Perfect weather helps launch annual hot air balloon festival in southern Alberta
The morning flight, and timely blessing from Mother Nature, helped launch this year’s Rise Up! Medicine Hat Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Hot air balloon teams from across Canada took part, soaring hundreds of feet into the air for a one of a kind view of Alberta’s “Gas City”.
Calm conditions are necessary for a safe flight, and thankfully, Mother Nature co-operated.
"If sunrise is around 7 a.m., I’m usually up at about 4:30 a.m. checking all of the weather apps," said Balloon Meister Dale, who adds most passenger balloon flights won’t launch if winds are higher than about 10 knots.
Hot air balloon pilots from across North America are taking to the skies over Medicine Hat to raise awareness about how we can work collectively to enhance mental wellness and rise to great heights together. (Ryan Oscar/submitted)
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"You want light winds at the surface and a little bit of wind aloft so you can move across. [Friday] morning I was up at around nine or 10 knots, about 20 kilometres an hour, which was perfect."
The festival will not offer rides to the public at this year's event, but are hoping to next year. (Connor O'Donovan/The Weather Network)
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The festival also utilizes a weather balloon system called Windsond to measure conditions. It uses a GPS unit attached to a helium balloon that is released into the air and tracked to calculate wind direction and speed at different altitudes.
This is the second edition of the annual festival, which features a weekend full of flights, including a special "Balloon Glow" event at which the balloons tether to the ground and light up the night after sunset.
You can follow @RISEUPYXH on Instagram and Facebook for up-to-date details as they unfold!