Gas balloon race, “America’s Challenge” delayed again

The launch window narrows for pilots to avoid competition cancellation

gas balloon

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The weather continues to be a problem for the 20th America’s Challenge Gas Balloon race. Officials meet Tuesday and announced the race has been postponed yet again, and the pilots will meet at noon Wednesday in the hopes the race can launch Wednesday evening before the launch window closes.

The low pressure system over California that has been drawing moisture into New Mexico is beginning to move eastward into southern New Mexico, which will continue to cause unstable weather in the state.  With the threat of evening thunderstorms both in the launch area in Albuquerque and downrange in the direction the balloons would travel, a safe Tuesday launch is just not possible.  As the low moves into New Mexico, easterly winds will prevail and the balloons’ projected trajectories will shift to the west, taking them into south central and southwestern Arizona, southern California, and northern Baja California, Mexico – an acceptable but most unusual direction.

Under the event rules, the “launch window”, the period of time during which the race can commence, closes at midnight Wednesday, October 7 and if pilots cannot launch, this year’s race will be cancelled.

This year’s seven competitors are from the U.S, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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