Albuquerque, NM, February XX, 2010 — Albuquerque’s expansive, enchanting skies and unique wind currents entice a variety of ‘sky sailors.’ The Balloon Museum’s newest exhibition – Sky Sailing! – opens March 7, 2010. This special exhibition celebrates sailplanes, paragliders and hang gliders that allow humans to sail through the sky without motorized power. It also includes nature’s own creatures that, through ingenious anatomical design, are able to sail through the air. 

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.


There will be an Open House for the public on March 7 with many exciting hang glider and paragliding demonstrations including a special performance of acrobatic paragliding featuring the internationally renowned Ozone Team! (weather permitting), music, and hands-on activities both inside and outdoors. The March 7 “Sky Sailing!Open House will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM and will offer FREE admission. 
The exhibition will also be a featured attraction at the Museum’s Spring Break Family Day on Wednesday, March 17 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The March 17 spring break event will also feature hands-on ballooning fun with Balloon Explorium, Inc., The Puppet Playhouse, arts & crafts, the Cutie Dink balloon inflation (weather permitting), music and refreshments.

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, or call 311. For accessibility, call Relay NM or 711.