Terminology for Passengers and Crew
We have two Adams balloons. Just Ducky is a 90,000 cubic foot balloon that stands 75 feet tall or about seven stories and is 55 feet wide. Floating Awaysis is 105,000 cubic foot balloon standing 80 feet tall or about eight stories and is 60 feet wide.
Bag: A heavy canvas container that holds the envelope.
Basket or Gondola: The wicker carriage that holds people, fuel tanks, and other flight equipment.
Burner: Apparatus that changes liquid propane to vapor and supplies ignition for flame.
Chase Crew: People who assist the pilot in setting up, launching, chasing, landing, deflating and packing away the balloon.
Chase Vehicle: Vehicle used by chase crew to carry balloon to launch site and to retrieve it at landing site.
Cold Inflation: The process of filling the envelope with cold air. The balloon must be "cold packed" so the pilot can put heat into it without burning the fabric.
Crown: Top area of the envelope.
Crown Line: Rope attached to the top of the balloon used to control envelop during inflation and deflation.
Drop Line: A rope connected to the basket that can be dropped to a crew person on the ground who can help pull the balloon to a suitable place to deflate.
Envelope: What most people call the balloon itself; the large fabric part of a balloon.
Equator: Middle and usually widest section of the envelope.
Fuel Tanks: Containers where propane is stored under pressure for use during inflation and flight.
Hot Inflation: Also called "going hot". The burners are used to heat the air inside the envelope until the inside air is warmer than the air outside the envelope. When this happens, the envelope rises and stands vertically.
Inflator Fan: A fan used to blow air into the envelope. People should stay away from the inflater fan as it can pose some dangers.
Landowner: A person who owns the property on which a balloon launches or lands. Maintaining good landowner relations is imperative so we NEVER drive through crops, go through locked gates or cut fences. We stay on the edge of a field to cause the least amount of impact. When possible, if we land on property with a home, we try to get permission before taking the balloon down.
Load Tapes: Vertical webbing that is sewn between the fabric gores. The load tapes transfer the weight of the passengers and equipment from the basket to the top of the envelope where the load is actually carried. Load tapes are the only part of the envelope that should be pulled.
Mouth or Throat: The opening at the bottom of the envelope closest to the basket.
Parachute Top & Red Line: The parachute is a piece of fabric a little larger than the crown that sets inside the crown of the balloon and seals the opening of the crown. The parachute top allows heat to stay in the envelop or the pilot can allow heat to escape by pulling the red line which is attached to the edges of the parachute top. This opens a small gap between the parachute fabric and the crown fabric allowing hot air to escape usually resulting in the balloon descending. The parachute is usually attached to the crown with velcro during inflation so the balloon can become cold-packed. Once the balloon goes hot, the pilot uses the red line to pull the edges of the parachute top which releases the velcro. The parachute top, which is just slightly larger than the crown, then sits inside the balloon. The heat pressurizes the balloon and the parachute top then seals the crown. The red line is attached to the edges of the parachute. If the pilot want to maintain level flight or ascend, he leaves the parachute top sealed and puts more heat into the balloon. If the pilot want to descend, he either lets the air inside the balloon cool down some or he can pull the red line which creates a gap between the parachute top and the crown and hot air escapes.
Rapid Deflation Line: Besides the red line, a second rope is attached to the parachute, usually in the center. Instead of using the red line to release hot hair through a gap between the parachute and the crown, a rapid deflation system allows the pilot to pull the entire parachute into the balloon releasing a much larger volume of hot air. This allows the balloon to stop more rapidly, especially in higher wind landings. Not all balloons are equipped with rapid deflation systems.
Radio: Used to communicate instructions from pilot to crew.
Skirt or Scoop: Fabric connected to the throat to aid with cold inflation. Some balloons have a partial skirt called a scoop.
Suspension Lines or Cables: Cables or ropes that connect the envelope to the basket.
Tie Off: The rope that anchors the basket to the chase vehicle to keep the balloon from dragging on a windy inflation.
Weight Off: Hands only holding the basket at launch so pilot can judge buoyancy before takeoff or to control direction away from objects.
Weight On: Crew members lean on the basket with lots of weight to keep the basket on the ground. Usually said just after going hot.