Air Vehicle, Albuquerque - New Mexico, Entertainment Event, Event, Exhibition
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - October 11, 2006: Several hot air balloons - including the popular lighthouse special shape balloon - descend toward their ground crews in the morning sunshine at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - the largest such festival in the world. It started in 1972 and takes place in early October, lasting 9 days. Starting with just 21 balloons, the number rose to 1019 in 2000 and eventually had to be limited first to 750, then to 600. Over 100 pilots are from foreign countries. The lighthouse is one of the many popular shapes that particitpate - including a pig, eagle, American flag, football, carousel, eagle, scarecrow, cactus, bumble bees, space shuttle, chili ristra, football, daisy, locomotive and many others in addition to the standard hot air balloon envelope shapes. The image was shot from the gondola of another balloon preparing to land.