For years, the gift of flight has been used in shows of appreciation or to experience the many wonders of the world. It’s also not uncommon for hot air balloon enthusiasts to find themselves making landings in large fields, often owned by farmers.
While these landings are sometimes intentional and other times accidental, many news outlets jump on these stories for their bizarre nature while ignoring the human element. What interactions take place during these landings?
A group of hot air balloonists said they’ve had pleasant experiences with farmers who own the fields they’ve made landings in. And in exchange, these hot air balloonists decided to return the favor and give the farmers a glimpse of the sport they love.
During Albany, Oregon’s recent Wah Chang Art and Air festival, some balloon pilots made landings into local farm fields. As a thank you, these pilots recently took 18 farmers up in the air for a morning flight in nine different hot air balloons.
Farm resident Charlene Kizer mentioned that she not only doesn’t mind the pilot landings, she enjoys them. Kizer called these landings “fun and exciting.”
“We have had balloons land and launch from our farm,” she said.
To show her enjoyment, Kizer said she once gave pilots fresh sweet corn from her garden.
For the farmers and farm residents who took to the sky recently, this was their first time in a hot air balloon. They were walked through each step of the process by experienced pilots. Farmers and hot air balloonists in this area have become familiar with each other each year, since ballooning season starts just as farmers begin harvesting their crops.
Hot air balloon pilots are incredibly appreciative of the landowners who not only allow them to make a drop onto their land, but are hospitable and understanding. Weather conditions sometimes make these landings necessary, so to be welcomed with open arms is encouraging.
Many who went up in a balloon with these local pilots said they can now scratch an item off their bucket list. They were able to carry a bottle of champagne to enjoy during the flight in the friendly sky.
This hot air balloon news provides a unique glimpse at a relationship that exists but isn’t often talked about. It shows the other side of the coin in terms of pilot landings in open fields. It’s encouraging to see a group of farmers that not only seek to understand the sport, they embrace it.