click any of the photos for a better view
Once upon a Saturday morning flight during the 2012 Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, a pilot lost his hat from 3,000 feet (maybe more), and his clever quick-thinking copilot took a picture of its descent with the hope that the photo would help lead them to the hat's temporary resting place.
They say it took about five minutes for that hat to float to the ground. The chase crew wouldn't know, they were enjoying hot coffee while visiting at the gas station and watching balloons go overhead, not at all concerned with the radio. They had cell phones, after all, and they could see their balloon right there. Hat? What hat?
Two hours later, the flight ended, the balloon packed up and the crew gathered together - they found the area where the hat was suspected to have fallen. They looked up, they looked down, they looked through the high grass, they braved the poison ivy. According to the time stamps on the crew's own personal photographer's camera (that'd be me), the searching went on for over a half hour.
And then came the whistle that declared the hat had been found, followed by shouts of, Photographer!! Bring your Camera!
I think we need to back up a little bit so you readers can get a better visual of where that hat landed.
I repeat: heh.
The dedicated crew immediately began brainstorming how they might be able to get that hat down.
There were phone calls made for possible deliveries of potato guns.
There was a search of the balloon trailer for possible McGyver type items.
There was the tying of McGyver type items together.
There was joking and teasing support
There was attempted throwing of ropes and objects.
There were second and third and fourth attempts.
There was tree hugging.
There was wishing for tree climbing cleats.
There was a landowner who came out and a little hopeful discussion that maybe he could use more firewood, but if you scroll back up to the second photo, you'll see that he really meant it when he said he had more than enough firewood.
There was a landowner who didn't yet know the determination of the pilot who shall remain nameless's crew.
There was a rope, and teamwork - five on the ropes, one chanting 1....1....1, 2....2.....2, 3....3....3
There was a shaking tree.
There was cheering
And best of all, there was a very happy pilot.
AND, they made it to the ballooners breakfast before all the bisquits and gravy were gone!
They're just that good.