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Hot Air Balloons: The Tech Inside the Basket [Video]

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It doesn’t get much more mobile than taking off in a basket and going wherever the wind takes you, so I jumped at the chance to go to a local hot air balloon festival and see what technology balloon pilots use while in the air.

The actual tech varies from pilot to pilot, and can be as simple as a strap on flight control instrument to a laptop and smartphone.

Dennis Hall of Howell Michigan was kind enough to take me up in the Perfect Calm, his 77,000 cubic foot hot air balloon which measures 57 feet tall and 56 feet wide. Surprisingly, this colorful craft weighs in at 800 pounds, before the pilot and passenger get on board.

Hot Air Balloon Technology Video

Hot Air Balloon Flight ControlAs you can see in the video, Dennis uses two easy to read and straightforward instruments to know where we are and what is going on with the balloon. I was glad that there wasn’t an iPad or notebook with a glossy display which was critical to our safety since the sun was quite bright.

If Dennis wanted to use a slate or a notebook in this area, I would recommend a rugged Motion tablet. This would be good for a professional balloon pilot, but a bit pricey for someone who is in it for the love of flying.

Some pilots will use a laptop or smartphone in addition to the basic instrumentation, but this is a perfect example of using the right tech for the job. Dennis, who is a hobbyist, has chosen the equipment that works best for him.

Those of us who use technology in our daily lives. this is an important lesson to keep in mind. If you are in Ohio, the Flag City Balloonfest runs through the weekend in Findlay Ohio. For more on the Perfect Calm, check out the balloon’s webpage.

Josh Smith is Editor of GottaBeMobile and Notebooks.com. He's always looking for ways to help you get the most of your gear and loves to talk about tech on radio and TV. Josh uses an iOS and Android devices as well as Mac and Windows Computers. Josh Smith on Google+ Email: [email protected]

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    08/15/2011 at 3:19 pm

    great, now I just need a baloon,ome pilots will use a laptop or smartphone in addition to the basic instrumentation, but this is a perfect example of using the right tech for the job. Dennis, who is a hobbyist, has chosen the equipment that works best for him.

  2. Lia Rue Ripple

    08/15/2011 at 9:07 pm

    Amazing video; and very insightful info! Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone!

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