Pilots Form Gas-Balloon Club
Hot-air balloons are common enough in the U.S., but gas balloons, which are popular in Europe, are seldom seen in U.S. skies. A small group of enthusiasts is trying to change that, with the establishment of the Aero Club of America, based in Statesville, North Carolina, which is probably the first club of its kind in the U.S. since the 1950s. Last week, the group launched their custom-built balloon from Akron, Ohio, for a flight with an instructor and two trainees. "It costs about $1,200 for the gas to fill the balloon," Noah Forden, a pilot who helped out at the launch, told AVweb this week. "And we had about 20 people there to help with the rigging and the launch."