National Geographic : 1966 Mar
Like a limp dishrag, Mr. Fink's balloon drops toward desert sage. Below, Berry (white short sleeved shirt) helps his crew portage gondola and balloon from a ravine where he landed. Dick Pollard, of Denver, Colorado, killed two years ago when his balloon drifted across high-tension lines. Now I detect a worrisome ground wind driving me into a deep, rocky ravine. Ground wind can drag a balloonist, shred ding bag and gondola. No Lions This Time A few feet above ground.... Now! I yank a line that pulls off the big rip panel in the crown. The balloon collapses, and I land with a jarring thud, dragging 30 yards. On other flights I have landed in water, among trees, and once right next to a lion pit in a zoo, but never in worse terrain than this. It takes my ground crew, who have been trying to follow the balloon by truck, four hours to catch up with me; we have to portage the balloon and gondola a quarter of a mile (right). Later I learn I have drift ed 12 miles and tied for sixth place. Jim Craig of China Lake, California, went 15 miles and won the race. Despite the rough landing, I can hardly wait to get back in the air, again to ride on silent winds beneath a nylon bag.