djr-2018-09-20-news-robinsp1

Hot air balloons will pepper Tupelo skies this weekend as a group of hot air balloon pilots take flight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Eleven balloons are available at Fairpark Friday, with 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the estimated time window for flights. 

All balloons take flight Saturday morning at 6 a.m. at Veteran’s Park. There will also be a balloon glow in Fairpark from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A final flight will take place Sunday at 6 a.m. in Veteran’s Park.

Local hot air balloon pilot Frank Anger said this weekend is not an event, but rather a group of 10 pilots who decided to come to Tupelo to fly on their own. Anger, who planned this flight for a few months, chose this weekend because it was when pilots were available.

“I sent out an invitation to my friends who fly and asked them if they want to come to Tupelo and they said yes,” Anger said.

Anger has been a pilot for approximately 24 years and said the other pilots were similarly experienced. There are pilots from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee who will be participating in the flight.

Anger tends to do 10 to 12 flights a year all throughout the southeast. Some previous locations he has flown include Albuquerque, New Mexico, Matthew, Mississippi and Long View, Texas. He has also participated in over 100 hot air balloon competitions, where competitors fly for accuracy rather than speed.

Pilots will offer limited paid rides for $225. There are also tethered rides, which is when the balloon is secured to the ground with a ride and flights go up and down, for $10 per person.

People are encouraged to bring cameras, ask pilots questions, and become informed about hot air balloons.

“If they want to get in the basket, they can get in the basket, do the burners and kind of see how it all operates. We welcome that,” Anger said of participants who came.

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