Exorcists of winds: interview with the pilot of the balloon

Posted by king-ermac 9/3/2018 03:04pm
Exorcists Of Winds: Interview With The Pilot Of The Balloon

To meet dawn together with birds, to sign autographs and to crash into rocks … The correspondent has "Round the world" learned about work of the pilot of the balloon, having floated on a balloon in the sky over Cappadocia.




I was born in 1985 in Cappadocia. I have got three higher educations: in the sphere of banking (The university of Adnan Menderes, the 2009th), business and management (the Anatoliysky university, the 2013th) and tourism (The Nev university of a shekhir, the 2017th). In 2012 I have ended the courses Flight Training Organization. Since 2010 works as the pilot of the balloon and the quality manager in Royal Balloon.

Morning in national park of Goreme begins with a roar of tens of gas burners. In pre-dawn twilight huge bulbs above the ground flash — multi-colored balloons are lit with fire from within. All is ready to start, and passengers get over through a one-and-a-half-meter board of a wicker basket. Eight people at the left, eight on the right. In the middle — four gas cylinders on which there is a box with the radio set and the portable GPS navigator. The aeronaut Tolga Eke from the Royal Balloon company meets us by a stream of jokes:

— It is possible to photograph, other spheres can wave, it is possible to use our Wi-Fi. All is possible. But it is impossible to kiss the pilot. Though isn't present — it is possible for beautiful girls. If all are ready, then have departed. As we will land, I will tell a bit later. If we decide to return on the earth.

The massive gondola easily comes off the earth and gains height. At some point we appear in dangerous proximity from the rock. It seems, just about we will crash, but at the last moment the sphere throws up. And before us the fiery horizon, and in the turning pink sky — fantastic representation opens: tens of multi-colored balloons which have stiffened at different height.

As there is a lot of them! It that, festival of balloons?

Yes we have constantly such festival. In the valley of Goreme 15 years in the mornings if weather allows, about 100 montgolfiers rise in air. Of course, we don't fly to a rain, fog, snow and at wind 10 kilometers per hour are stronger.




Why you fly exactly in the mornings? To see dawn?

Dawn — a pleasant bonus. But actually the balloon can rise only in cold air, and in Turkey necessary conditions happen in the mornings. In the afternoon the earth heats up unevenly, and it is difficult to predict air streams. Unless there are in the winter 10–15 days when temperature falls rather low, and we can make the second flight in the middle of the day. So if tourists will oversleep early rise, then they in the sky won't see any sphere. We appoint take-off in 40 minutes prior to dawn. We begin preparation of a sphere at four o'clock in the summer and at six in the morning in the winter.

And how you prepare a sphere?

I and my team we bring a balloon on a start point. We straighten a cover on the earth, we reveal her by means of cold air, industrial fans are for this purpose used. When the dome lying on one side is filled, I come into it as in a huge tent, and I check, whether all as it should be whether there are no damages. Then it is possible to give warm air that the sphere has risen above the ground. By this time just there arrive tourists.

And if suddenly you miss at survey a hole in a cover, the sphere can fail?

No, it doesn't happen. Even if the dome will be worn out in several places, air will come out rather slowly that I have managed "to give fire" and to slow down descent. Here everything depends on fire "length": if I long press on the torch handle — we rise if I press and I release — fire just maintains the necessary temperature and a sphere continues to remain at the set height. In general, the balloon as you see, has neither wheel, nor the engine. It is impossible to operate him directly. Everything that is available to the pilot of a montgolfier — change of height and turn of a sphere round its pivot-center.




And for what these multi-colored ropes which you periodically pull?

"Ropes" are the fala of valves helping to let out the hot air from a dome. For example, red and red-white fal are responsible for the central parachute valve. When I let out through him the air, the balloon loses height. Red-white I fat delays the valve, but that comes back to the place, costs fat to release. Here try. Do you feel how many for this purpose it is required forces? Red I fat — for crash landing — opens the parachute valve completely. He is used when filling and laying a sphere. I check his fastening first of all when I prepare a sphere for flight. By means of side valves I force a balloon to turn: black fat opens the left valve, green — right. It doesn't help at movement in any way, but everything gives the chance to tourists to consider.

To the earth of 700 meters: from here sand color of the rock seem folds on a scrappy blanket. The bright balloons hanging over them with the baskets full of tourists, slowly turn round its pivot-center.

How then does the pilot force the balloon to move on the set trajectory?

Sphere air streams force to move, and I force wind to work for me. If I don't show to tourists postcard views of Cappadocia, they will be disappointed. For example, today we will see the Pink valley, the Red valley and the valley of Love. To make the necessary turns, all is required to be calculated precisely. At different height in air beds there are different winds. Wind is similar to water: in the valley of Goreme there are constant currents. From the region of the valley wind can blow on the East, but inside — on the West. Every morning we check Internet pages of the meteorological websites to have an idea of what waits for us in the sky. On the earth we make approximate flight plan, but it can change if wind is changed.




And how to catch the necessary wind?

I watch other balloons: it is important to monitor changes still before new wind begins to carry away your own sphere aside. If suddenly the montgolfiers following with you at one height have stiffened or began to turn in one party, it is time to look for other current. By the way, to study the Turkish "style of driving" to Cappadocia there come many foreign experts. Even our dense traffic for them is unusual: it is necessary to keep thinking of to facing other sphere. Usually the balloon which is higher, requests on the radio set permission to descent from a balloon which is lower — it is so possible to avoid collision.






The balloon rising into the sky at the expense of hot air is called by last name two French brothers inventors: Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Mongolfye. On June 4, 1783 they have for the first time shown to public the balloon in flight. Their balloon has risen by height of 1000 meters and in 10 minutes has flown by distance in two kilometers. However, attempts of creation of similar aeronautic means were made earlier. In 1709 the Portuguese priest Bartolomeu de Guzman has shown balloon model with a small brazier. s invention has risen by four meters.

Our sphere floats over thirty-meter tuff "mushrooms" of the valley of Love. These are so-called Peribacalar ı — "fireplaces of fairies". In morning light they cast red. Near me children whose growth doesn't allow to look out outside because of a high board of a basket, look at stone landscapes through a square opening of "step". Suddenly the view of the earth blocks a dome of other balloon floating exactly under us.

What is meant by letters of the CU-BCV on a dome at a balloon?

This name of a sphere. Look up, on inside of a dome of our balloon — he has a name too: TC-BRU. The first two letters — a country code. If a sphere local, so on it TC — Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, the Republic of Turkey is written. The third letter means type of air means — Ballone, an uncontrollable balloon. And the last two — an individual code of a sphere. We say him when we on the radio set call other pilot. 25 companies have a right to make flights in the valley - it is about 150 balloons.

What approximate time of service of a sphere?

According to certificates of durability — 1000 hours of flight. It is considered that it lasts for 10 years, but we change balloons more often, every five years. The prices of them begin from 50 thousand liras (about 12 thousand dollars). Expensive pleasure, but safety is more expensive. We have special "garage" where spheres undergo servicing. After each 100 flight hours the state commission estimates a condition of a sphere and prolongs to him the certificate.




And height or weather conditions somehow influence wear of a sphere?

No, only time spent in flight is considered. Under the law, we can't rise higher than 800 meters — because of planes which fly here rather low. But more often our balloons soar in 300 meters above the ground: so local landscapes aren't similar to Google Map, and tourists manage to consider everything. This height can't damage to a sphere.

What will be if the pilot violates the instruction — will rise above put?

Every morning the pilot at office is given the GPS navigator. The device fixes height, speed of flight and the passable distance. After landing I go to office and I enter these data in a form on the official state site. If report to the government about a sphere which has broken restriction or, for example, has flown up too close to houses, there will be a request for check of all registration devices, and the pilot will pay a penalty.




1. The dome is sewed from fabric wedges which are found from light and heat-resistant materials, such as polyester, polyamide or lavsan. Over a cover power lines — the strong tapes making a power framework of a sphere are sewed.

2. A dome ring — the place where power lines become isolated and it is fixed top фал (red) which is used at the time of filling and clearing of a cover (full production of air).




3. The skirt — the lower part of a cover adjoining to naked flame is made of special heat resisting material — the meta-aramid capable to maintain temperature to 1300 °C. As a rule, air temperature in a sphere reaches 90–100 °C, but it is quickly possible to warm up it stronger.

4. The indicator of overheating is calculated on a certain temperature. If it is reached, then solder melts and the tag falls in a basket.

5. The basket (gondola) is made of a rod and reed. With a small weight the design reliably holds blow at hard landings.

6. Up The torches heating air in a montgolfier cover work for propane - butane mix. The block of torches (at least two on a case of refusal of one) is mounted on a cardan suspension and keeps stability of situation at any inclinations of a basket.

7. Down In the top part of a dome the parachute valve which nestles on a cover at the expense of internal pressure is located. The valve allows to let out a part of the hot air from a cover. Red-white is connected to him I fat.

8. Turn to the left and to the right Side valves are intended for turn of a sphere round its pivot-center. When opening the right valve (green fat) the sphere turns to the left, when opening left (black fat) — to the right.


Lunar Cappadocian landscapes behind edge of a basket promptly change. According to a thin twisting tape of the road to shadows of a sphere the car with the trailer moves. It is Tolga's team: time to decrease has come, and at the time of landing children have to appear on the place of landing.

What requirements are imposed to the pilot of the balloon?

First, ideal health is necessary. We pass every year medical board: it is possible to make it only in several state hospitals. And certainly, the diploma of the pilot of the balloon is necessary. At us such it is possible to receive in the flight and training center FTO (Flight Training Organization). For this purpose it is necessary to be disaccustomed two years there, to fly 350 hours over the territory of Cappadocia, to pass about 15 examinations for different types of flights (on each type of a sphere, from each look a basket, rise alone, rise with five, ten, sixteen passengers). After each stage the next license is granted. Preparation includes also rates of first aid and courses of extraordinary reaction and also working off of emergency situations at practice.

What does it mean?

For example, during training we rose in the balloon by height up to 4000 meters, more than four hours flew, gas didn't reach a limit yet — landed "on the last couples". Specially crashed into rocks, flew over water what never we do with passengers. In general, I had never to come up against all these extreme situations only during study and at work. Flight in the balloon still is considered the safest type of aeronautics.




Whether is among the woman's pilots?

Yes, in the valley of Goreme 19 female pilots work. By preparation the woman has to show results not worse than men's. For work with cables remarkable force is necessary. Well, and, above all — the female pilot has to be same attractive, as well as all our male pilots.

Tolga smiles and takes a selfie from one of tourists. Behind a basket board in dangerous proximity the rock top floats.

Tolga throws out overboard safety fat to members of the landing team expecting us in a terminal point and gives us instructions:

— Be developed by a back to a board, undertake rope handles and bend knees. The majority of injuries happens when landing because of the wrong position of legs.

The sphere goes down below and below. I expect a push, but the basket softly and precisely lands on the automobile trailer.

Tolga pulls red fat: the parachute valve opens and the sphere is slowly filled up sideways. Silent assistants right there begin to put it. In 20 minutes the huge dome is located in a bag of the size of a big suitcase.




And on it your working day is ended?

It was necessary to carry tourists on hotels, to hand over all reports — and at 11 in the morning I am free. At such schedule some of pilots even get the second job. Not because of money: the minimum wage in Turkey 1500 liras, and at the aeronaut — 5000. The profession of the pilot of the balloon is considered prestigious here. Just there is a lot of free time. In the summer, of course, we can work at least six days a week. On the seventh, under the state resolution, the pilot is obliged to take day off. But if there are no flights too long, I begin to grieve. Such here professional deformation.

And you have occupational diseases?

At all pilots of Cappadocia is. "Star fever" is called. At the time of flight we are more popular, than movie stars. All want to communicate to us, look eyes in love, ask for autographs. And begins to seem to some young pilots that they are very important persons. Adult self-sufficient people manage to avoid it, for example to me. But I have a special star fever: every time there is a wish to fly up above. To stars. They say, in the balloon it is possible to rise in a stratosphere. I didn't try yet. I hope, sometime I also will manage it.


Cappadocia — the historical name of the area in the central part of Turkey (in borders of five Ils: Nevshekhir, Kayseri, Aksaray, Kyrshekhir and Anywhere). The area of Turkey is 783 562 km ² (the 36th place in the world) Population of 81 million people (16th place) Population density 103rd persons/km ² GDP of 841 billion dollars (17th place)

SIGHTS national park of Goreme, underground city of Kaymakly, fortresses Bashkhisar, Ortakhisar and Uchkhisar. TRADITIONAL DISHES fathers-in-law kebabs — the meat with vegetables in a pot made in the tandoor; to a gyozlema — flat cake with a meat or vegetable stuffing from grapes (the juice which is boiled down to a condition of syrup). TRADITIONAL DRINKS Turkish coffee, Cappadocian wine. SOUVENIRS plush balloon, hettsky wine jugs.

DISTANCE from Moscow to Nevshekhir ~ 1900 km (of 4 hours 15 minutes in flight without change in Istanbul) TIME coincides with Moscow The VISA isn't necessary to Russians CURRENCY Turkish lira (10 TRY ~ 2,5 USD)

Photo: Konstantin Chalabov

Edition thanks the Ministry of Culture and tourism of Turkey for assistance in the preparation of material.

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