Visionary Aerials tagged along with a hot air balloon crew and some usual passengers.
It was an early morning, in the High Sierras. The mountain air is crisp, the colors vibrant greens and blues of water and vegetation. A small group awaits the arrival of the pilot. He arrives and unfurls his craft. Slowly and methodically the balloon inflates until its ready to fly. A lighter than air craft, it has the ability to take 5 people up into the sky. The pilot has experience, he recounts some of his moments of chaos, of serenity, of love of flight. Stepping into the balloon, there is a sense of excitement... the unknown... who knows which way will the wind blow? The pilot gasses the burners and the craft lifts off. It soars upwards at an astounding rate. It hovers over the a shimmering lake as if suspended by the gods. The humans in the basket marvel at the view... pointing at landmarks far off in the distance. As the balloon reaches 1000 ft above the ground, one man climbs out of the basket, takes a deep breaths and smiles, then jumps. His body flips several times. The earth wizzing through his field of vision. At a precise microsecond, he reacts and he throw a small chute outwards and to the side. Moments later the chain reaction inflates a larger parachute and he glides to a safe landing below.
The humans in the balloon look on with rapture on their faces. As the balloon descends, the pilot calculates his landing. Over water there is no place for basket to set down. He lowers the craft in a series of spurts. A kind of trigonometry taking place in his head... The distance to the ground, the speed of the wind, and the speed of decent all play a factor. He guides the balloon down to a landing ready to take the next flight with new passengers who will get to see the sight from up on high.