Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Unusual Chase Vehicles

Today we'll consider some exciting new options to "Pimp your Chase Vehicle" which should really excite your crew. So here's the top ten list:

10. The Short Bus goes anywhere and carries everyone from a 210. No worries about a little mud or snow. Designed for winter balloon retrieves in Antarctica. Really.

[click photos to zoom]

9. This full-tracked chase vehicle zips through water 4 feet deep. If your pilot has a little trouble landing on islands or in swamps this could be just the ticket. Not good enough? Get the full amphibious option and she'll float.

8. And now for something purple. If you're from Ohio, have a sunny disposition and are, well, quite shapely, this has your name all over it.

Recommended accessory: Tommy Lift, in purple.

7. The Jetson's will be jealous when you pull up to the launch field in this futuristic chase commander. Streamlined, powerful, fuel cell powered. The good news is no more calls to the authorities reporting a "balloon crash" as all the lines are jammed with reports of UFOs & an alien invasion.

Bonus: the bug eyes let the crew see in every direction including up.

6. On a budget? This classic Iranian interpretation of an ancient Citroen has high miles and is well broken in. Mechanical skills and metric tools a plus, but no need to worry about scraping the paint. Buyer pays shipping from Iran.

5. If you're crew is always horsing around while your flying instead of tracking the balloon, and then has to gallop off to the landing site, this fuel efficient chase vehicle should help them jockeying for position with the other crews.

A crowd favorite at balloon festivals.

4. Per Lindstrand could have used one of these balloon-tired, all wheel drive, insulated trucks after flying the Pacific. They're like an articulated bus, with passengers riding in the box and bouncing around. Reports are that the box is quite cozy, the windows small and easily fogged so you never see out. Snowy tundra no obstacle.

Those riding in the back may want to consider bringing dramamine, as many get seasick. There are sick bags in the box for such occasions.

3. You can't beat a name like Ivan the Terra Bus. Huge wheels, unlimited crew carrying capacity, go anywhere capability, and a ride smoother than your landings. If you fly special shape balloons, this is your rig.

A minor quibble: fuel efficiency is not Ivan's middle name.

2. Real men have always preferred Pickups. Best invention since the quarter horse and hot air balloon, pick up trucks carry any load and look good doing it. Traditionally they went almost anywhere. These clever tracks mean there's no more almost.

Best of all, it's easy to convert your current ride.

1. In the age of OPEC and pricey gas, the chase vehicle of the future is all about fuel efficiency without sacrificing go-anywhere flexibility. This self-refueling recovery vehicle is not easily cowed by any sheikh, and that's no bull.

Bonus: never get yelled at by the crew for leaving the tank on E, she'll refuel on the field while you inflate.

Ok, you're sold on one of these sexy new chase vehicles. Where can you get one? Talk to Barry DiLibero who's done a lot stranger things with paint.

Honorable Mention:
Ok, now the crew won't be seen in public with you anymore, time to get a steam powered bicycle. Strap it to the outside of the basket, fire it up from the burner after landing, and you're on your way home.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Coastal Maine Ballooning Business Opportunity

A friend who's been running a successful ride business for the last 20 years has contacted me with an interesting opportunity. He's very respected, has earned corporate and celebrity contracts, and kept his friends along the way. He's thinking he won't be young forever, so he's interested in finding a good person to pass the business on to. Here's his thoughts:

Interested in relocating to a less hectic area of the northeastern United States with an attractive quality of life? Alluring, coastal Maine! If you are a commercially or privately rated balloon pilot and want to “take over” an established flight service, I’d be interested in talking to you.

For over twenty years I have built this “ride” business into a viable, seasonal entity. I’d like to see the right aeronaut challenged and rewarded with its’ operations. We would gradually change ownership of this “S” corporation, financially and operationally.

If you know anything about the seasonal balloon flight business, unless you are financially independent, you understand the need for other types of income streams.

Relocation and buying a small business is, of course, a major move. Think about it and if there is interest I invite you to contact me!

207-799-0193 or