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Hot Air Balloon Lands In Neighborhood

July 25, 2013, 5:05 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Hot Air Balloon Lands In Neighborhood
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It seems like the wind is always blowing across KELOLAND, but what if it stopped?

Wednesday was a nice night to be outside and people in an eastern Sioux Falls neighborhood had plenty of commotion to take in.

"I had a first-time passenger that was a little nervous. I was a nice gentle landing for him," hot air balloon pilot Ron Oppold said.

Oppold has been a hot air balloon pilot for more than two years. He and five other balloon pilots launched from Tuthill Park.  But with no wind, they were going nowhere and fast.

"We knew the conditions. We knew the winds would be light and variable. We knew we weren't going very far. Sometimes when the winds are like this, you just take the first good spot you see and set it in there," Oppold said.

Oppold says while landing on country roads and fields is far more common, this quiet street was perfect. There was no traffic and no power lines.

"Once you get to a certain point, about down to half my fuel, you just take a good landing spot when you can and it all worked out well," Oppold said.

And the landing gave the pilot, his passenger and this neighborhood a night of memories.

Balloon Pilots go through more than 20 hours of training and testing before they're licensed for commercial flights.

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