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FAA supports pilot who landed hot air balloon amid Moreno Valley homes

By in Press Enterprise on December 23, 2017

By Brian Rokos

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday, Dec. 22, that hot air balloon pilot Ryan Goodnight took the proper actions when he landed in a Moreno Valley neighborhood on Dec. 16.

Goodnight’s yellow-black-and-blue balloon attracted a lot of attention when it touched down about 9 a.m. Saturday at Iris Avenue and Turnberry Street, in the southern part of the city just north of Lake Perris.

Goodnight, of Temecula, had a different flight plan in mind, but when the wind shifted, he targeted the neighborhood to avoid landing in the lake. No one was reported injured.

“We looked into this incident and concluded the pilot acted appropriately under the circumstances,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor wrote in an email.

Goodnight, who is licensed by the FAA to pilot hot air balloons, explained that while pilots can control vertical ascents easily, controlling horizontal movement is difficult. Pilots steer by moving to different altitudes to find winds going the direction they want to head.

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