"The Spirit of Arizona"
-- Under New Management in
Las Cruces, New Mexico

By Dan Erhard


After an embarrassing start [1], the Roland Cleveland-built cloudhopper has been flown by two of its three new owners.  On a perfect 1 mph wind morning last weekend, Brian Smith took it up for the first hop.  Due to poor harness adjustment, he had enough after 30 minutes and turned it over to me.

[1] on the first attempted Flight, a Misunderstanding about the Blast Valve, involving Fabric -- Editor
Brian, uncomfortable


Dan, showing off

Since we were in a very open area I was able to fly till the last alarm quit, and then get walked like a dog to a final landing on a short leash. Last gasp of fumes came at 70 minutes. Flew again that afternoon. This time in more populated area, we soon had about ten cars creating a traffic jam when I landed. Every one of them had a cell phone jammed to their head , no doubt saying "You'll never believe what I just saw!"  What fun, I always did like to show off.


As far as how the system flies , we couldn't be happier. I'm convinced that the 40,000 cf size is the way to go in this climate. It might be big now in the winter, but come summer we will be able to keep flying. The summer flying is really good here but sometimes I get a little tired of packing up a big balloon when it's 90 degrees later on .  The hopper is MUCH easier to pack up.

At this point it is still named "The Spirit of Arizona", though we may rename it later. 


Dan Erhard
Las Cruces, New Mexico

"Spirit of Arizona" Owners: Dan Erhard, Brian Smith, Harold Connell