ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Visitors to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta are going to see something unusual this year, remote control balloons. Anticipation for the 2021 Balloon Fiesta is sky-high after last year’s cancellation and for the 49th Fiesta, organizers are introducing a new type of balloon to spectators.
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“It’s just like any hobby, you got your remote control planes, boats, cars and here we are with remote control balloons,” said Matt McKay, Model Balloon Meister of Balloon Fiesta.
Organizers said there are 30 registered remote control balloons set to take off for the mass accession on the first Sunday of Fiesta, and then on Wednesday and Friday. The remote control balloons are a fraction of the size of the average balloon and will be tethered to the ground, going up 50 feet with a mini gondola.
“We have a five-foot flame that we’re shooting up into a 3,000 cubic foot envelope, whereas the big balloon has a 12-foot flame that they’re shooting up into a 65,000 or even bigger envelope,” said Caryn Welz with Enchanted Model Balloons.
Welz of Albuquerque owns the vibrant mustache balloon and can’t want to showcase her remote control balloon to the masses.
“During corona times I actually spent that time building my remote control mini mustache balloon so it’s been a joy to come full circle not only with the big balloon but now with the RC balloon and be able to show both the big and little with all of you here at Fiesta,” said Welz.
Organizers believe the balloon will be a big draw, especially with younger spectators.
“Our goal with these model balloons is for education purposes, let’s get the younger crowd involved, get them up close to the balloons because if we can get them interested, maybe they’ll move on and be a big balloon pilot,” said Welz.
Twenty of the thirty remote control balloons are from New Mexico. Balloon Fiesta hopes to launch more than 55 remote control balloons next year, to set a new world record.