Editor: While reading the excellent Burn or Rip article on rectangular versus triangular baskets in your December 1995 issue, I was surprised that such an eminent presence as Cameronís Alan Noble missed an obvious advantage of rectangular baskets. Rectangular baskets can easily support a fully-redundant second burner; triangular baskets cannot. The Balloon Works stresses that their design ideal was a circle, and circles have a center. Rectangles have a centerline. There is no way a second burner can elegantly and aesthetically fit in the center of a circle, but it fits just fine on the centerline of a rectangle!
After nearly 15 years of flying a double-burner rectangular basket Raven/Aerostar, I still appreciate the full dual redundancy of a separate tank and separate fuel lines feeding a fully-capable second burner. And no, I do not believe that Fire II is full dual redundancy!
James E. Ellis
Editor: Thank you for publishing the letter from Tom Davies (Shame On You, December 95) concerning the recent Thunderbird Balloon Classic held in Scottsdale, Arizona. While I am pleased that Mr. Davies cares enough to write, I am disappointed that he missed the point all together.
I served as the Balloonmeister at this years event and the preceding year as well. The hold harmless agreement was the last minute work of the City of Scottsdale, who is the landowner of "Westworld" the site of this yearís event and probably the best facility the Thunderbird Race has ever used. This agreement was not issued on behalf of the Thunderbird Balloon Classic Organization. We were given the agreement just before check in and in the rush to get the almost totally revamped event started, did not read the agreement before asking the pilots to sign it. Our mistake. I apologize to each participant.
Had Mr. Davies chosen to investigate the situation he would have found that the pilots who recognized the agreement as a hold harmless agreement, politely called it to my attention and were not refused entry or participation in the event. These pilots were not told no you can not fly. Instead I worked out a solution and took it upon myself to discontinue the act of having pilots sign the agreement. It should be further noted that none of the agreements signed by the pilots were turned into the City of Scottsdale as requested. Nor was a list of pilots who signed or did not sign given to the City of Scottsdale. An act for which I may never be allowed to serve as Balloonmeister in the City of Scottsdale again.
Instead Mr. Davies has fallen short of his duties as a respected Insurance Provider, Balloon Festival Organizer and fellow Balloonmeister. He failed to educate our fellow pilots to the pit falls of such an agreement. Surely he posses the back ground to inform us of such agreements. Instead of shaking his "un-informed finger" at the race, he should have used the space in the magazine to prevent this from happening again. I am not, nor do I profess to be "insurance wise" when it comes to these agreements and would ask Mr. Davies to write an article in a future issue or refer to any past article written about the subject for all of us to read and understand.
For previous articles in Balloon Life see Balloon Events, December 1991 and Acknowledgment of Responsibility statements for pilots, March 1986. Editor
Editor: I just finished reading your article, Xanadu in the January 1996 issue of Balloon Life. As usual, I found myself thinking, "What a good article!" In a sport thatís so full of big egos (arguing about who was first, etc.) itís refreshing to see someone as down-to-earth as Mr. Murtorff. If anyone is entitled to the glory that so many seem to be clamoring for, itís Mr. Murtorff. Yet his articles arenít self- serving. Theyíre entertaining. And isnít that what ballooningís all about anyway?
Just thought youíd like to know. Keep up the good work.
Editor: Be on the lookout for an Aerostar balloon flying with a new shiny Aerostar Zone 5 burner with the glow option. If it is serial number HP3D-3563, or if the serial number is obliterated, chances are the burner was stolen from one of our insureds.
Iíll pay you $250 for the return of the burner-no questions asked. Call me at 1-800- 359-8245.
Intermountain Ins./Davies Co.