Sometimes the wind slows so much the balloon cannot effectively get to a safe landing spot. The pilot may deploy a "drop line" which may be a rope or a nylon webbing line to help maneuver the balloon to a place where deflation can be done safely.
Some drop lines can be up to 150 feet long, however they are very hard to handle at that length. They should only be used when clear of power lines and trees. The balloon side of the line should be attached to a quick-release harness like the one used for the tie-off at inflation.
Tips for Drop Line Landings:
- Always wear gloves
- Drop lines are NOT for high winds (use under 5 mph)
- Let the line hit the ground before grabbing
- Don't let the line wrap around anything (trees, poles, or yourself)
- Put steady pressure horizontally, but not down
- Expect the balloon to descend as you apply pressure
- Keep your feet on the ground. Let go if necessary
- Have part of the crew on the drop line and the other ready to put weight on the basket