GLENSHIRE, Calif. — There was a hot air balloon above the houses in Glenshire Tuesday morning. Three guys in the basket were firing the propane over and over. It looked like they were trying to get to an open space that is called “The Bluff” here in Glenshire. The balloon was almost there when the next thing I knew, they traveled all the way down Icknield Way, right over the houses, then the balloon hovered over Manchester Street. Still the guys kept firing the propane, feathering it in to a safe landing spot. The balloon finally landed right there in the neighborhood of Manchester/Icknield.
“I don't choose to land in a neighborhood,” said balloon pilot Ryan Wood. “However, balloons have no steering wheel and the winds were variable. Coming into Glenshire, I chose the first landing spot I could find, it was actually a very skilled landing.”
Wood took off from Prosser Reservoir, as he has twice weekly recently. He earlier reached an altitude of 12,000 feet, and was initially heading to Lake Tahoe for a two-hour flight.
But the winds pushed Wood and his two crew members back into the Glenshire neighborhood, where he chose the best landing option he could find: a cul de sac. “Landing a balloon is like parking a house,” said Wood.
The neighborhood children were excited to investigate the balloon after it's landing, which was done without harm to property. Wood even kept the balloon standing up before his chase truck arrived.
Wood owns the balloon, which he purchased in November during a balloon tour in Chile. He's been flying for about 14 years, often with a friend whose grandfather was a famous open basket balloon pilot and had inherited his balloons.
Wood had been flying at tree top level without any possible landing sights, and fuel was starting to become a concern. This landing was no whoops, it was an incredibly finessed touch down.
— Amy Edgett contributed to this report