We arrived back at the airport at 5:00 PM for a planned 6:30 launch. It was sunny, although still a bit windy. We inflated the 12 additional balloons with the spare tanks, and moved the bunches of already inflated balloons out of the hangar into the bright afternoon sun.

 

 

I got into my harness and had the crew began hooking the balloons to me. This was the critical part, when I would find out how much lift I had lost over the last 12 hours. To my relief, with the 12 additional balloons hooked on, I was still buoyant enough to carry my full normal amount of ballast. I could fly!

 

 

The crew walked me out to where the hot-air balloons were setting up. A large crowd of spectators had come out to the airport to watch the balloon launch. The wind was 5 or 6 knots, which is about as much as you'd want for launching a cluster balloon. However, the forecast was for the winds to die down at sunset, and having gone through all of this, I was not going to miss my chance to fly. Four of the Ladies and their gentlemen pulled me upwind to where the other balloons were. I waited there for my time to launch.

 

 

Steve took off first with his special-shape cube balloon. Then, I had my crew release me. I started off barely buoyant, with Ernie running alongside me, helping me adjust my ballast until I began to rise. I floated over the grass and past the spectators at the far end of the field.

 

 

 

 

And my pink and white balloons carried me away over the trees into Wausau.