Hot Air Balloon Flight

October 22, 2009

The flight lifted off from Dave's Aerodrome on Jones Island Road, Cedarville, NJ in the famous Greenhead balloon.

B & B Cycle owner Brian Vittorini and his wife Sherry were first-time balloon passengers for a beautiful evening ride from Cedarville to Vineland, New Jersey. The pilot was Dave Gidzinski.

I was the sole ground crew member and chase vehicle driver until later in the flight when I was met by Tony and Doreen Noon. Tony got into the chase vehicle with me and we followed the balloon together from the vicinity of Buckshutem and Hogbin Road to the landing point at Russo Farms on South East Avenue in Vineland. 

It was a difficult flight to chase because it was a rather long flight; there was considerable rush hour traffic congestion near the Cumberland Mall and the large variations in wind speeds and directions at various altitudes. We had a difficult time determining how the balloon was moving because it was often barely a dot on the horizon. 

Dave's superior piloting ability put the balloon down on a farm access road just off East Avenue in Vineland. The flight was almost an hour and a half long and covered about 16 miles.

Departure point: Dave's Aerodrome, Cedarville, NJ

Lift off time: Approx 4:30 PM          

Minimum altitude: 0 feet. 

Maximum altitude: 1500 feet

Landing Location: Russo Farms field off East Avenue, Vineland, NJ

Landing time: Approx 5:45 PM

Maximum speed:  23 mph using GPS

Minimum: 3 mph.

Reported and photographed by: Bernie Sayers, driver of chase-crew pickup & trailer. Primary radio contact with the balloon.

B & B Cycle owners Brian & Sherry Vittorini wave to me as they leave on an hour and a half balloon flight to Vineland.

Brian and Sherry are all smiles as we start a cold inflation. They held the balloon mouth open while Dave positioned a large fan to blow air into the mouth of the balloon. 

When the balloon is inflated with cold air Dave directs heat from the burner into the envelope and the heated air lifts the envelope, basket and people.

I took this picture while holding the crown line with my left hand. 

A balloon gets lift because the envelope air, heated by a very high output propane burner, is less dense than the outside air.

Dave's balloon has a beautiful greenhead on the top of the balloon.

Seconds after lift-off they are on their way. 

In this picture they are about two feet off the ground. 

I took this picture about one minute after lift-off. 

The windsock for Dave's Aerodrome can be seen hanging limply at the bottom left.

At about 500 feet they rapidly picked up speed and moved toward downtown Cedarville. 

I took this picture of a Cedarville firefighter taking a cellphone picture of the balloon as it approaches downtown Cedarville. 

Flying a balloon is a very delicate balance between too much hot air--which will cause a rise, and too little hot air--which will cause a descent.



 Passing over the heart of Downtown Cedarville, NJ. It's fortunate that they had a green light. 


This picture was taken as the balloon drifted over Cedarville lake.

Dave activated the burner just after I took this pictures and dozens of geese took off from the water just to the left of the picture. 

The burner noise scares birds. It particularly scares horses and pigs. Dave is always careful to not burn near livestock. 

One of the chase crews jobs is to alert Dave of livestock locations so he doesn't freak out the animals.


Cumberland County: "Where the sky is the limit!"

The balloon is passing beneath the edge of a front. 


If you live in Cumberland County you should be able tell where this shot was taken. 

In case you can't tell, it is the Cumberland Mall. 

Dave was looking for a suitable landing area as darkness was approaching. 

Flying a balloon in near darkness is dangerous...see the next picture.



A crescent moon and many power lines. 

This picture was taken very close to the landing point on an access road to a field owned by Russo Farms, South East Avenue, Vineland.

Another safe landing and the job of getting air out of the balloon.

In this picture Brian is holding the crown line very close to the envelope so hot air can pour out of the vent at the top. 

Dave and Sherry are on the other end of the envelope squeezing the balloon and forcing the air toward Brian.

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All photos and copy

2009 Bernard Sayers   except as noted