Questions raised after another missed hot air balloon landing
Not the first for Panda-Monium balloon
Last Updated: 90 days ago
SAN DIEGO - Team10 is asking tough questions after homeowners in Del Sur received an unexpected surprise over the weekend when a Panda-Monium hot air balloon landed on their street.
"At no time were we in danger nor was anyone in danger," said Randy Gray, a passenger on the balloon.
According to the FAA, which certifies hot air balloon pilots, if there are no injuries to passengers, the balloon or damage to property, there is no need to file a report.
"These are just landings that the public doesn't expect," said Phil Brandt, a licensed balloon pilot and a member of the San Diego County Balloon Association. "When I got started in 1990, there were lots of open spaces in the North County, but many of those spaces have now turned into developments."
The association has a number of designated takeoff and landing spots on private property, but only members of the association can use them.
"The owner of the Panda-Monium balloon, Tim Chico, is not a member and that's by his choice," said James Lawson, the association president.
Chico has had other highly visible missed landings. In June, he set his balloon down between two bridges on state Route 56 in Carmel Valley.
Not being a member of the association, Brandt said, and not being able to use authorized takeoff and landing spots could be adding to the problem.
"I think he's backing himself into a corner by not having the same choice of flight path that we use," said Brandt.
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