The current Smokey Bear Hot Air Balloon, a 2005 Aerostar International, Inc., special shape balloon N87SB, holds 145,000 cubic feet of air, with a height, including basket, of 97 feet.
The diameter below the eyes is 55 feet, and the hat brim diameter is 72 feet.
The envelope is made up of 4,670 square yards of rip-stop nylon weighing 546 pounds. The Smokey Bear Balloon is heated by two LPG burners, producing 30,000,000 BTUs per hour.
The basket weight, with fuel tanks and miscellaneous equipment, is 584 pounds.
The total balloon weight is 1,130 pounds. It requires 12 to 15 personnel to set it up and inflate it, and chase crew personnel to ensure a safe landing.
These opportunities are made possible by the SD Wildfire Awareness Month and in conjunction with the Friends of The Smokey Bear Hot Air Balloon.
The weather in May did not cooperate very well when we brought the Smokey Bear Hot Air Balloon to the Black Hills in 2015. With that said, we were able to host it on Friday May 8th, but unfortunately had to cancel it on Saturday May 9 and Sunday May 10 due to a winter storm.
For those that were able to make it on May 8th, it was truly a sight to see and everyone loved the tethered rides. See some pictures below from the event.
At this time there are no plans to bring it back to the Black Hills next year, but we will keep you updated if that changes!