Once the launch site is selected and permission is granted, the pilot will direct the positioning of the vehicle to be unloaded. Typically the balloon envelope will be laid out toward the downwind direction. Since the vehicle is moving, keep an eye out for obstacles, children, and unsuspecting spectators.

Next the pilot will provide instruction on how to unload the basket, envelope, and equipment.

Items to remember

  • Lift with your legs, not your back
  • Set the basket up as instructed
    • Attach tie-off to vehicle (not the trailer)
    • Be careful not to pinch fingers when sliding the burner frame onto the poles
    • Zip DOWN the upright covers over the poles
    • Let the pilot or skilled crew attach the carabineers
    • Let the pilot connect all fuel hoses and instruments
    • Pilot will test the burner system (be aware of loud noise)
    • Then carefully lay basket on its side
  • Place the envelope bag 25 feet downwind from the basket
    • Most envelopes weigh 200-300 pounds, so get help
    • The manufacturer's label on the bag should point to the basket (for Cameron balloons)
    • Open the envelope bag and expose the end of the balloon
    • Pilot will pull the envelope out of the bag and connect it to the basket
    • Be careful around the tie-off strap
    • Before inflation, the slack in the tie-off will be removed by moving the retrieve vehicle slowly until connecting rope/webbing is nearly tight