You’re seeing my second post from the 2017 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF). Before the sun rises, and after the Dawn Patrol, balloons-for-hire will lift off.
If you are not a friend of a balloon owner, it is unlikely you will be asked to crew for that hot air balloon. Sometimes crew members get to ride in the basket. Others are left on the ground to set up for launch, break down and fold up balloon equipment, or chase the balloon to meet it at landing place. Here, a bloke dressed in a banana costume was left on a grounded balloon crew.
The Rainbow Ryders are the official hot air balloon ride operator at the AIBF. They are actually available for hire all year-long, and offer hot air balloon experiences in Phoenix, Colorado Springs, and of course, Albuquerque.
Consider this: they are among the first wave of hot air balloons to launch after the conclusion of the Dawn Patrol show. What this allows for, is that the riders are in the sky, already tucked in a basket with a bird’s eye view of all the subsequent launches of other hot air balloons.
I haven’t yet experienced Fiesta from the air, but I expect that the photo-making opportunities from a Rainbow Ryder would be an amazing perspective. You know this flight company hasn’t lost sight of that special experience. Right on the side of their balloon envelopes they tout, “✔ Bucket List.”