Among the aircraft displayed will be an Olympus 180 hang glider very similar to the one that traveled the Atlantic strapped to the bottom of Double Eagle II when Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman made their historic flight. That hang glider, which was manufactured by Newman’s company, was ditched during the flight to eliminate extra weight. Another will be a large sailplane on loan from the U.S. Southwest Soaring Museum in Moriarty, NM. With wingspans of up to 50 feet, these aircraft are sure to be an impressive sight as they hang in the Museum gallery.
Visitors to the exhibition will note that balloons aren't the only things which travel on the wind! Understanding how sailplanes, paragliders, hang gliders and other heavier-than-air vehicles sail on the ocean of air will prepare them to learn more about other things that use the wind to get around — including raptors, squirrels, fish, frogs and snakes.
Balloon Museum Curator, Marilee Schmit Nason, has gathered a number of other interesting artifacts that include a paraglider and information on “balloon drops”—hang gliders launched from giant hot air balloons. Explanatory text and numerous hands-on activities will teach about lift, thermals, and both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air flight. The Museum’s popular weather station will also be part of the installation.
“This exhibition is truly for all ages, with artifacts and information that will capture the imagination of young and old alike,” said Nason. “The concept of ‘Sky Sailing’ for humans is the ultimate realization of man’s earliest desire to overcome the pull of gravity and sail into the sky like a bird. Visitors will go away with a new understanding and appreciation for those who throughout the ages contributed to man’s ability to do just that,” she added.
The Balloon Museum is located at 9201 Balloon Museum Drive NE just south of Balloon Fiesta Park (North of Alameda) and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. year-round (closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and City holidays that fall on Mondays). Admission is $4.00 for adults ($3.00 for NM residents), $2.00 for seniors 65+, $1.00 for children ages 4-12, and children 3 and under FREE. Admission is free on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and all day on the first Friday of every month. Balloon Museum Foundation members, ICOM, AAM, and NMAM members are FREE. For more information, call 505-768-6020, visit www.cabq.gov/balloon, or call 311. For accessibility, call Relay NM or 711.