What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Best view is from the basket at WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest

Posted May 15, 2015
Updated May 16, 2015

— Hot air balloon pilots say don't be afraid to take a ride at the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest this Memorial Day.

There is actually no turbulence in the basket and you can't beat the view.

"It's more like you're staying still, and the earth drops away, rotates and comes back and greets you at the end of the flight," pilot Tom Lattin said.

And what keeps those balloons up? Burners that can heat things up in a hurry.

"Our burners can raise that temperature almost 170 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 seconds so imagine taking five average houses, raising them from 70 degrees to 170 degrees in half a minute. We have a lot of power in the burners," Lattin said.

But it isn't hot inside the basket. It's actually the coolest place to be.

"The hot part is up high. The way the burner is designed to put heat, all the heat up into the envelope, makes it more efficient that way," pilot Brian Hoyle said.

And you can fit more people than you think into one of those baskets. Some are big enough for up to five people.

Tethered and free-floating rides will be available for a fee Saturday and Sunday (May 23-24) at two locations – Bennett Bunn Plantation in Zebulon and Spring Forest Road in Raleigh. Spring Forest will Park will have 15 balloons and Zebulon will have 28.

Admission to the WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival is free. It is the first hot air balloon festival to come to the Triangle in nearly 25 years.

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  • Jeff Abbott May 15, 2015
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    Just watch out for those power lines.