A Day in the Life Of

Mrs. Whitten-Smith

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  • Getting ready to launch.

    Mrs. Whiten-Smith

  • Setting up the balloon for a flight.

    Mrs. Whitten-Smith

  • Mrs. Whitten-Smith and her husband enjoying a balloon ride.

    Mrs. Whitten-Smith

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Jessie Boucher, Staff Writer

It’s Ballooning day! A day to fly her hot-air balloon, “The Queen of Hearts”
4 am- Alarm goes off
Checks the profiles or the winds to make sure it is safe to fly that day

4:15 am- Grumpily gets up and gets ready

5:15 am- Heads out of the house and goes to the fair grounds

5:45-6 am- Pilot and crew briefing
Discuss if the winds are favorable and if the fields are open

6 am- Unload all the equipment from the back of the truck, or as she calls it,
“moving furniture”
(Basket, burners, propane tanks, and the envelope)
Make sure the radios are working
Once the envelope, or the balloon is flattened out in the shape of a teardrop and everything is set up, fill the balloon with air, making sure it’s “good and fat” before turning on the propane and filling the balloon with heat
Before sunrise- Balloon has left the ground

7-9 am- Balloon is usually in flight for an hour
Find a good spot to land, the McBurnie Road being her favorite.
Slowly slow the heat going into the balloon, which causes it to land softly.
When landing in a field, a person must walk in front of the vehicle to make sure the terrain is safe, and not swampy

After landing, and packing up in the field (reverse process), there’s always a
mandatory breakfast purchased by the pilot

If school is in full swing, she goes to teach after the early morning flights
If there’s no school, she takes a nap during the day and prepares for the evening flight

Repeat the process for the evening flight, making sure (legally) the balloon is on the ground before sunset

11pm- Gets home and takes a short sleep before getting up for another early flight!