Background: Our tour company had preselected Balloon Turca for our balloon trip so 22 of us arose at 5:00 am and arrived at their headquarters (by BT's shuttle vans). We were greeted with coffee, tea and light snacks. I think the balloons and crews were being prepositioned at this time. We were shuttled to the lift-off/staging area about 45 minutes later where the balloons were in the process of getting filled. There were 24 people and 1 pilot in each balloon, The basket was divided into 4 sections for the passengers and 1 for the pilot. Baskets appeared to be fairly new with safety harnesses (no one appeared to use these).
Liftoff: Okay, the power lines nearby appeared quite close as we arose, but the pilot seemed to know what he was doing (He made few, if any, comments during the flight). We ascended to about 900' elevation and had a great view of the city and surrounding hillside. The bulk of the other balloons that day (80+) seemed to be flying in a different area, more over the valleys and rock formations and not the city. (Pilot can "spin" the balloon during the flight and should be asked to do so as you will want photos from all sides of the gondola).
Landing: Apparently the pilot ran out of fuel as we attempted to counteract a wind shift that kept the balloon over the city. We were forced to land in a small field between some apartments. This event was apparently quite rare as we got a big audience of school kids near the landing site and the local police came. Should have used the ropes inside our compartment to hold onto during bumpy landing as I banged into my neighbors Shared non-alcoholic bubbly after the landing.
Comments: Overall an awesome adventure not to be missed if you are in the area. Would have liked lifting off near all the other balloons and not isolated as we were. Would have also preferred flying over the valleys and rock formations and not over the city (though people waving to us from their apartment windows was pretty funny).Yes, bring warm clothes.
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