ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque is the ballooning capital of the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to the Land of Enchantment.
The state is also a training ground for future balloon pilots and this week teenagers from all over the country are getting a crash course.
Under a breathtaking sunrise, eager balloon enthusiasts are seeing first hand what it takes to fly.
“It’s like a mini pilot school,” said Don Boyer, the camp’s director. “It’s a camp involving 25 young balloonists from all over the United States,” he said.
For the second year in a row, junior balloonist are landing in Albuquerque for the Balloon Federation of America’s Rio Grande Balloon Camp.
The 13 to 18 year-olds have a lot on this week’s agenda, “balloon operation, propane safety, navigation, chart reading,” explained Boyer.
Throughout the week, they’ll work with local pilots, get hands on experience and learn balloon safety, including how weather affects flying.
If conditions are right, they’ll take flight before it’s all over
The teens are staying at the UNM dorms and getting class time at the Balloon Museum.
For most of the campers, this isn’t their first rodeo.
“Most of them come from balloon families,” Boyer explained. “We actually do have three campers this year who have never flown in a hot air balloon before.”
It’s an experience sure to soar above all others this summer.
The camp was also held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and Reno, Nevada this summer.