Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

'Academy' offers crash course in organizing.(Balloon Fiesta)

Byline: Jane Mahoney

Program scaled back from 25 to six cadets

Fourteen-year-old Lance Capaldi knows how to get a hot air balloon airborne. After all, he's been tagging along with his parents on balloon chase crews since he was three years old. He said he dreams of earning his own pilot's license someday.

"But I don't know how they get 800 or 1,000 balloons off a field," he said.

After the 2000 Balloon Fiesta, Capaldi will be closer to understanding those logistics. He'll also start learning what it takes to launch a long-distance hot air balloon race and how fiesta organizers go about arranging everything from security to daily weather briefings.

Capaldi, a freshman at Sandia High School, is one of six cadets participating in the Balloon Fiesta Academy on Oct. …

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