First Landing Reported in Gas Distance Race
Pilots flying in the Balloon Fiesta America's Challenge race for gas balloons are getting a birds-eye view of some of the most incredible mountain scenery in North America. Most of the competitors have been cruising over or near Colorado's Rocky Mountains since early today as they search for the right winds to take them the greatest distance and to victory in the race.
The America's Challenge Command Center reports that Team 9, Phil MacNutt and Phil Bryant, has landed safely. Their position is indicated as 103 miles SSW of Denver, CO. The other eight balloons are reported to be still in the air. Mike Wallace and Kevin Brielmann (Team 5), are still leading and are flying east of Grand Junction, CO. They had traveled more than 300 miles (nearly 500 km) by 12:30 PM MDT (1830Z) some 18 hours into their flight. Team 4, Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis, remain in hot pursuit about 35 miles (56 km) behind.
Late afternoon will be decision time for some of the competitors, as they decide whether they should land or continue flying through the night. You can follow the race via live tracking at www.balloonfiesta.com.