White Sands Balloon
Hot Air Balloon Invitational
The 2016 Balloon Invitational took place September 17 and 18.
If you have photos from previous White Sands Hot
Air Balloon Invitationals, feel free to
The 2015 Balloon Invitational took place September 19 and 20.
The 2014 Balloon Fest took place on September 20 and 21.
The 2013 White Sands Balloon Invitational took place
Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, 2013.
are the photos.
In 2012, launch time was 7:00 am on
Saturday and Sunday from various sites in Alamogordo and also at the
White Sands National Monument.
Admission was free except a gate fee for White Sands National Monument
FROM THE 21ST WHITE SANDS HOT AIR BALLOON INVITATIONAL -
SEPTEMBER 15-16, 2012
Photo: Kevin Pfister
Here are some
photos from the 21st White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational,
September 15 and 16, 2012.
And here's a review of previous years along with some general information:
How did the 2011 event turn out?
FROM THE 20TH WHITE SANDS HOT AIR BALLOON INVITATIONAL -
SEPTEMBER 16-18, 2011
Photo: Thelma Sharber
It was totally windless at the 20th Annual Hot Air Balloon Invitational, and very mild in the 80s
with little humidity.
And here are some
of the 2011 event.
The 19th White Sands Balloon Invitational took place September 18 - 19,
And the conditions? A dream.
Incredible weather. No wind. The
balloons went up and just stayed there. It is rumored that this was the
best launch in the event's history.
And here is the
2010 Hot Air Balloon Invitational Slideshow
More balloon photos in the
White Sands Photo
The annual White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational always takes place on
a weekend in September.
Last years' admission fee for the general public per head was $3.00 over
the age of 17. Under 17 was free.
The event begins right at sunrise and
lasts until the balloons come down, usually 3 hours. There is a Balloon
Glow at our local High School, Alamogordo High School, that takes place
30 minutes after sundown, usually 7:30 pm. Admission for the Balloon
Glow was FREE.
The morning lift-offs you can reach best by going to White Sands National
Monument. You have to take your own vehicle. White Sands Blvd., in
Alamogordo, head South and follow the road when it turns to Hwy 70. This
will lead you to White Sands National Monument.
The Hot Air Balloon Invitational grows
more and more popular each year. Approx. 200 to 400 spectators are
enjoying it each day. This is a rough guess, however.
See more under
is White Sands located and
How to get there.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE PUBLIC TO PURCHASE A BALLOON RIDE?
Unfortunately not. All balloons are
operated privately. However, some lucky individuals who crewed at the
event were offered a ride.
How do you become a crew member? You ask at the White Sands official
desk for an opening. Ask the desk where you can sign on to volunteer to
The Beginning of
White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational
It all started in 1992, when Ed Brabson, who is now director of the annual
balloon festival, and others managed to get all necessary permissions and
launched 18 balloons.
Previous Years at White Sands:
And here is more of the 2008 event, the 17th
White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational 2008. It had rained the day before the
event but throughout the festival we had ideal ballooning
Check out the balloon fest video we've all
been waiting for . . .
And here is a recap of the 2007 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta:
16TH WHITE SANDS HOT AIR BALLOON INVITATIONAL
SEPTEMBER 15 AND 16, 2007
Photo: Tory Davis
It was announced that around 50 hot air
balloons would be launched each day at sunrise. But Saturday was a no-go
due to unfavorable wind conditions.
The wind would have pushed the balloons
right over the restricted military territory of
White Sands Missile Range.
Approx. 440 long faces watched how
34 balloons didn't take off. At least the ones not launching from White
Saturday evening at sundown the
balloon glow was scheduled at the AHS football field, synchronized with the AHS
Band. But it was still very windy.
Everyone tried to make the best
of it, the school marching band accompanied the torches and we accompanied
a good bottle of whiskey. A pretty nice day after all.
BALLOON GLOW MINUS THE BALLOONS
SATURDAY, SEPT 15, 2007
Photo: Tory Davis
On Sunday people were ready for action,
and rightly so. The audience arrived before the balloons did. Approx.
350 spectators cheered on the 30 balloons that finally took off.
The balloon launches that were
scheduled from Alamogordo took off as planned.
Check out our
Hot Air Balloon
And here are some short video clips
from the event:
Here goes the meteorologists' test
balloon (aka pie ball).
Click to play video.
Bob Flotte is hoping to get the balloons up.
Click to play video.
Dave Chelgren says it's all depending on the
weather people, when the convoy arrived.
Click to play video.
Dave Chelgren is the Balloon Meister in
charge. He manages the pilots' registrations and has an eye on health and
More photos from the Balloon Fiesta in our Photo
It was understood that everybody had to immediately put their balloons back on the ground if the wind pushed
them towards the army restricted territory of White Sands Missile Rage. The
wind did exactly that and everyone went back down, except the REMAX
balloon. One pilot and three passengers were on the roll and later in big
trouble. Here she sails ....
REMAX BALLOON OVER WHITE
SANDS MISSILE RANGE
What happened on Friday at the
Sgt. Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center in Alamogordo?
A private reception
for the 64 balloon pilots was held. The pilots were briefed on safety
issues and they combined the occasion with a little celebration together
with their sponsors, crew members, and friends, all in all around 400
The Remax pilot (photo above) didn't
attend the safety instructions sessions. What do we learn from this?
To the best of our knowledge all information is current. If you should discover any errors, however, please
let us know via mail[at]white-sands-new-mexico.com. Thanks!