Balloon Race Enters Second Day - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/9/05-Longview

Balloon Race Enters Second Day

     Pilots use strategy in competition for top money in the great Texas balloon race. Almost immediately after the morning pilots briefing, teams rushed out all looking to find that perfect spot to launch from. Not just wind but time is a factor.

     "As the sun comes up the winds start changing a little bit so where you take off the winds could be changing midway through your flight and you may miss the target so its important to get off as early as you can but also pick the right spot," said Ron Frusher, pilot of  Curves 3.

    Pilot Kinnie Gibson of Waco, who co-incidentally is also a Hollywood stunt man, got his luck with a kiss from his wife as he went airborne. The race brings accomplished pilots from all over the country, and many more women are becoming wind-riders these days.

    "It's something we all can do its fun, it gives you a sense of empowerment to get off the ground and fly away," says pilot of the Mambo, Debbie Rice of Houston.

    And some are just in the right place at the right time.

    "As we were rigging up this morning got ready to take off the pilot said you want to go and I said yes I'd be glad to go," says ground crew member Mike Midkiff.

      Gaining and reducing altitude they jockeyed for position trying to hit the target area over Gregg County Regional Airport. One pass and one shot at each target, and they hope it brings victory when the final numbers are added on Sunday.

     Bob Hallmark reporting.

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