By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

A job well done


Last updated 1/24/2019 at 9:41pm

Michael Bays photo

A Compass Hot Air Balloon lands at Flower Hill Park in Temecula, Sunday, Jan. 13. At the end of a hot air balloon ride workers need to deflate, pack-up and transport the balloon away.

Ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history, Aristotle, once said, "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."

There are many types of jobs, and all kinds of people who fill the everyday positions that affect our lives. Valley News is paying homage to those who get up every day and do their job – putting "perfection" in their work.

In this first of what will be a series of photo essays recognizing workers throughout the valley, we take an inside look at those who work behind the scenes to help a multitude of residents and visitors to the Temecula Valley take flight in the colorful hot air balloons that can be seen slowly rising against the backdrop of Temecula Valley Wine Country – the hot air balloon "chase" or ground crew.

Unlike traditional aircraft, such as airplanes or helicopters, it takes many hands to wrangle a hot air balloon. The process involves everything from greeting passengers to driving to the launch field where they unload and set up the balloon and complete a preflight inspection.

Once the balloon takes off, the crew loads the equipment left on the launch field and begins the process of "chasing" the balloon to the landing site where they assist the pilot in bringing the balloon and its passengers safely to the ground before finally deflating the balloon and packing and loading it onto the transport vehicle.

These often unrecognized individuals are truly the unsung heroes of the ballooning world.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]

Michael Bays photo

Craig Geertsema, Josiah Lovullo and Tristin D'Ambros prepare a now-deflated hot air balloon to be rolled and loaded to the truck for transportation.


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