DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — “We’re not in Kansas anymore” was an oft-repeated refrain on Oct. 28, 2018, as the Doylestown Composite Squadron 907 of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) held a “Balloon Fest” at George M. Bush Park.
Trading in an airplane for a hot air balloon, both cadets and senior members of the squadron had the opportunity to be “lighter than air” in the skies above Doylestown.
Following a detailed briefing on the structures and mechanisms of balloon flight, groups of cadets helped unfurl a 300 pound balloon (an “envelope” in aeronautical terms) and prepare it for its mission.
Powerful fans were placed to start the inflation, which was capped off by 42 million BTU burners raising the large, 120,000 cubic foot balloon. Once upright with heated air reaching internal temperatures of 170° Fahrenheit, sorties of cadets climbed aboard for a brief, but thrilling, tethered flight.
As part of its overall mission, cadets between the ages of 14 to 21 participate in hands-on activities related to aerospace education.
This past June, the 907 Squadron held its first successful “DroneFest” in Doylestown. After learning the principles of drone flight, the members of the squadron built, launched, and raced drones through an obstacle course.