White Sands National Monument   //   Location   //   How to Get Here   //   What to Do at the Sands   //   Maps

Geology   //   Military   //   NASA   //   Spaceport America   //   Hot Air Balloon Invitational   //   Events   //   Photo Gallery

Home // White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational

 

 

White Sands Balloon Invitational - Credits: Robin Roberts
White Sands Balloon Invitational
Credits: Robin Roberts
 


Hot Air Balloon Invitational

 

The 2014 Balloon Fest will take place on September 20 and 21.

The White Sands Balloon Committee and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce will be hosting both days of the Balloon Festival on Sept 20-21 at the Alamogordo Balloon Fiesta Park in Alamogordo, NM. For more information call 800-826-0294 or (575) 437-6120.

 

The 2013 White Sands Balloon Invitational took place Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, 2013. Here are the photos.

If you have a photo from the White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational, feel free to submit it.
 

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 of
$3.00.



White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational 2012 - Photo: Kevin Pfister
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
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 photos of the 2011 event.

 


The 19th White Sands Balloon Invitational took place September 18 - 19, 2010.

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 Gallery


Hot Air Balloon Invitationals - White Sands Photo Album

 

 

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 Where 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 crew.


 

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:

2008 - 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 conditions.

Check out the balloon fest video we've all been waiting for . . .


And here is a recap of the 2007 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta:

 

White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational
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 Sands.

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.
 

2007 Balloon Glow, White Sands Balloon Fiesta
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 Slideshow.

 

And here are some short video clips from the event:

 

Here goes the meteorologists' test balloon.

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 safety issues.
 

More photos from the Balloon Fiesta in our Photo Gallery.

 

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 ....

REMAXX balloon over White Sands Missile Range
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 people.

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!

 

 

Menu


White Sands National Monument New Mexico

VISIT WHITE SANDS
Where is White Sands located?   ::   How to get there?    ::   Where to stay?   ::   What to do at the Sands?  
What else to do in the area?   ::   Nightlife   ::   Filming a Movie?   ::   Weather at the Sands
  ::   How to Photograph White Sands?

ADDITIONAL INFO
General info   ::   Geological info   ::   Info on the dunes   ::   About Gypsum   ::   History of the Monument
Lake Lucero   ::   Military   ::   NASA    ::   Spaceport America    ::   Tularosa Basin    ::   Alamogordo
Otero County    ::   Doņa Ana County   ::   New Mexico   ::   Chihuahuan Desert
Hunting and Fishing in New Mexico    ::   UNESCO World Heritage Site   ::   Hot Air Balloon Festival

Visitor's Guide   ::   About Us   ::   Support   ::   Downloads   ::   Maps   ::   Events   ::   News
Photo Gallery    ::   Submit Your Photo   ::   Featured Content

 

© 2014 Emerson Kent. All rights reserved.
Contact Us