Staying Afloat

The Hot Air Affair comes to Hudson again—to get airborne this time.

Harsh winds have kept the balloons grounded the past two years, but this year, Hot Air Affair president Evy Nerbonne hopes for a relatively windless weekend, so the 30 to 35 hot air balloons—brought in from as far as Pennsylvania and New Mexico—can launch February 3 from the three Hudson locations as planned. This year’s theme, “Gone with the Windz,” is both Scarlett O’Hara and meteorology at work. “The hope is if we give Mother Nature her own theme, she’ll let us get up in the air,” Nerbonne quips.

Balloon fast facts:

15 thousand
Balloons can go 15,000 feet high, but pilots stay under 4,000 feet in metro areas.

10 Degrees
It’s usually 10 degrees warmer in the basket than on the ground due to the burner.

77–90 thousand
Most U.S. balloons are 77,000 to 90,000 cubic feet.

20 minutes
It takes 20 minutes to fill a balloon with cold air, then 5 minutes to heat up.