A wonderful reason to take a romantic and adventurous hot air balloon ride. I wanted to share with you one of our past Valentine experiences by hot air balloon.
Enjoy. You are welcome to share this and or publish as you see fit.
HELICOPTER PILOT PROPOSAL
On Valentine’s Day a few years ago, we met our passengers for the balloon rid e in Temecula but a light rain started. We cancelled the balloon flight. One of the passengers, a marine helicopter pilot from Camp Pendleton, took me aside and told me he really needed to do this flight. He was planning to propose that morning, have a civil marriage that afternoon and report to be shipped out to Afghanistan that night. He wanted to make sure his girlfriend received his benefits if something should happen to him overseas.
The marine had his shipmate buddies standing by in another car with a “Will you marry me?” sign that they were going to display from the ground as the balloon flew overhead. Being a helicopter pilot, he knew it was perfectly legal for me to fly a balloon in the rain and begged me to do a short flight just to make the proposal happen.
We support our servicemen so I decided to help. I agreed to do a short flight where we would take off and fly with the wind across an orchard. His buddies would wait on the opposite side of the orchard and display the “Will you marry me?” sign as the balloon flew by overhead. We would immediately land at the next field with the mission accomplished. Well, that was the plan.
We pulled out the envelope in the rain, the fabric getting wet and heavy. As the balloon slowly inflated, the intensity of the rain increased and it was like the sound of a 1000 drummers playing out of sync. We put heat into the balloon and it stood up almost 10 stories tall in the rain. The sound of the rain against the envelope was deafening, only out matched in noise when I squeezed the burner handle to put more heat into the balloon. The envelope steamed as if it were on fire because of the hot dry air inside drying the wet fabric where the rain hit it.
Inside the basket, we were warm and dry but unable to hear each other due to the noise of the beating rain. A clear sheet of rain water poured down around the outside of the basket after sliding down the balloon, making everything look like a Monet painting.
We took off expecting to fly towards and over the orchard – but as the rain increased, the wind had shifted. We were going the wrong way. I kept the balloon climbing to try and find a wind headed towards the orchard – and the marines waiting with the “Will you marry me?” sign.
Suddenly all the noise stopped and it was instant silence. We all immediately looked up in fear thinking something terrible had happened to the balloon.
Everything inside the envelope was okay, so our eyes drifted back down to look outside. The balloon had climbed so high, the rain had turned to snow. The marine helicopter pilot took one look around and then immediately dropped to his knee and proposed – in a hot air balloon with snow all around us in southern California.
We landed shortly after, back in the rain, right where we took off. We never did see the “Will you marry me?” sign on the ground.
It was surprisingly and unexpectedly one of the most romantic moments I have ever witnessed.
By the way, We have some great Valentine’s Day specials available – both for hot air balloon or helicopter rides. Feel free to refer business and/or call us if interested.