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Press releases from Public Affairs Officer (Person's Name, Rank, and Contact Info)

Civil Air Patrol balloon rises like a Phoenix to teach cadets about flight

posted Feb 27, 2015, 12:35 PM by Ben Noyce

By Master Sgt. Paula Aragon, Public Affairs Superintendent, 

150th Special Operations Wing, New Mexico National Guard

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - It seems fitting that a quote from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra best describes how the former balloon 'Sunrise II' - now renamed 'Phoenix' - plays an instrumental role in teaching New Mexico Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets the basics of flying.

     The quote reads:  "The Phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise."

     Phoenix has a story of tragedy and rising again from its ashes only to be flown again above the New Mexico desert skies.  CAP, which is a U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, acquired the balloon after an accident that injured the former co-pilot/crew chief, resulting in the loss of his left arm.

     The balloon is now one of the many tools that CAP uses to teach adults and youth about the importance of general aviation.  Flying, whether in an airplane or balloon, and understanding how the principles of flight work will help the cadets learn about aviation.  The principle of ballooning is very basic:  Hot air rises and cold air sinks.  As hot air in the evelope of the balloon pushes up, it allows the balloon to keep floating.

     The reverse is also true.  The pilot alllows the air to cool and the balloon becomes heavier than air and begins to descend.  Whether rising or descending, the pilot is in full control of the balloon's movements by controlling the heat in the envelope.  As simple as this sounds, however, it takes skill and  - in many cases - relying on experienced senses.  Many seasoned pilots can sense a change in the atmosphere with the slightest breeze.

     All this helps the cadre teach the cadets the different dynamics involved in flying.  It helps them understand and expand their knowledge in many of the subjects taught in the classroom.  All of these academics will not only help the cadets have a better understanding of aviation, but it wll also help them with everyday classroom work.  The cadets range in age from 12- 20 years of age. 

     Many of the cadre volunteers are civilian, retired military or still serving like Maj. William Ftizpatrick, who is a technical sergeant in the New Mexico Air National Guard.

     "Ballooning is another avenue of promoting general aviation with the ability to introduce youth and adults alike in application based education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  It gives us the ability to let people fly at a younger age than what you need to be to fly a powered fixed-wing aircraft, but still get people interested in a future in aerospace," said Fitzpatrick, who is commander of the 811th Cadet Squadron.

     One of the most inspiring parts of being a part of CAP, for the cadre, is watching young students grow with aspirations to learning the art of flying and fulfilling a patriotic duty to this country.  Sharing common bonds such these strengthens connections.

     Another side to being involved with CAP is that it creates team building and improves communication skills, which are important when flying a balloon.  The pilot must keep in communication with the chase crew by means of radio and visual signals. It is important to keep in constant contact because the landing location may vary and the ground crew may or may not be able to access that area.

     "Ballooning is a team-building activity that depends on good communication between pilots and crew.  The feeling of flying is the calmest, serene feeling and I want to be able to share that experience with others," said Capt. Jessica D. Makin, 811th Cadet Squadron aerospace education officer.  "The CAP's balloon program allows me to give that to people."

      The cadets are from the local area and dedicate many hours to CAP.  The 811th Cadet Squadron (LBJ Middle School,) 77th Composite Squadron (Rio Rancho) and 83rd Composite Squadron (Albuquerque Heights) comprise the cadets who give their time and eagerness to learn about aviation and discipline.

     Keeping these kids interested in something that requires thought and planning, as opposed to finding themselves in trouble, makes me proud to be a part of this organization," said Maj. Lloyd Voights, 83rd Composite Squadron.  "Watching a cadet's knowledge base grow with the understanding of the aviation arena is rewarding and I can see them as future pilots, instructors and teachers."

     Civil Air Patrol is always in need of volunteers. Adults and youth who are interested in the art of flying or have a patriotic desire to serve our country and help our future generation of aviators should contact Fitzpatrick at williamr.fitzpatrick@yahoo.com or call 505-417-8368.

Members of the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol prepare the Phoenix hot air balloon for its early morning flight.  The pilot, Capt. Albert L. Lowenstein, who is a volunteer with the CAP, along with other volunteers, explain how to attach the cables to the uprights which the burner is attached on.  He ensures that they understand the importance of this as the assembly could possibly separate from the basket.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)Members of the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol prepare the Phoenix hot air balloon for its early morning flight. The pilot, Capt. Albert L. Lowenstein, who is a volunteer with the CAP, along with other volunteers, explain how to attach the cables to the uprights which the burner is attached on. He ensures that they understand the importance of this as the assembly could possibly separate from the basket. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)









Cadet Staff Sgt. Makenzey A. Lindquist and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Angelica Cordova, two Civil Air Patrol cadets, hold the ropes and lower portion of the envelope which is attached to the top of the balloon.  The rope is part of the crown line which is used for stabilization of the balloon while it is being inflated.  The envelope is inflated using a large fan; this allows the envelope to open up.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)Cadet Staff Sgt. Makenzey A. Lindquist and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Angelica Cordova, two Civil Air Patrol cadets, hold the ropes and lower portion of the envelope which is attached to the top of the balloon. The rope is part of the crown line which is used for stabilization of the balloon while it is being inflated. The envelope is inflated using a large fan; this allows the envelope to open up. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)The Phoenix, a hot air balloon owned by the Civil Air Patrol of New Mexico, is inflated for its early morning flight.  The balloon, which was formerly known as Sunrise II, hit power lines causing the gondola to burn and causing injury to one of its passengers.  Danny Lovato, who was the passenger injured on that fateful day, was allowed to conquer his fears by going up in the balloon that he was injured in. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)The Phoenix, a hot air balloon owned by the Civil Air Patrol of New Mexico, is inflated for its early morning flight. The balloon, which was formerly known as Sunrise II, hit power lines causing the gondola to burn and causing injury to one of its passengers. Danny Lovato, who was the passenger injured on that fateful day, was allowed to conquer his fears by going up in the balloon that he was injured in. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)
Cadre, cadets and volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol gather up the envelope that landed north of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park Feb. 15.  The cadre involved is eager to teach the cadets on the art of aviation.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)Cadre, cadets and volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol gather up the envelope that landed north of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park Feb. 15. The cadre involved is eager to teach the cadets on the art of aviation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paula Aragon.)



Balloon pilot turns tragedy into inspiration

posted Feb 23, 2015, 5:29 PM by Ben Noyce

February 17, 2015

NEW MEXICO – Balloon pilot Daniel Lovato stepped back into the gondola for the first time since losing his arm in a balloon accident over one year ago. As Lovato got ready to take off once again, he admitted it hasn't been easy getting back in. “It’s something to finish my final chapter. That’s what I have to do,” he said. His trip on Saturday morning in the Phoenix, which he donated to Civil Air Patrol's New Mexico Wing, took him over the Rio Rancho-Corrales area before landing. CAP members assisted Lovato in the flight

Source: Volunteer Magazine

Balloon crash survivor sets sights on the sky

posted Feb 23, 2015, 5:27 PM by Ben Noyce

February 11, 2015

NEW MEXICO -- What is it they say about regaining confidence after a bad experience – when you fall off the horse, get back on, right? Imagine, then, when the fall is more than 40 feet and the horse is a hot-air balloon that bursts into flames when it hits power lines. Imagine that the explosion sends bolts of electricity through your body, chars your flesh, barbecues your left arm and leaves you unconscious for three weeks. Imagine all that, and you might have an idea how monumental it is for Danny Lovato to get back on. He’ll do just that this coming Sunday morning, weather permitting, when he boards the Phoenix, the balloon he donated to the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol following his near-fatal crash in 2013. Find out more about Lovato and his upcoming flight in Joline Gutierrez Krueger’s UpFront column on the front page of today's Albuquerque Journal.

Source: Volunteer Magazine

Oct - Dec 2014 CAP Vector

posted Oct 30, 2014, 12:00 PM by Ben Noyce   [ updated Oct 30, 2014, 12:00 PM ]

Civil Air Patrol Members:

Welcome to CAP Vector - a quarterly online news and information tool designed to "get the word out" on CAP initiatives, events and policies. Main topic areas are listed alphabetically. You can quickly scan the boldface headers under the main topic areas and focus on an item you're interested in. Thank you for all you do as unpaid professionals in one of America's premier community service organizations!

Don R. Rowland
Chief Operating Officer
CAP National Headquarters
 
Click the link below to download
the Vector News Update
 
Joseph R. Vazquez
Maj General, CAP
National Commander
 
 
 
 

A History of Balloon Fiesta

posted Oct 14, 2014, 2:05 PM by Ben Noyce

How media marketing transormed the autumn sky
By August March; Courtesy of Albuquerque Alibi, October 2-8, 2014

“The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon/ It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon/ We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky/ For we can fly …”―“Up, Up, and Away” by Jimmy Webb

Jimmy Webb’s romantic anthem to the joys of ballooning, popularized by The 5th Dimension in the late 1960s, piqued America’s interest in an aerial activity that had previously been classified along the same lines as fencing and cricket―clever but ultimately too complex for the American sports and leisure palate. Within a matter of years, balloons and ballooning became a notable part of our popular culture.

Albuquerque, N.M.―a place with a big blue sky, favorable wind currents and a storied history of involvement in aviationplayed a big part in the expression and sustainability of airborne cultures. While Lindbergh skipped Burque, settling instead on Lordsburg and Santa Fe on his Spirit of St. Louis tour in 1927, other flyers followed in his wake.

Even as Lindbergh snubbed Burque for its lack of adequate aviation facilities, the city was quietly developing a world-class flight center for civilian and military use. All kinds of human flight practices, from ballooning to space travel, grew up in the shadow of the Sandia Mountains. Randolph Lovelace―the dude that Lovelace Health System is named for―was an aviation surgeon who came west to research and develop the first reliable pressure suits needed to take humans higher and higher into the air.

William P. and Virginia Dillon Cutter pose with a Beachcraft Bonanza.Before him, William and Virginia Cutter―her dad, Richard C. Dillon, was governor―founded Cutter Flying Service here in 1928. Besides bringing modern air travel and shipping to Albuquerque, the Cutters birthed a son named Sid. As a cargo pilot with thousands of hours under his belt, young Cutter returned home in 1960 to carry on the family business. Along the way he provided the vision and know-how required to bring the balloon craze to Burque. Indeed, he was the first person in the state of New Mexico to own a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon―with its altimeter, burners and blast valves―is flight technology at its most thrillingly human, as mankind’s first successful foray into air travel.                                                                  CUTTER AVIATION; William P. and Virginia Dillon pose with a Beachcraft Bonanza

Sid Cutter’s balloon was procured in celebration of his mother’s birthday in 1971. That may seem like a reasonable human expression of sentiment, but the balloon he acquired for commemorative purposes was anything but typical. It was large enough to take a man aloft, and it was powered by propane. The hot air balloon soon became pilot Cutter’s preferred form of flight. When the Los Angeles Times asked him why, he answered, “It’s like floating through the air on a magic carpet ride.”

Sid Cutter coolly surveys the 1960s aviation scene.Cutter’s promotion of all things balloon garnered the attention of local media. In 1972 representatives of a high-watt, popular Albuquerque AM radio station approached him with an interesting idea. They wanted to know how many hot air balloons Cutter could assemble at the local mall.

Coronado Mall―then situated across from St. Pius X High School and up the road a bit from the slightly more glamorous Winrock Shopping Center―was chosen as the site of a live remote broadcast intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KOB (now known as KKOB 770 AM) with a few balloons thrown in for sauce.

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CUTTER AVIATION; Sid Cutter coolly surves the 1960s aviation scene.

Twenty-thousand people attended. Thirteen balloons and their crews, hailing from all over the continent, enthralled and entertained the spectators with a form of flight many had heard about but few had actually experienced. The radio station got its celebration that day, playing The 5th Dimension’s rendition of Webb’s flighty classic over and over.

But more importantly, sparks flew; the roar of propane burners, the vibrant spheres in the sky, and the carefree yet focused pilots ignited the town’s collective culture. After that fateful day in April 1972, ballooning was here to stay. Cutter oversaw the expansive growth and success of the Balloon Fiesta until his death three springs ago from cancer.

Sid Cutter in the technicolor ’80sDuring and after the second World War, the US Army Air Corps and Air Force ran an advanced flying school on the air base south of town. Cutter Flying Service provided some of the instruction. Among the aviation aces who passed through the expanding air base was another Fiesta prime mover, Ben Abruzzo, an Air Force veteran and entrepreneur.

After his service at Kirtland as a squadron leader was finished, Lieutenant Abruzzo stayed in Albuquerque. Author Pamela Salmon wrote that a report on Abruzzo by his commanders cheerily noted, “He was a risk-taker of the highest degree.” Active in the ’60s Albuquerque economy, Abruzzo applied his acumen to projects that included local legacies. Development of the toney Sandia Heights neighborhood and Sandia Ski Area and construction of the Sandia Tramway all sprang from the minds of Abruzzo and his collaborators.

NATIONAL BALLOON MUSEUM

Sid Cutter in the technicolor '80s

Cutting Flying Service aircraft hangar circa 1960sIn the ’70s Abruzzo's interest in high-tech ballooning expanded. He was a frequent race and contest winner in his “Union Gas” hot air balloon at early versions of the Fiesta, but he began to set his sights higher. Abruzzo’s fascination with high-altitude gas ballooning led to his exploration of its lofty and dangerous possibilities. Fellow pilot Maxie Anderson and Abruzzo planned an adventure that would place Albuquerque at the epicenter of the ballooning world and give faces and narrative punch to the growing sport and its rapidly developing fan base.

                                                                                                CUTTER AVIATION; Cutter Flying Service aircraft hanger circa 1960s

Abruzzo, Anderson and professional pilot Larry Newman attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the Double Eagle in 1977. They didn’t like, totally succeed, but their harrowing journey thrilled the press and the people. Their second attempt in the Double Eagle II a year later yielded triumph, and Abruzzo and his mates returned home as heroes. After winning several more endurance records, Abruzzo signed on as captain of the Double Eagle V. In this pressurized, helium-lifted, spaceship-like vehicle, Abruzzo successfully traversed the Pacific Ocean with teammates Larry Newman, Ron Clark and Rocky Aoki in 1981.

Double Eagle II over NormandyAbruzzo, his wife and three family friends died in a plane crash on the outskirts of Albuquerque in 1985. That happened shortly after takeoff from Albuquerque’s Coronado Airport, a medium-sized landing strip bordered by Sandia Pueblo. News reports revealed that Abruzzo had been distracted by a faulty cargo hatch, causing the Cessna 421 to crash onto I-25 near the Alameda exit. Abruzzo’s passion for ballooning, his embrace of the sport’s extreme possibilities, and his outright bravery as a flyer brought the event a profitability and mystique that contributed to the Fiesta’s permanent place in pop culture consciousness. The Anderson-          BETTMAN ARCHIVES: Double Eagle II over Normandy                                                          Abruzzo International Balloon Museum adjacent to the Fiesta’s massive launch site was named in his honor.

Ben and Pat Abruzzo were passionate about ballooning. The couple died in a plane crash near Albuquerque together in 1985.The world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta begins its 42nd iteration on Saturday, Oct. 4, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 12. Its evolution from a clever marketing adventure into a global phenomenon drawing balloonists, media and tourists reflects back the creativity and resourcefulness of nuevomexicanos past, present and future.
 
 
                                                                                                                           National Balloon Museum   
                                                                                                                                                                    Ben and Pat Abruzzo were passionate   
                                                                                                                                                                     about ballooning. The couple died in a plane
                                                                                                                                                                     crash near Albuquerque together in 1985.  
 The event, like its visionary founders and participants, has seen a fair amount of progress over the decades. The KOB publicity stunt raised public awareness and interest in the sport, and the event moved to the State Fairgrounds for a while. For a few years, the nascent Fiesta continued each spring on an upward course.

In 1973, 138 balloons flew around Midtown. The next year’s event only hosted 113 floating orbs, but it made two things abundantly clear. One thing was that the Balloon Fiesta had a future in this dusty town. The other thing was that the Fairgrounds was not the place to make that future happen. Too many urban obstacles―electrical poles, buildings, cars, the airport and a nearby, top-secret nuclear weapons laboratory/depository―made location an issue for the bright floaty things.

A third issue: Springtime weather was rarely favorable by ballooning standards. Hard work from its organizers, a partnership with the city, and the opportunity to host the 1975 World Balloon Championships in October 1974 resulted in movement north, as the entire event moved to Simms Field, on what was then the northern edge of town. Oddly, there were two fiestas that year, one at the Fairgrounds in February and the new, improved, world sport-sanctioned event that happened out by where Jefferson and McLeod intersect today.

William Cutter chats with a mechanic out on the West Mesa

Simms Field lent an arcadian touch to the proceedings and was a much safer site for mass balloon flight. Sid Cutter and collaborator Tom Rutherford turned control of the fiestas over to the city. A nonprofit corporation called Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Inc. (AIBF) was formed to steer the yearly tradition into the future. The world championship angle was dropped in favor of a more progressive marketing model. The event would now focus on balloon culture as much as on competition.

The October version of things was a hit. The Rio Grande Valley boasts great ballooning weather in the fall. High stakes

CUTTER AVIATION: William Cutter chats with a mechanic out on the West Mesa

championship races were out, and more spectator-friendly events came into focus. Over the next 20 years, the Fiesta continued to flourish, becoming a lucrative economic engine for the city and embedding itself in Albuquerque’s culture. The Balloon Fiesta is as integral a part of autumn in the high desert as is the aroma of roasting green chile.

During part of those two formative decades, the Balloon Fiesta went through a period of corporate sponsorship. During this mini-era, it was known as the Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This had something to do with the totally awesome fact that our Fiesta is the most-photographed event on planet Earth. The millennium yawned open ahead, and the future of the Fiesta began to materialize. The popularization of digital photography weakened the once kingly film company.

Eventually the company withdrew from the event, returning to corporate headquarters to watch tons of Kodachrome curl up meaninglessly in its warehouses. The revolution in personal, digital photography over the past 15 years has encouraged photography at the Balloon Fiesta as well as a diversification of events and activities available for spectators. The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum helped establish Balloon Fiesta Park as the festival’s forever locus back in 2005. As the site matures, the Fiesta continues to present sublimely entertaining and occasionally tragic events as part of its yearly repertoire.

Besides traditional hot air balloons and their distinctive place in the annals of American civilian aviation, the Fiesta also sponsors the lofty Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, an extreme sporting event with life-challenging potentials. Ben Abruzzo’s son Richard died in a crash off the coast of Italy during the 2010 race. Despite the danger involved, gas ballooning remains a formidable force at the Fiesta. The advent of special shape balloons, balloon glows and more mass ascensions (as weather permits) have shaped the Balloon Fiesta into one of the more prominent and lucrative tourist/vacation destinations in the continental United States.

For local businesses, this is a yearly boon of consistent and considerable grace. Hotels are booked a year in advance. Restaurants all over Burque are packed for early breakfasts or après landing lunches. Clubs see an upturn in attendance and the redemption of drink tickets. The balloon enthusiasts are, generally speaking, welcome guests in our city. In over 40 years of repeated expression, the participants, sponsors, spectators, vendors, participants and casual observers of Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta have harnessed a distinctive subculture in its annual manifestation.

Complete with its own idioms, favored food and drink and sense of time and appearance, this subculture has become a vital part of Albuquerque’s identity. The Dawn Patrol, champagne and breakfast burritos in the morning, the cheerful barter of metal and enamel pins, a feeling of adventure and freedom―they’re all variations on a hep, quirky niche within the American character. Plus which, the Fiesta's very existence pays tribute to the wonder of a New Mexico morning; the uncommon beauty of hundreds of shimmering orbs rising up at once and floating over the city at daybreak is pretty awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEN "DOC" RADIN / CC BY 2.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Cadet Exchange Cadets tour flighline

posted Aug 25, 2014, 9:09 AM by Ben Noyce

The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland hosted a tour of several aircraft for the members of the Civil Air Patrol, and a few foreign exchange cadets visiting the CAP, on Aug. 1.

Tours were given of the CV-22 Osprey, C-130J Super Hercules, HH-60 Pave Hawk and UH-1 Huey. Local CAP members, as well as cadets from Ghana and England, joined the tour.

David Dua-Sakyi, 18, of Ghana said his favorite aircraft of the tour was the Huey, because the pilot can fly low to the ground and see how fast he is traveling.

He plans to study computer science in college, then pursue a license to be a commercial pilot,

he said.

“I love planes,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a pilot.”

He’s been in the United States for 11 days and said he has enjoyed everything he’s done. He toured Washington, saw museums in Santa Fe and went to Eclipse Aerospace, but the best thing he has done was when he was able to take a turn flying a Cessna during a trip to Soccoro.

Capt. Nicki Voight of CAP said she now has a better appreciation for the challenges someone like Dua-Sakyi faces in trying to get his pilot’s license. She and her husband, Lloyd, hosted Dua-Sakyi’s escort from Ghana, Kofi Sarfo, who is an education administrator.

She said Sarfo is most interested in finding ways of improving education in Ghana.

“It’s interesting to see why he’s here. He wants to make things better at his school,” he said.

Part of her goal in the tour has been to take him and the other CAP members to museums and other places.

“What can I give him for him to take back?” she asked. “He didn’t come here for a vacation. He didn’t come here for a tour. He came here to make things better and I admire that.”
 
Courtesy of the Kirtland AFB Nucleus, Aug 14 edition

UP, UP And Away Kirtland AFB NUCLEUS July 17, 2014

posted Jul 23, 2014, 12:09 PM by Ben Noyce   [ updated Jul 23, 2014, 12:10 PM ]

NEW Balloon Program In The News

posted Jul 17, 2014, 9:30 AM by Ben Noyce

New Mexico CAP Wing makes history with launching of their new ballooning program. The story has been picked up by many local news reporting agencies;

A Vision Quest in Albuquerque, NM

posted Jun 2, 2014, 12:19 PM by Ben Noyce   [ updated Jun 4, 2014, 9:32 AM ]

A 'Bucket List' is usually activities you want to achieve before you die, but not for one 9-year old Dallas boy.  Ben Pierce has a different kind of bucket list; seeing the Northern Lights, seeing the Parthenon in Greece, seeing the Grand Canyon, seeing the Lincoln Memorial and White House, and seeing Albuquerque because of the Weird Al Song, and so many more sites around the world.  This list has a common theme that most of us take for granted; seeing.

 

Ben is going blind, his eyesight been damaged when he was born just 9 years earlier.  After he and his family received the news that his eyesight had changed so dramatically, they immediately began Ben's wish list.  Where did he want to go, what did he want to see, and most important, what did he want to experience before he lost his sight for good.  Therefore, the Vision Quest began.

 

Ben and his family found their way to Albuquerque, NM simply made aware by a song from Weird Al. Wanting to see the great Southwest city and posting it on his list, fans of the list quickly enacted a plan.  What better way to see the city and the high desert landscape but from a bird’s eye view, up in the sky.  And just how do we do that here in Albuquerque?  By Hot Air Balloon of course!

 

Captain Al Lowenstein of the 811th LBJ School Squadron (LBJ Coyotes) heard of the family and of Ben's list and quickly volunteered his time and balloon for the mission.  Cadets of the Coyote Squadron also volunteered their time and expertise as ground and chase crew for Capt Lowenstein's Vision Quest mission.  At 6:00 Saturday morning, May 31, 2014, Ben was treated to a tour of Albuquerque from the sky.

 

The skies were shared by many other balloons that morning, several of which belonging to local clubs as well as home of the upcoming Civil Air Patrol Ballooning Program.  New Mexico is the 'Unofficial' home of Hot Air Ballooning, as you can see anywhere from a couple to a couple dozen balloons on the horizon each morning.  Home of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held each year during the first part of October, balloonists come from all over the world to see as well as participate in the almost 2 weeklong event, launching anywhere from 500 to 800 balloons every morning.

 

New Mexico Civil Air Patrol Wing has been pushing the resurrection of the CAP Ballooning Program for the past year to establish a third means of Aerospace Education and Orientation Flights, as well as hands on training in Chase Crew and ground crew operations.  Cadets and Seniors alike are able to participate in the Chase Crew Academy to learn the basic fundamentals of Hot Air Ballooning and put it to practical use during Balloon Orientation flights, CAP advertisement campaigns, and during rallies where crew hands are always in need.  An average size balloon can use anywhere from five to eight crewmembers and a special shape balloon can use an excess of 12 or more.  Aerobelle the Cow Balloon, the largest special shape in the world, requires a minimum of 16 crewmembers just to inflate.

 

Captain Lowenstein and the members of the 811th Coyote Squadron played an instrumental part of Ben's flight that Saturday morning, trained and ready to accomplish and carry out a humanitarian flight for a family and person so desperate in their quest of memorable visions.
 

Ben and his family continue their quest to see as many places and experience as many activities before the inevitable happens.  To see more reports on Ben's flight as well as his other vision quests; please visit the Albuquerque's new station site by visiting http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3457808.shtml and http://krqe.com/2014/06/01/boys-wish-to-see-abq-fulfilled-before-going-blind/

 

If you would like to get more information on the Balloon Academy, please visit the New Mexico Group 800 Site for upcoming events and training dates at http://sites.google.com/site/nmcapgroup800.

CAP marks 5th straight year as Lightspeed Aviation Foundation grants finalist

posted May 12, 2014, 11:15 AM by Ben Noyce   [ updated May 12, 2014, 11:17 AM ]

May 6, 2014
For the fifth straight year, Civil Air Patrol is one of the finalists in Lightspeed Aviation Foundation’s Pilot’s Choice Awards. 
 
To be eligible for the foundation’s grants, nonprofit aviation organizations must be committed to growing the pilot community and using their grants for compassion and service to others.
 
CAP and 14 other aviation-based charities are competing for grants this year based on the number of online votes each receives. Those receiving the most votes will be awarded grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.
 
The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation has awarded CAP a $10,000 grant in each of the past four years. The grants have been used to enhance CAP’s Aerospace Education program.
 
The winning organizations for 2014 grants will be announced in November. In the meantime, CAP members are encouraged to vote and encourage their friends to vote at the foundation's website.
 
CAP’s candidacy in this year’s grant program has been boosted by a 59-second video summarizing the organization’s core missions.

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