Sunday AM The competition concluded this morning in Canton, OH with TMDD, JDGG, and GBM.
The TMDD was a rectangle with diagonal lines from the corners to form four triangles. Each team had to get a marker in opposing triangles to get a valid score. The best result was the smallest distance between two markers that were in separate triangles. The flight path was similar to previous flights, however, slightly less steering. Most approached the target below 1500 feet and scores were many.
The second task was the JDGG, judge declared goal divergent.. The idea of this task is to separate the team members. Officials set three targets and teams were required to declare which target each team member was going to attempt to reach prior to leaving the briefing. Scoring was limited to the field and it appears that no one made it to these targets.
The third task was a GBM. The target was set on an island in a lake. All balloons apeared to be well left of this target as well and many balloons landed early. However, if you had the patience you to fly extremly slow winds you could make a run at it.. A few teams had drops, but some of those landed in the water.
More than 75 balloons will fill the skies over Canton, OH this weekend as kickoff for the ten day long Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. Pilots will gather Friday night for a sponsor flight and then commence team competitions as 20 groups of 3 pilots each will run a combination of team and individual tasks to pool their points together to see which set of three pilots was best throughout the weekend. This unique and interesting event is one of a kind for today's competitive pilots.
The combination of flying area, tasks, camaraderie, and of course the Saturday night tailgate and fireworks show make this event a favorite on everyone's schedule. Stay tuned for plenty of updates and stories from this year's event.