If there is one exciting thing about February that would be the hot air balloon festival in Pampanga, which is now in its 19th year, the festival is a four-day event that usually coincides with the Valentine’s Day. In this year, it will take place from February 12 to 15 in Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Free port Zone. The best part is, the festival is not all about hot air balloon. Other flying activities at the event are as follows.
1) Chase crew and off-road driving
After the hot air balloon lifted up, the work of the chase crew begins. The crew, riding a chase vehicle, will follow the balloon while on its flight. The crew maintains contact with the pilot. When the balloon landed down, the crew will extract the balloon from the site, deflate it and transfer all the equipment to the vehicle. Given the rough terrains in Pampanga, chase often involves off-road driving. Definitely, an experience of its own!
2) Aerobatic exhibitions
Aerobatics refer to various flying maneuvers and often in altitude that are not used in normal flights. Only the most experienced pilots can do a roll, pitch, spin and yaw, which are often a delight to watch.
3) Microlight and ultralight flying
Microlight and ultralight planes are fixed-winged aircraft that can carry 1 to 2 people only. Ultralights can execute simple to advanced maneuvers in the air, depending on its built and constriction. Watch how the pilots perform their maneuvers including the formations.
4) Powered paragliding
Paragliding is one type of ultralight aviation wherein the pilot carries a back motor. This can give him or her enough thrust to take off and glide. Tandem paragliding is also possible; an activity that mostly uses a para glider specifically designed for this purpose. Truly, this is a unique way to enjoy the unobstructed view of the sceneries.
Skydiving is a two-part adventure. First is riding the aircraft until the diver is in relatively high altitude and second is returning to the ground with the use of a parachute. Once the skydiver launches the parachute, he or she would be able to control the canopy and its direction and, of course, the landing. What a thrilling and heart-pumping experience!
Gliders are un powered air crafts. Glider pilots depend on naturally occurring currents to raise the glider and remain airborne. The most fun part is waiting for the glider to ascend using specific methods such as winch or bungee. Powered aircrafts with towropes can be also used!
7) Formation flying
Formation flying simply refers to a group of powered air crafts executing various formations. The traces they left often signals the perfection in each formation they do. One could only praise the pilots’ airspeed control and astute awareness of their current position.
8) Balloon bursting
Balloon bursting is another exciting event whereby light air crafts fly at lower altitudes than usual and attempt to burst the balloons released from the ground. This is a highly skilled event that showcases the pilot’s precision flying ability. Best watched with the kids!
9) RC aircraft flying
Radio controlled air crafts are the mini versions of the actual air crafts. In most instances, RC air crafts can perform aerobatic maneuvers that real air crafts cannot. Isn’t it amazing to watch close-to-real versions of air crafts doing high-stress aerobatics?
10) Kite flying
Another fun-filled activity for the kids and kids-at-heart, kite flying makes use of kites in various colors, shapes and forms that only require the wind to be lifted up in the air.
11) Search and rescue flight demonstrations
Very rarely that the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Air Force to come together to perform flight demonstrations. Nonetheless, they will showcase their search and rescue skills as part of this year’s festivities. Ever wondered how hard it is to be a part of a rescue team? Watch the demonstrations.
There they are. The good news is anyone can experience some of these activities (i.e. paragliding, airplane ride, balloon ride and tandem skydive) by themselves. Only for the most adventurous spirits though! Anyhow, you can always enjoy watching the pilots do their thing while in the sky. Make sure you keep your eyes wide open and enjoy!