The unstable weather pattern across the American Southwest persists, and so do the postponements to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s 20th America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons.
The pilot briefing scheduled for 5 PM MDT (2300 UTC) on Monday, October 5 has been postponed to Tuesday, October 6 at 12 noon MDT (1800 UTC). This means the earliest the race could launch would be Tuesday evening. Under the event rules, the “launch window” – the period of time during which the race can commence – closes at midnight Wednesday, October 7 (0600 UTC October 8).
Weather delays are not uncommon for the America’s Challenge, since the race is affected by weather both at the launch site in Albuquerque and along the balloons’ track across the country. Balloon pilots are used to weather delays, and the officials continue to monitor the weather for an opening that will allow for a safe and competitive race.
Once the race begins, you can follow the balloons’ progress via live tracking at www.balloonfiesta.com and via the Balloon Fiesta’s mobile app.